Etsy is on file to go public, so get ready to start hearing more about B Corps.
In May 2012, Brooklyn, New York-based Etsy wrote in a blog post it had become a certified B Corporation, "a new kind of company that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems." The certification is comparable to Fair Trade certification for a coffee maker or LEED recognition for a green building.
Founded in 2005, Etsy has carved out a successful online marketplace that connects artists and crafters with buyers around the globe. The company published its IPO prospectus on Wednesday, and announced preliminary plans to raise up to $100 million. And the term B Corporation shows up five times in the filing.
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According to B Lab, the nonprofit organization that provides B Corps certifications, there are 1,223 such companies in 38 countries. Some of the better-known B Corps brands include Ben & Jerry's, Patagonia, Kickstarter and eyeglass maker Warby Parker. But scanning the list, there aren't many publicly traded names that jump out. (Ben & Jerry's is owned by Unilever, which is public and not a B Corps.)
B Lab scores companies based on a number of factors, including the sharing of financial information with employees, contributions to the local community through civic engagement and volunteerism, employee diversity and energy efficiency.