(BPT) - According to GreenBiz, sustainable business initiatives that address people and the planet are on the rise, and the pace of innovation from responsible companies is growing. Increasingly, consumers are considering the responsibility of a business when choosing which products to buy. These so-called 'conscious consumers' are aligning their purchases with their values by seeking out sustainable brands that address a number of important factors beyond the products they make.
What this means for the economy is that shoppers are voting with their dollars for a more inclusive, sustainable marketplace when they choose to support these kinds of businesses. Hallmarks of responsible business practices include treating workers well, giving back to communities, taking care of the planet and planning for the future.
This desire for quality products from accountable businesses cuts across industries, with brands from the fashion and food sectors to those in technology and transportation showing it is possible to do things differently. More than ever, brand communications are revealing the authenticity, transparency and integrity that are essential ingredients to today's conscious consumers.
One way to verify that a brand operates responsibly is through a trusted third-party certification, like the nonprofit B Lab's B Corp Certification. In a Certified B Corp - the B stands for 'benefit,' and refers to benefiting workers, the community, customers and the environment - a company's performance is scored on a publicly visible 200-point scale. The score helps businesses see where they can make improvements, and gives consumers insights into how their favorite brands are making better choices.
In the wine industry, Fetzer Vineyards is a Certified B Corp that recently scored a milestone 130 points, placing the winery in the 'Outstanding' category of global B Corps. The largest B Corp winery in the U.S., Fetzer Vineyards crafts widely available labels such as Bonterra Organic Vineyards and the iconic Fetzer label. A sustainability leader for over five decades, the California vintner demonstrates responsibility and transparency through climate footprint reporting for brands like Bonterra, and glass bottle light-weighting for flagship Fetzer.
Whatever a company's industry, B Corp Certification can show consumers crucial information about the way the business operates and gives back. Beyond confirming that a brand is doing business responsibly, third-party certifications like B Corp are an important tool to guard against greenwashing, a practice wherein brands capitalize on eco-friendly trends without actually doing the work. By contrast, B Corps' radical transparency can be a source of information and inspiration for consumers, showing how businesses can be a force for good - and verifiably so.