United By Blue is now a Certified B Corporation

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United By Blue, the ocean-friendly apparel and accessories brand that removes one pound of trash from oceans and waterways for every product sold, is now a Certified B Corporation.

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Out of a possible 200, I am proud to say that UBB scored 115 on our initial assessment. But there’s still more work to be done.

What is B Corp?

B Corporation Certification is the most comprehensive certification of good work that a business can earn. B Lab was founded in 2007 to certify businesses that use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems, and now over 450 businesses are B Corp Certified. At United By Blue (UBB), where ocean and waterway cleanups are a mainstay of the business, B Corp Certification is a great fit.

“There are a lot of different standards and certifications out there, but B Corp is the most comprehensive and authentic. It lets customers and volunteers know that we’re serious about using business to solve an environmental problem,” says Brian Linton, the company’s Founder and Chief Trash Collector.

Certified B Corporations are not unlike LEED certified buildings, Fair Trade certified coffee, or organically certified produce. The difference is that B Corp Certification applies to the whole business instead of a single element.

What’s even more significant is the B Corporation legal structure. Traditional companies are legally obligated to return value to their shareholders. Certified B Corporations, on the other hand, are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their employees, suppliers, community, consumers and environment.

What does B Corp mean for UBB?

United By Blue is an apparel brand with a mission; a mission to use business to clean up the world’s oceans. As the mission of B Lab is to help those using business to solve social and environmental problems, becoming a Certified B Corporation was a natural step for UBB.

“We already use organic cotton in our products and showcase our manufacturers making our products on our website, and becoming a Certified B Corporation further legitimizes our efforts and commitment to transparency in the eyes our LOHAS customers,” says Alli Blum, UBB’s Directory of Marketing. “It’s a comprehensive rating for the good work that we’re doing that resonates with an increasingly large consumer cohort.”

“We’ve hosted over 50 ocean and waterway cleanups since our founding in May, 2010, and have removed over 30,000 pounds of trash from oceans and waterways,” says Mike Cangi, UBB’s Director of Cleanups. “We’re poised to build up our cleanup infrastructure within the company and to meet some of our more ambitious cleanup goals. B Corp Certification will help us reach a wider audience, which will in turn help us clean up more trash.”

UBB is on track to remove 100,000 pounds of trash by the end of 2011, and has set a goal to remove 1 million pounds by the end of 2012. “Now we have another goal: to increase our B Corp Impact Assessment Score by 25 points by the end of 2012,” says Linton. “Out of a possible 200, I am proud to say that UBB scored 115 on our initial assessment. But there’s still more work to be done.” he says. The B Lab performance standards are comprehensive and transparent. They measure a company’s impact on its employees, suppliers, community, and the environmental. “To me, this is both a great accomplishment and an opportunity to improve the areas where we didn’t score as high.”

United By Blue is an ocean-friendly brand of apparel based in Philadelphia, PA. The company sells a line of organic cotton slub jersey t-shirts, organic cotton canvas bags, and sterling silver jewelry, and, for every product sold, removes one pound of trash from oceans and waterways around the world. The company has hosted over 50 cleanups and has removed over 30,000 pounds of trash from oceans and waterways since its founding in May 2010.

B Lab is a nonprofit organization dedicated to using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. B Lab drives systemic change through three interrelated initiatives: 1) building a community of Certified B Corporations to make it easier for all of us to tell the difference between “good companies” and just good marketing; 2) accelerating the growth of the impact investing asset class through use of B Lab’s GIIRS impact rating system by institutional investors; and 3) promoting supportive public policies, including creation of a new corporate form and tax, procurement, and investment incentives for sustainable business.

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Alli Blum
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