B Corp Certification at R. Riveter

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2018-04-19

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Abstract

This two-part research study provides a case study of the B Corp certification process and examines the overall value of the B Corp certification for small businesses within North Carolina. The researcher assisted an early-stage manufacturing company, R. Riveter, with the initial steps of the B Corp certification process. The researcher also studied the benefits and challenges of achieving B Corp certification by interviewing twelve previously certified North Carolina B Corps. B Corp Certification at R. Riveter R. Riveter is a canvas and leather goods manufacturer located in the town of West End, within Moore County, North Carolina. The company was formed with the unique social mission of providing military spouses with portable employment, creating handbags from leather and recycled military materials. Their social and environmental mission made them a strong candidate to become a certified B Corp. Based on their initial assessment, R. Riveter’s score was only 40 compared to the 80 points required to achieve B Corp certification. In order to improve their performance, R. Riveter participated in the Fall 2017 North Carolina State University (NCSU) B Corp Clinic. This allowed them to receive technical assistance from a team of student consultants representing NCSU and Duke University. After analyzing the five sections of R. Riveter’s initial B Impact Assessment report (Governance, Workers, Environment, Community, Customer), the student team implemented short-term actions that helped R. Riveter achieve 70 points on their Impact Assessment. Future improvements were categorized as short-term and long-term actions that would bring R. Riveter to the required 80 points within a few months. B Corp Certification in North Carolina Forty-two North Carolina businesses are currently B Corp certified. Twelve of these companies were interviewed by the researcher in an effort to assess the value of the B Corp certification for small to medium-size businesses. Interviews were confidential to protect the identity of the respondents. For these interviewees, the value of the B Corp certification was best demonstrated by the positive impact on employee recruitment, engagement, and retention. Other benefits included the framework or guidelines for improvement provided by B Corp model and the network or community of like-minded companies. While all twelve participants had positive things to say about the new initiatives that the certification process has brought to their company, some experienced challenges with the B Corp certification. These challenges included the time and effort to complete the assessment, the cost of certification, and disappointment over a lack of recognition of the B Corp brand by their customers

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Ross, Cheryl (2018). B Corp Certification at R. Riveter. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/16506.


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