Certified B Corporations and Benefit Corporations

Oxford Bibliographies in Management, Forthcoming

29 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2021

See all articles by Ke Cao

Ke Cao

Wilfrid Laurier University

Joel Gehman

George Washington University - Department of Strategic Management & Public Policy

Date Written: January 2, 2021


Over the past decade, Certified B Corporations and Benefit Corporations, commonly known as B Corps, have emerged as a global phenomenon. Both organizational forms are for-profit businesses. Whereas Certified B Corporations have been accredited for their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices, Benefit Corporations are a new legal form, currently available in 38 states and jurisdictions in the United States (US), as well as British Columbia (Canada), Colombia, Ecuador, and Italy. Both types were promulgated by B Lab, a US-based nonprofit organization. Founded in 2006, in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, B Lab has sought to institutionalize business as a force for good. At present, certification is available to any business worldwide, and approximately 3,700 companies in 74 countries are currently certified. Prominent Certified B Corporations include Ben & Jerry’s, Danone North America, and Patagonia. Examples of Benefit Corporations include Data.World, Kickstarter, and Plum Organics. Overall, the B Corp movement’s radical aspiration to redefine business has garnered substantial attention from policymakers, media, businesses, NGOs, and academe. In this bibliography, we provide an overview of burgeoning scholarly work – ranging from general references and cutting-edge theoretical work to accumulating empirical findings and key pedagogical resources. A core focus is on enumerating the variety of theoretical perspectives that have been taken and the central research themes in extant work, including interdisciplinary publications. We close by discussing exemplary teaching materials and introducing other resources such as the B Academics research community and available datasets for research.

Keywords: B Corporations, Benefit Corporations, certification, sustainability, standards, bibliography

JEL Classification: L31, L26, O35

Suggested Citation

Cao, Ke and Gehman, Joel, Certified B Corporations and Benefit Corporations (January 2, 2021). Oxford Bibliographies in Management, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3772009

Ke Cao

Wilfrid Laurier University ( email )

64 University Ave W
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3C7

Joel Gehman (Contact Author)

George Washington University - Department of Strategic Management & Public Policy ( email )

Washington, DC 20052
United States

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