By Makella Brems
Carbon emissions are rising. The population is growing. California is on fire. The oceans are dying. Minorities are losing fundamental rights. Women are getting shat on 24/7. And you still don’t have Christmas presents for Johnny, Michael, Rose, or Sarah.
What to do?
Instead of (or in addition to) channeling your energy into our incompetent governing body or channeling your funds into NGOs that do not possess the infrastructure to scale, direct your efforts toward driving change in the free market.
In other words, it’s time to throw some dolla dolla bills, y’all.
“But isn’t capitalism the problem?” you might ask. And I say, it doesn’t have to be. As consumers, we have the power to drive change faster than any policy maker, NGO, or social cause could ever dream. And there are companies that are ready to do it with us.
I would now like to introduce B Corp. From the source itself, B Corp “is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk.” For-profit companies that “meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency” receive a B Corp certification, letting consumers and investors know what they stand for and what they’re working toward.
Instead of directing all of their energy toward fundraising, socially and environmentally driven for-profit companies can focus on creating profits that in turn allow them to keep addressing whatever problems they are most passionate about. Certified B Corporations can grow and grow, providing highly valued products and services while helping out people and the environment on a massive scale.
This holiday season, let’s shop B Corp. By going to the website, you can search for any company to see if they are certified, and, if they are, what causes they are fighting for.
In the meantime, here are four of my favorite B-Corps to help you on your holiday shopping journey:
For your Sporty Types
Bureo turns recycled fishing nets that would otherwise litter the ocean into skateboards. It is now expanding its products made from its special recycled fishing net plastic, including sunglasses and even a Jenga game set. Get skating here.
For Your Wes Anderson Types: Warby Parker
Stop spending $700 for a pair of stylistically inferior glasses and go for a $95 pair of suave Warby Parker spectacles. When you buy your pair, another will go to someone in need. Warby Parker partners with Vision Spring to provide a pair of glasses to someone in need for every pair of glasses sold. Environmentally speaking, the company purchases carbon offsets to ensure its operations remain carbon neutral. If all that hasn’t won you over, Warby Parker also offers great maternity and paternity leave benefits to its employees. Check out their sunglasses and optics collection here.
For Your Outdoorsy Types: Patagonia
We all know it and love it, but just as a reminder, here are a few of the lovely things about Patagonia: Donates one percent of sales to environmental NGOs, forty percent of its management are women or ethnic minorities, seventy-five percent of materials used are organic or recycled materials. Shop Patagonia here.
For Your Anyone With a Vagina Types: Sustain Natural
Meika Hollender and her father (founder of Seventh Generation – also a B Corp) created Sustain Natural to provide sexual health products that are actually designed with the vagina in mind. Sustain Natural, sporting the motto “Think with your vagina,” offers feminine hygiene products that use one hundred percent organic cotton and list all ingredients. They also offer condoms made from sustainably sourced latex and other fun sexy time products. Peruse their products here.
I encourage you to explore around the B Corp website and see what companies you can find. Some might just surprise you! And as you shop ‘til you drop on the world wide web, be wary of excess packaging — some companies like Crate & Barrel and Puma are beginning to use packaging made from sustainable materials (check out Evocative design). You might not change the entire world with your holiday shopping list this year, but it’s a start.
Makella Brems is a recent graduate of Claremont McKenna College where she majored in government and foreign affairs. As any good writer should do, she has since thrown her college degree out of the window, moved to New York City, and become a nanny. You can check out more of her work at her blog, KELLA B in NYC.