Think like a B Corp

Sam Manning

Staff Writer

Three professionals entered a packed Adam’s House last Wednesday to talk about a new trend that is growing among young and old entrepreneurs alike: B-Corporations.

Michael Sirianni, a local restaurateur, was one of the professionals that came to the Millersville Entrepreneurial Leadership Center to talk to the students about the benefits of being a “B-Corp.”

“Becoming a B-Corp fundamentally changed by philosophy of business,” Sirianni shared, “and radically changed the way I look at my business”.

Sarah Payne was the introductory speaker at the event, who shared a presentation with the students about the change her company is seeing in Lancaster County. There are now 17 corporations in Lancaster County which are B-Corp certified, and more are on the way.

International Education Week

B Lab, started by the original founders of And1, is a non-profit organization that certifies companies under their new certification “B-Corporation”, which holds companies to extremely high environmental, societal, and regional regulations. Large brands that are certified by B Lab include Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s.

Companies that wish to become B-Corp Certified must undergo a rigorous series of examinations that takes a look at more than the mission statement of the company. Some parts of the company they look at includes where a company may buy raw materials, how they transport their goods, and how much time off they give to new mothers are all taken into effect.

Sarah Colantonio, from Work Wisdom LLC and is also a professor on campus, shared her experiences as well of taking her company to the next ethical level.

Entrepreneurs like Sirianni and Colantonio, alongside professionals like Payne who know what it takes to become certified, are leading the change in Lancaster County for corporations that care about more than just profits. Both entrepreneurs were already in the forefront of equal and fair wages, responsible sourcing, and environmental impact, but are now turning towards helping other corporations make the switch.

“I’m excited about the future of the County,” Payne added in her presentation, “We have more B-corps in this county than in the rest of the state- including Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.”

The speakers all pushed the students to think critically about their own philosophies. They asked questions like “Would you take a lower wage to work for a company that is more eco-friendly?” and “Would you pay more for a sweatshirt if you knew that the resources and workers were all compensated responsibly?”

This event was impactful to many of the students who attended, who are beginning to write their own business plans and are strategizing the logistics of their business. These three presenters were a great example for the students of how to excel in business while staying ethical.