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B Corps: Doing Business for a Better World

Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy. 

Society’s most challenging problems cannot be solved by government and nonprofits alone. The B Corp community works toward reducing inequality, lower levels of poverty, a healthier environment, stronger communities, and the creation of more high quality jobs with dignity and purpose. By harnessing the power of business, B Corps use profits and growth as a means to a greater end: positive impact for their employees, communities, and the environment. 

Alicia at Higher Grounds Coffee

B Corps form a community of leaders and drive a global movement of people using business as a force for good. The values and aspirations of the B Corp community are embedded in the B Corp Declaration of Independence: 

We envision a global economy that uses business as a force for good. This economy is comprised of a new type of corporation - the B Corporation - Which is purpose-driven and creates benefit for all stakeholders, not just shareholders. As B Corporations and leaders of this emerging economy, we believe: 

  • That we must be the change we seek in the world.
  • That all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered. 
  • That, through their products, practices, and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all. 
  • To do so requires that we act with the understanding that we are each dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations. 

Morgan at Higher Grounds Coffee

B Corp Certification doesn’t just evaluate a product or service; it assesses the overall positive impact of the company that stands behind it. And increasingly that’s what people care most about.

Certified B Corporations achieve a minimum verified score on the B Impact Assessment - a rigorous assessment of a company’s impact on its workers, customers, community, and environment - and make their B Impact Report transparent on Certified B Corporations also amend their legal governing documents to require their board of directors to balance profit and purpose. 

The combination of their-party validation, public transparency, and legal accountability help Certified B Corps build trust and value. B Corp Certification is administered by the non-profit B Lab. 

Chris with Muungano cooperative farmers 2015

Higher Grounds has been proudly certified as a B Corporation since January of 2016 with a current score of 90.5.

Higher Grounds believes that truly sustainable specialty coffee begins with and returns to growers, whose wellbeing is the heart of coffee quality. Through sales of organic, fairly traded coffee; community projects; and origin delegations, Higher Grounds offers coffee drinkers the opportunity to directly benefit producer communities. 

Exceptional coffee is produced within a circle that begins with and returns to farmers at origin. When coffee professionals focus on the wellbeing of individuals all along the supply chain, the sustainability of the entire cycle is improved. The greatest potential for impact is a coffee origin, where producers face challenges mostly unseen by consumers of their product; poverty, lack of clean water access, severely limited educational opportunities. If the entire specialty coffee industry saw quality through a lens that also illuminated the realities of life as a coffee farmer, those realities could be improved for more of the individual responsible for our daily cup. When efforts are focused equally on sustainability AND quality, everyone involved benefits. 

Each year, B Lab releases lists honoring the top-performing Certified B Corps in each impact area and overall, broken down by size, on the annual Best for the World List. Higher Grounds is proud to have been selected as Best for the World Community Honoree for the years 2017, 2018, and 2019. 

B Corp Best for the World 2019

Communities help businesses flourish, and Higher Grounds ensures that their communities flourish too. As a Best For The World: Community honoree, Higher Grounds believes that success should be shared. To receive this recognition, Higher Grounds has scored in the top 10% of all B Corps globally in the category for our efforts in our community, including their charitable giving, investment in diversity, and education opportunities that they provide. 


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