After years of being an active promoter of the B Corp movement, GOOD Worldwide, an L.A.-based social media platform and quarterly magazine dedicated to social change, is officially now certified as a B Corporation.
GOOD Worldwide joined the 623-member network and received its certification this month by including triple bottom line language in their bylaws and passing the B Corp certification criteria, racking up a combined score of 81 in four areas:
Governance – an evaluation of the company’s mission, stakeholder engagement, and overall transparency of the company’s practices and policies. 46 percent of points available.
Workers – the company’s relationship with its workforce by measuring the overall work environment, as well as how the company treats its workers through compensation, benefits, training, and ownership opportunities. 49 percent of points available.
Community – The company’s impact on its community. Supplier relations, diversity, involvement in the local community, and community service/charitable giving. 48 percent of points available.
Environment – an evaluation of a company’s environmental performance through its facilities, materials, resources, energy use, and emissions. 30 percent of points available.
GOOD has evolved from being a quarterly magazine to a larger media group including events, videos, a grantmaking program and an online community and social media platform that looks a little like Google Plus and has more sharing doodads than you can imagine, launched recently at GOOD.is.
Stories on the GOOD.is front page today included a piece on Hurricane Sandy and climate change by 350’s Jamie Henn, a Halloween photo of a pumpkin turned into a Tetris game, and a post, “Why Millenials Aren’t Rushing to the Polls (and Why they Should).” An featured “action” column on the right hand has a message on donating to the Red Cross via text message.
However, B Lab cofounder Jay Coen Gilbert noted that B Corp certification does not require that media content be specific to liberal causes.
Max Schorr, cofounder of GOOD, said that the certification process for them was fairly easy because they were already aware of and focused on sustainability goals. He said GOOD will use the B Corp. metrics as internal benchmarks for sustainability. “It’s always been our mission to do the most good. We’re really excited about it internally, about integrating these goals through our company throughout time,” said Schorr.
GOOD has already been a huge supporter of the B Corp network, donating over $750,000 in free advertising to a brand campaign for B Corp and 80 of its companies.
The B Corp network contains 49 other companies and non-profits in the media sector, including activist sites Care2 and Change.org, communications firms like Freeworld Media, and eco-printer Greenerprinter. Here is where you can search by sector.
Care2, a petition site that boasts 20 million members, has already hosted petitions that helped B Corp gather over 100,000 signatures for the campaign for states to pass benefit corporation legislation, said Schorr.
Benefit corporations are a new legal form, requiring decisions to be made with the triple bottom line in mind in order to provide legal backing for business sustainability. So far, benefit corporation laws have passed in 11 states, most recently in Pennsylvania. Any company or non-profit can take B Corp’s impact assessment test online to see how they do; membership is now up to 15 countries.
The media is a special sector of commerce, because they are its connective tissue and means of communication. That critical influence on the public debate, politics, and culture is why we have the Federal Communications Commission and broadcast licensing. However, there is very little awareness yet about the interrelation between sustainability and the structure and functioning of the media itself.
GOOD.is’ recent transition from a magazine to an online community is a great example. In that transition, GOOD laid off most of its editorial employees in June in a very noisy brouhaha, and seems to be replacing the content with “user-generated” content – in other words, free blog posts and Tweets and Instagram photos.
This is exactly what’s going on everywhere else in the media – and GOOD is smart to be doing it – but in the wider definition of sustainability, is this the media landscape that we think will lead to social, economic, and environmental balance, creativity, and awareness? How does our vision involve participation, independent voices, and still support professional artists? What kind of media will make our dream a reality? And how do we create it?