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Investors weigh the value of B Corp certification

More than 2,400 companies have been certified as “B Corps,” giving them a handy way to demonstrate their adherence to social and environmental performance and accountability standards. Do investors care?

A new report from the Yale School of Management, “Just Good Business,” suggests they should. Among the reported benefits: Access to non-financial data, benchmarking against best practices, performance measurement over time and enhanced ability to attract talent and customers.

Yale economist Robert Shiller validated the thesis in a statement. “Through greater appreciation of the real motives that drive and excite people, B Corporations provide a significant new opportunity for investors.”

At minimum, B Corp status seems not to be a turnoff. B Lab, the nonprofit that issues the certifications, says that nearly every major Silicon Valley venture firm has B Corps in their portfolios. “When paired with solid cashflow management, passionate leadership, a coherent strategy, a rational business plan, and all the other factors that undergird every successful enterprise, B Corp certification is both a risk mitigator and an opportunity identifier,” says Matthew Weatherley-White, managing director of the Caprock Group, who helped work on the report.

“Just Good Business” calls out the five publicly traded B Corps (along with another half-dozen or so B Corp subsidiaries of larger corporations). Left unmentioned is Etsy, which gave up its B Corp certification last year.

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