On Friday, March 7, Brattleboro, Vermont-based supplement company New Chapter announced it has received B Corp certification. B Corp, or Benefit Corporation, certification is administered by the non-profit B Lab and holds a company up to standards of sustainability, transparency, accountability and community engagement.
New Chapter CEO Kyle Garner called the certification a natural evolution of the company's identity. "We're constantly looking for new chapters," he said. "We were a first mover in organic ingredients for supplements; the first full line of non-GMO supplements; among the first to use supercritical extraction." B Corp certification allows New Chapter to benchmark itself against companies outside the supplement industry that are known stewards of sustainability, such as Ben & Jerry's and Patagonia, Garner said.
The certification is a living one and is updated every year to ensure a company's commitment to constant improvement. To recieve a B Corp logo requires a minimum score of 80 out of 200 possible points related to aspects of a business.
"We got 105 out of 200," said Sara Newmark, sustainability manager at New Chapter. "And while that's above average, it shows we still have lots of room for improvement."
New Chapter has come under criticism over the last two years since its founders sold the company to mainstream consumer packaged goods giant Procter & Gamble. But the B Corp certification reinforces the company's mission to run itself as a wholly-owned subsidiary of P&G and remain committed to the natural industry, Garner said.
"We did have to go through an approval," Garner said of pitching the certification to P&G. "But it was a very easy process." In fact, it was a moment for New Chapter, as a subsidiary, to educate its parent company about a growing trend in consumer products. From Garner's vantage, mainstream CPGs are far more interested in sustainability certifications like B Corp than they were even six months ago.
"It feels like the tide is turning broadly," he said.
The industry's first certified B Corp was Herbalist & Alchemist, which received its certification back in 2010.