Here is summary information; for a portfolio of work including related posts, see the author link at right.
Second major: International Affairs
Minor(s): Political Economy
Here is an abstract of the project, and a location map below.
In the absence of strong state regulation, corporate social responsibility, voluntary certifications and standards, and ethical consumerist movements have risen to re-embed responsibility into business operations. This study examines the context of corporate responsibility through the B Corp Certification movement in Portland, OR. Through quantitative analysis of re-certified Certified B Corps B Impact Assessment (BIA) scores, and qualitative interviews with Certified B Corporations of varying size and sector, this study found that while re-certified B Corps experience modest improvements in overall BIA score, the breakdown of scores into impact area (worker, community, environment, governance, and customer) illustrates a tendency of businesses to pursue less rigorous forms of responsibility. On average, re-certified B Corps experienced a decline in points in the environment and worker impact areas, with improvement in points from the governance and community section. Impact on workers and the environment areas are perhaps the most fundamental aspects of corporate responsibility as defined by The Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact. The ability of private sustainability actors, both corporations and voluntary sustainability certifications like B Corp, to define the corporate responsibility agenda pose serious threats to true efforts towards effective economic transformation. Non-governmental organizations must maintain distance from corporate influence when creating and assessing corporate responsibility goals. Engaging with domestic and international definitions of sustainability is essential to true responsible consumption and production.
Framing and focus questions
The ENVS capstone is defined by key questions. Following our situated approach to interdisciplinary environmental research, these include a broad framing question that serves as general motivation for this capstone project, and a specific focus question that defines the project’s research agenda. The framing and focus questions for this capstone are below.
Framing question: How effective are non-state actors at inducing corporations' efforts towards responsible consumption and production?
Focus question: How is the landscape of recertified Certified B Corps changing in Portland, OR?
Depending on its type, the ENVS thesis results in a variety of outcomes, including a thesis (an extended scholarly manuscript), or a variety of non-thesis outcomes. Below is information on this capstone type, with links at bottom to all outcomes.
Type of capstone: Thesis (honors)
Capstone outcomes (PDF): File