LITTLE ROCK, ARK. – Southern Bancorp, Inc. (“Southern”), holding company of Southern Bancorp Bank, announced today that it has officially become the first Certified B Corporation (B Corp) headquartered in Arkansas (there are currently no B Corp companies headquartered in Mississippi, Southern’s other market). Through a rigorous assessment, the B Corp Certification shows that Southern meets the highest standards of social performance, transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.
“We’re proud to be the first Arkansas-based company to become certified as a B Corp,” said Darrin Williams, Southern Bancorp, Inc. CEO. “There is a growing worldwide recognition that society’s most challenging problems can’t be solved by government and non-profits alone. For profit businesses must not only maximize shareholder profits, but they must also work to reduce income inequality, lower poverty rates, and support a cleaner environment and stronger communities. We are excited to help this worldwide movement take root here at home.”
Certified B Corporations are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions, not only on their employees, customers and shareholders, but also on the broader community and environment. The B Corp designation inspires businesses around the world to not only do good in it, but also for it.
From the B Corporation website, “B Corps are accelerating a global shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.”
In order to maintain its certification, a B Corp must meet the minimum B Impact Assessment score and get recertified every three years. The assessment covers five impact areas of business: governance, workers, community, environment and customers. Among the more than 2,500 Certified B Corps around the world are notable companies such as Patagonia, Warby Parker, Seventh Generation, Ben & Jerry’s, and Etsy. To learn more about B Corp Certification, visit https://bcorporation.net/.
Southern’s B Corp certification is one of several memberships and recognitions that focus on balancing profits with purpose.
In 2017, Southern Bancorp, Inc. changed its legal structure to become a Benefit Corporation, which ensures that the company is legally empowered to pursue societal impact alongside profit. Additionally, all three of Southern’s associated companies (Southern Bancorp, Inc.; Southern Bancorp Bank; and Southern Bancorp Community Partners) are certified Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) based on their financially underserved target markets. Southern Bancorp is also a proud member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, which consists of nearly 60 financial institutions from around the world who commit to a values-based approach to banking that balances profits with purpose, people, and the planet.
About Southern Bancorp
Southern Bancorp, Inc., a bank holding company; Southern Bancorp Community Partners, a 501(c)(3) development finance and lending organization; and Southern Bancorp Bank, one of America’s largest rural development banks; were founded in 1986 by a group of business, political and philanthropic leaders who were concerned about the economic decline of rural Arkansas. All three entities are U.S. Treasury certified Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) collectively known as “Southern.” With $1.4 billion in assets, 65,000 customers and 48 locations in Arkansas and Mississippi, Southern invests in people and businesses in rural communities; empowers them to improve their lives; and helps them transform their communities. Southern is a Certified B Corp, Benefit Corporation, and proud member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values. Learn more about Southern on the web at www.banksouthern.com & www.southernpartners.org.
About B Corporations
Certified B Corporations are leaders of a global movement of people using business as a force for good. They meet the highest standards of overall social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability and aspire to use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. There are more than 2,000 Certified B Corporations in over 130 industries and 50 countries with 1 unifying goal – to redefine success in business.