Many companies are considering B Corp certification as they strive to generate social impact through their business. For a socially-conscious business, the B Corp certification is a strong credential presenting a company’s determination to pursue a sustainable, inclusive, and equitable business and social environment.
What is a B Corp?
B Corps are mission-driven companies that balance purpose and profit. Growing levels of climate change, pollution, and loss of diversity represent a severe environmental hazard to our planet. We recognize the critical role of for-profit businesses in driving positive social and environmental change to protect our environment. Companies are certified as B Corps if they meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability and bring positive impacts to their stakeholders and the planet.
Who Should Consider Becoming B Corp Certified?
For-profit businesses across industries committed to achieving sustainability could all consider applying for the B Corp certification. While companies of all sizes are welcome to apply, a company must be for-profit and have been in operations for at least 12 months to be eligible for certification. Early-stage companies, however, can apply for Pending B Corp status, with a simplified application pathway to demonstrate their commitments to social and environmental change. Nowadays, more than 5000 companies over the world have been certified as B Corp, and over 100 companies are on the Pending B Corp status.
What is the B Impact Assessment?
For many companies, the B Impact Assessment is the first step of their application. The assessment is a questionnaire designed by B Lab to help assess your company’s impact, benchmark your company’s performance with other businesses, and learn about improvement opportunities and practices in the future. The assessment is free on B Lab’s online platform. You will need to answer a series of questions across five categories to complete the assessment: governance, workers, community, the environment, and customers. Each category consists of questions correlating to a score in the assessment. You are also expected to prepare relevant documents for next-step verifications upon answering the questions.
How to Become a Certified B Corp?
To become B Corp certified, your company needs to meet the three requirements and get evaluated and verified by B Lab.
- The Performance Requirement
Companies must achieve at least 80 points in their B Impact Assessment. For a company of larger size (for example, if your company generates annual revenue of more than $100M), it would be better to achieve 85 to 90 points in the B Impact Assessment. Once your company has hit the 80 points baseline, you will be able to submit your documents for review. Also, you will need to retake the assessment and re-certify every three years.
- The Transparency Requirement
After completing the B Impact Assessment, your company is required to disclose your B Impact Assessment score through the B Corp Directory on the B Lab Global website. Large enterprises are required to make non-sensitive answers to their full B Impact Assessment transparent on their B Corp Profile Page.
- The Legal Requirement
Finally, your company must amend the corporate governing documents or adopt a corporate form that remains accountable to all stakeholders in the decision-making - workers, communities, customers, suppliers, and the environment. You can refer to the stakeholder governance model and check the regional requirements on the B Lab website.
Why Should You Consider B Corp Certified?
B Corp Certification is the only certification that measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance. The comprehensive process of evaluation and verification proves that the company is incorporating the highest standards of ethical business into their operations and business model, from your supply chain and material input to employee benefit, charitable giving, and community engagement. The certification will help your company stand out from others by demonstrating that your company is making a real difference instead of merely smart marketing. Certified B Corps are able to join the B Corp community with other industry and business leaders, and together drive the systematic change to address the social and environmental challenges.
If your business is thinking about becoming a B Corp, request a demo from Ecolytics today to see how we provide customized recommendations for your business and assist you with the application!