“B-corp is just a social business,” you may be wondering, and it is correct at one point, but B-corp is more than a social business. It is a new kind of business that balances purpose and profit like a social business does, furthermore, it has to consider the legal requirements on the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the whole environment.
B-corp is a gold medal for social business, and it would be a great honor to be certified by a B-corp organization in the U.S. B-corp organization is a global community that drives a global movement of people using business as a force for good. As they put it, ‘Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.’ Globally, there are 3522 companies certified as B-corp organizations in 74 different countries currently.
The important question now is: How can a business qualify for B-Corp certification? It is interesting to know that B Corp Certification doesn’t just evaluate a product or service; it assesses the overall positive impact of the company that stands behind it. And increasingly that’s what people care most about. Your social business could rely on the B Impact Assessment- a holistic assessment of the overall performance of a company’s impact on its workers, customers, community, and environment developed by the B-corp organization. This B impact assessment also measures your supply chain and input materials to your charitable giving and employee benefits, to ensure that your business is meeting the highest standards of verified performance.
The following are the detailed areas that this B Impact Assessment focuses on:
Governance, study what your company can do to enhance policies and practices pertaining to its mission, ethics, accountability and transparency.
Workers, focus on what your company can do to contribute to your employees’ financial, physical, professional, and social well-being.
Community, learn what your company can do to contribute to the economic and social well-being of the communities in which it operates.
Environment, analyze what your company can do to improve its overall environmental stewardship.
Customers, emphasize on what your company can do to improve the value that you create for your direct customers and the consumers of your products or services.
Disclosure Questionnaire, Identify any potentially sensitive industries, practices, outcomes or fines/sanctions of your company that are not explicitly called out in the rest of the assessment.
This B Impact Assessment tool, used by over 50,000 businesses worldwide, not just by Certified B Corporations but also other companies. Each assessment category has 18-38 questions for you to answer and scores to measure what impact your business is achieving and which areas your business should improve.
Besides fulfilling the B Impact Assessment standard score, your business also needs to meet the legal requirement, which determines how your company can integrate stakeholder considerations into your governance structure. You may refer to this Legal Requirement Tool to find out what legal requirements you need to follow for a specific country policy.
After completing the B Impact Assessment and Legal Requirement, the B-corp organization will verify your score to determine if your company meets the 80-point bar for certification, which is the standard bar for certification. Afterward, you will have to meet virtually with B Lab staff to review your completed B Impact Assessment and submit confidential documentation to validate your responses. Companies also must meet certain transparency requirements to become Certified B Corps, as laid out in the B Corp Agreement as B-corp organization states.
Finally, to complete the certification, you also have to sign the B Corp Declaration of Interdependence, and pay your annual certification fees. It has to point out that fees vary by region, you could check the Global Partner websites for local pricing.
Overall, a B Corp Certification can help you to clarify your mission and goals to stakeholders and get support from them, but it’s also a symbol of sustaining a stable business model that ensures long-term benefits and impact. Moreover, it is also a symbol that your company is creating value for both society and individuals, in ways that affect the public’s impression of your company being seen as ‘green’ and ‘good’.
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