There is a reason why 40,000 companies are engaged in the B Impact Assessment, but less than 2,000 are certified B Corps: The certification is not easy.
Not every socially and environmentally responsible enterprise is a certified B Corp. But, every certified B Corp is a socially and environmentally responsible enterprise. Taking the first step to becoming certified is the B Impact Assessment itself. There are a possible 200 available points on the assessment. You need 80 points to meet B Lab’s materiality threshold for creating a positive impact on society and the environment in order to qualify for certification.
The B Impact Assessment is a thought-provoking and engaging exercise in assessing and visualizing your business practices. While the BIA measures the past 12-24 months of operating history, it invites you to set goals for improving your BIA score over time with suggestions for easy, medium, and hard points to acquire. It asks what you, as an entrepreneur, are willing to implement and what you can implement right now or in the next 12 months. And, the questions repeat each successive year.
Do you have a mission statement that gives consideration to planet, people & profit? Does your governance body meet at least annually? Do you have a review process from top to bottom and that flows back up? Do you engage your employees’ satisfaction? Their insights? Are there paid health benefits? How about paid family leave? Do you incorporate any renewable resources or recycled products into your office use? Do you have shared ownership? Do you pay above the living wage? If so, how much? How does the executive-to-lowest-paid-employee compensation ratio look? Do you offer PTO to your employees to do volunteer work in the community? Does the company (not the CEO) engage in charitable giving? Do you offer your offices or other assistance to social or environmental organizations? Does your product or service target an under-represented segment in society? Do you provide job training? Health & wellness training? Do you screen your suppliers for negative business practices? Do you screen them for positive business practices? Are any of your suppliers and vendors local? Are any of them minority or women-owned businesses? Can you verify your answers to the above?
These are some of the questions on the B Impact Assessment and clearly some B practices are easier to implement than others. The B Impact Assessment is designed for flexibility (i.e. you don’t need to answer all of the above questions positively), but good work benefits & conservation, alone, will not get you to 80 points. The industry average typically runs around 50 points.
The B Corp designation is relatively new. For some businesses, obtaining the certification may not take years to achieve because they had been employing B practices from their inception or gradually working them into their framework for a while. For other companies, making the transition to a B Entity will take time.
B Certification is an exercise in human striving. As with many things that are worthwhile, it requires patience, time, and sincerity in the seeking.
**This note does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please consult an attorney about the specifics of your matter. Feel free to reach out to us for a consultation. We would love to hear from you.