Written by E.J. Spencer on Sep 14, 2020
This is a private certification that measures social and environmental performance. Historically the B Corp certification has attracted smaller businesses, but now larger companies see the value as the corporate world races for sustainability. Are you ready to “balance purpose and profit?” Here are ten things you need to do to become a Certified B Corp company:
1. Evaluate Your Footprint
The Certified B Corporation process forces companies to take inventory of their social and environmental footprint as well as take action. Benchmarking your company’s impact on the environment and society, and evaluating governance are incredible tools. Once you know where you stand on sustainability, it is less daunting to take steps toward change.
3. Make Legal Changes
A benefit corporation is different from a Certified B Corporation. A benefit corporation is the legal framework that allows a company to pursue its mission first, even through change, “by institutionalizing the values, culture, processes, and high standards.” In order to pursue the B Corp certification you will be required to reincorporate or rewrite company articles to solidify your commitment, depending on your state or country requirements.
4. Perform Better
B Corp isn’t just about doing good, it’s about performing better. BlackRock noted in its Sustainable Investing report post Covid-19 that “companies with strong profiles on material sustainability issues have potential to outperform those with poor profiles.” A Harvard Business School article cited a number of B Corporation companies that were finding that they had a competitive advantage in their markets, since acquiring the B Corp certification, as they were “riding a wave of consumer interest in sustainable companies.” In the UK, B Corp companies had an average growth rate 28 times higher than the national average.
5. Find Out If You Meet the Requirements
There are a few basic requirements that you should consider before launching into the certification process; you must score higher than an 80 on your B Impact Assessment to proceed to the next phase; you will need to meet the legal requirements of incorporation—you can use their Legal Tool Requirement; and your business must be at least one year old. If your company doesn’t have a year under its belt yet then you can acquire the Pending B Corp Status.
6. Be Willing to Join the Movement
Join the already changing tide toward the multi-stakeholder model of Reimagining Capitalism, the title of Rebecca Henderson’s book. Larry Fink of BlackRock and other investment firms have put a stake in the ground on investing sustainably and Covid-19 has only accelerated the company’s momentum toward social and environmental impact. It’s time to rebuild our world with people and the planet first.
7. Seek Inspiration and Tools
B Lab, the non-profit that certifies B Corporations provides resources for companies to adopt best practices in their respective industries, and equips teams with the tools to do the good that they want to do in the world. B Lab engages its certified companies in conversations about relevant topics, “aggregates learnings, shares case studies, provides professional development and creates opportunities for CEOs to convene.”
8. Streamline and Save Money
This Harvard Business Review article demonstrated how Certified B Corporation businesses have been able to operate more efficiently since being certified. The process actually helped identify areas where companies could cut back and save all across their value chains. B Lab continues to encourage companies to run more sustainably—saving money while doing good.
9. Have a Genuine Commitment
The B Corporation certification is for companies that are ready to walk the talk of sustainability and juggle all the needs of their stakeholders. Not only is the process long and rigorous, it is a financial commitment. The cost for certification is done on a sliding scale, so depending on your annual revenue it will cost anywhere from $500-50,000 each year.
10. Verify Your Hard Work
Are you already doing the hard work of leading a sustainably-minded business but just not sure how best to verify it? The B Corp certification can get you there by demonstrating to customers, investors, and employees that you are doing the hard work.
Interested in being a Certified B Corp company? We can help walk you through the process as you achieve your impact and sustainability goals.