B Corp certification key aspects

Demystifying the B Corp Certification

B Corps are a global community of certified businesses that meet high standards of social and environmental impact. As the certification becomes more popular globally, many companies are looking into becoming B Corps. But certifying requires radical transformation and is not for marketing, so you need to ask yourself, is it a match for your business?  Let us tackle the most frequently asked questions surrounding B Corp certification.

1. How is B Corp certification different from other sustainability certifications?

Sustainability certifications, frameworks, guides, etc. have been trending in the last decade, and more will be in the future. It seems that all companies are looking for the next “best” certification to stick onto their branding and websites. While this proliferation of terms and labels certainly justifies the fear of increasing greenwashing, it is also a great example of the changing times. 

B Corp certification differs from others because it is an all-encompassing assessment that evaluates how every business decision impacts people, planet, and profit. Compared to other evaluations, the B Impact Assessment is not a reporting system but a comprehensive approach that builds on standards such as GRI and IRIS, amongst others. Want to compare different sustainability assessments? Check out the new Impact management project.

2. What does a holistic approach mean?

When you hear B Corp Certification, you tend to get responses like: 

  • It is a Holistic Approach
  • It is a Movement

While other certifications assess your business and simply give a stamp of approval, B Corp certification goes beyond mere commitments to sustainability, impact, net-zero and leads to a collaborative movement of action and systems change.

Becoming a B Corp means joining an all-encompassing community of companies committed to the same vision and goals that support your impact goals, advance your performance, and guide you through crucial business decisions.

As a certified B Corp, Quest Studio team has the privilege of knowing the community from the inside and has experienced the credibility and the power this collective movement is making across the globe. We strongly believe that this is only the beginning of the endless ripples of change to come. That is why Quest Studio is part of B Corp Way, a platform that enables businesses to find B Corp consultancies to help them address impact challenges. As B Lab’s selected partner in Belgium, we offer mentorship focused on scaling impact.

Quest Impact Design Studio

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3. Is it possible to be profitable and sustainable?

One of the biggest misconceptions about B Corps is that sustainability hinders business growth. On the contrary, one of the main purposes of this movement is to help build a sustainable economy, which includes economic stability for businesses, people, communities, and the global economy. 
Therefore, all the benefits of B Corp certification, such as engaged employees, committed consumers, strategic partnerships, and marketing reinforcement help scale businesses. B Lab itself highlights how you can market the certification to help you increase your profit margins. Ultimately, certified companies need to make a profit if they are to continue to drive the movement forward and reinvest their profits to uphold their commitment to the planet and people.

4. Is my company size fit to be a B Corp?

The answer is: B Corp Certification is for every for-profit business of any size. The only two current requirements are the following:

  • You are a for-profit business
  • You have been operating for a year 

In addition, B Lab also clearly states that companies involved in coal mining and oil sands extraction, anti-climate lobbying, or that have compensation and performance incentives linked to fossil fuels, are ineligible for certifying. 

Large Enterprises

 

For larger corporations, the process of becoming a B Corp can be more complex, but it can be a great way to monitor the impact each business unit is causing. Take the case of Intrepid Travel: it had its 20 subsidiaries complete the assessment to certify the entire organization. Now, when a subsidiary makes changes that impact its individual BIA score, the parent company can directly see the impact it has on the company-wide score, making the process easier to manage.

Small to medium businesses

 

For smaller organizations, B Corp Certification can primarily be a  framework to formalize standards and guidelines. At Quest Studio, we used it as a frame of reference to build a strong foundation for our future. We were only four people when we certified, and now as we continue to grow, our building blocks support us and guide us to make better and smarter decisions for our team and community. 

For small businesses and startups, there is also the Pending B Corp status, which is designed to give these types of companies time to prepare for the rigorous process of full B Corp Certification. Becoming a Pending B Corp is not the same as becoming a Certified B Corp. After a definite period of time determined by the regional B Lab or Sistema B organization, they must go through the full verification process.

B Corp certification score icon

Want to become a B Corp?

 

Our team can guide you through the B Impact Assessment, engage your team, and help you become B Corp certified.

5. Is it hard to certify as a B Corp?

The certification process is definitely not easy, nor should it be. The numbers show that only one out of every three companies gets certified. Ultimately, the process is intended to be a pulse check of how your business decisions impact society and an in-depth review of your action plan.

We advised all companies seeking to certify to use and trust the framework. Not getting to 80? The B Corp Assessment provides you with the recommendations you need to reach that goal. The steps are paved out for you to take – it’s just about taking them. We know this is all easier said than done and if we have learned anything from the Paris Agreement or even COP27, it’s that good intention is worthless without tangible action…. But isn’t it time we acted?

6. Why should you take part in the B Corp movement?

No business, sustainable or otherwise, is perfect, nor is any sustainability certification. 

Becoming B Corp certified means that you are committing to continuously pushing the boundaries to help shift the paradigm to a more inclusive and sustainable economy. It is a marathon, not a sprint: becoming a certified B Corp is just the beginning of the journey, not the end goal. That is why B Corps have to go through a recertification process every three years to verify if the company is acting on its goals and commitments and is improving its impact. 

One of the movement’s foundational principles is continuous improvement. That is why, just like its certified companies, and third-party assessor, the B Impact Assessment also updates every three years to adapt to the global feedback, other standards organizations, and regulations from government bodies globally. 

In September 2022, B Lab introduced the latest standards for B Corp Certification, which will be moving away from the 80-point score to one where all B Corps must meet requirements on ten specific topics that define leadership on social, governance, and environmental business impact.

Ultimately, the Movement and certification are part of a learning journey that is constantly adapting to push systems to be more inclusive and sustainable for all. We’re glad to be on this transparent journey and hope to guide you through it too.

Are you ready to start your B Corp journey? 

 

Or do you have more questions about B Corp certification?

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