B Corp certification is popular, but is it a match for your business? Just because B Corps are trending, it does not necessarily mean everyone understands it. I decided to recap the most frequent misconceptions and questions asked I get about B Corp Certification.
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One of the most common questions I receive is: how does a B Corp Certification differ from other sustainability certifications?
There has been an influx of reputable certifications, frameworks, guides, etc. in the past decade, and I suspect there will be more in the future. It seems that all businesses are searching for the next ‘best’ certification to slap onto their brands. Though this influx of terms and labels completely warrants a fear of increased greenwashing, it is a great example of the changing of times.
As a short answer, B Corp Certification differs from others as it is an all-encompassing assessment that evaluates how every business decision across an entire organization affects people, the planet, and profit.
Compared to other labels or assessments, the B Impact Assessment is not a reporting system nor definition framework but simply a comprehensive approach that builds upon standards such as GRI and IRIS, and others.
When defining the B Corp Certification, you tend to get one of these responses:
- It is a Holistic Approach
- It is a Movement
But what does that mean?
To put it in Greta Thunberg’s terms, claiming commitments on sustainability, impact, net-zero, etc. may sound like blah blah blah. Overused. Not acted upon. B Corp Certification for me, however, is moving beyond claims, towards a community movement of action and systems change.
The certification process is hard, but once you are in, I see it as an all-encompassing community that supports your impact goals, uplifts your achievements, and offers guidance in the most difficult business decisions.
Other certifications evaluate your company and provide a stamp of approval. Your company then moves on paving the long way on your own, while B Corp offers a world of potential collaboration with a variety of businesses dedicated to the same vision and goals.
Since I’ve had the personal privilege of collaborating with the community movements in both Toronto and in the Benelux region I have witnessed the credibility and power this collective movement is making across the globe. This is only the beginning of the endless change to come.
No matter the size of the organization, the question is always the same. Isn’t my company size not fit to be a B Corp?
The only two requirements for B Corps are the following (though I added one more):
For larger corporations, the process can be more complex but can be a great way to oversee what effects each of your business units causes.
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.
For us at Quest, it was our framework to build a strong foundation for our future. We were only four people when we certified, and as we now continue to grow, our building blocks support us and guide us to make better and smarter decisions for our team and community.
Look, I’d be lying if I said that the certification process is a walk in the park, because it’s not supposed to be. This process is supposed to not only be a pulse check of how your business decisions impact society but also a further review of your plan of action.
Did you know one out of every three companies certifies? Now, these may not be great odds but it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. What I tell any organization struggling to certify – use and trust the framework. Not getting to 80? That is great news! The B Impact Assessment will provide the recommendations you need to get there. The steps are paved out for you to take, it’s just about taking them.
I know this is all easier said than done and if we have learned anything from the Paris Agreement or even COP26, good intentions are worthless without tangible actions…. Isn’t it time we acted?
If you haven’t gathered this already, the B Corp Movement and certification is 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 guide you through it too.
Are you ready to start your B Corp journey? Or do you have questions about B Corp certification? Talk to our B Corp expert, Diana.