Intro to B Corp certification
Are you a business that cares about more than just profits? A business that cares about the welfare of its employees, the community and the environment? If you answered yes, then you should consider a B Corp certification!
What is a B Corp certification?
B Corp certification is a certification that measures the overall social Impact a business has on the community. It seeks to balance profit and purpose through verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability.
Government and nonprofits cannot create sustainable solutions to community problems on their own. The business community is an important and integral third pillar in this discussion. B corps are businesses that are able to utilize their profits and business growth to also create positive change in the world around them – including their employees, the community, and the environment.
History of B Corp
In the early 2000’s, three friends and business partners, Jay Coen Gilbert, Bart Houlahan, and Andrew Kassoy, identified a need to differentiate socially and environmentally responsible businesses. After consulting with hundreds of entrepreneurs, industry leaders, and other stakeholders, they determined these businesses needed a legal framework to help them grow while staying true to their business mission and values, as well as credible standards to help these businesses stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace. As a result, Gilbert, Houlahan, and Kassoy founded B Lab in 2006 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering and encouraging businesses to engage in creating sustainable solutions to issues in their communities. The first B Corps were certified in 2007.
There are currently over 2,500 certified B Corps in more than 50 different countries. B Corp certified businesses in Michigan span all different industries and include: Valley City Electronic Recycling (Kentwood), Workit Health, Inc. (Ann Arbor), 5 lakes energy (Lansing), Higher Grounds Trading Company (Traverse City), and Brewery Vivant (Grand Rapids).
The B Corp Declaration of Independence
We envision a global economy that uses business as a force for good.
This economy is comprised of a new type of corporation – the B Corporation – which is purpose-driven and creates benefit for all stakeholders, not just shareholders.
As B Corporations and leaders of this emerging economy, we believe:
- That we must be the change we seek in the world.
- That all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered.
- That, through their products, practices, and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all.
- To do so requires that we act with the understanding that we are dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations.
How do I become a B Corp?
- Step 1: Assess
- You will need to complete a free online assessment, the B Impact Assessment (BIA). This assessment will walk you through a series of questions that will help you learn what it takes to build a better business click to see sample questions. The questionnaire will review information and business practices in 4 different areas: Governance, Workers, Community, and Environment.
- Step 2: Compare
- You will be able to compare your answers to thousands of other businesses and compare how you stack up. You will receive a quick snapshot at which questions you already excel at and which areas you could improve on. You will also get a more holistic report at how your company scores across multiple questions related to the same impact topic. Click to see Sample Report.
- Step 3: Improve
- You will be able to create a customized improvement plan for your business and use the free best practice guide to help implementation. Click to see Improvement Tools and Case Studies.
Once you have completed these steps and have a qualifying score of at least 80, the results will be reviewed and verified by B Lab. Your organization will meet virtually with B Lab staff to review your BIA and submit any confidential documents required to support your responses. To qualify for B Corp Certification, your organization must meet a minimum score of 80 out of a total available 200 points on the BIA, conform to the B Corp legal framework requirements, and comply with B Corp Certification transparency requirements including publicly sharing your B Impact Report on bcorporation.net.
SMSBF is proud to be part of a community of people using business as a force for good! B Lab provides a free, online, confidential tool called the B Impact Assessment to help you learn best practices companies can adopt regarding their workers, communities, and the environment.
See how your company measures up by taking the B Impact Assessment today!