ad: Annual 2024 Now Open For Entries!
*

How to Become a B Corp in 2024: A Complete Guide #SustainabilityMonth

Published by

In the ever-connected world of 2024, brands don’t have the luxury of secrecy. If there’s one thing the digital revolution has thrust upon the world without compromise, it’s the need to complete and perpetual transparency and that might be a great thing for some and not such a great thing for others.

For brands with a natural (pardon the pub) inclination towards social and environmental responsibility, that transparency becomes a blessing. For those still dragging their feet on the sustainable bandwagon, however, it becomes something of a burden. If they want to turn that frown upside down, however, they might choose to see it as an opportunity to align their operations with the increasingly environmental desires of their audience and there’s no better (and more visible) way to do that than to apply for B Corp certification.

Becoming a Certified B Corporation (B Corp) offers a powerful framework for businesses to demonstrate their commitment to purpose-driven practices. Today, as we begin sustainability month in earnest, I’ll explore the steps and considerations involved in achieving B Corp certification.

What Is a B Corp?

A B Corp is a business that meets the rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability set out by the global nonprofit B Lab organisation. Whereas most brands solely focus on profits, B Corps prioritise people, the planet, and a greater purpose alongside their financial success.

By becoming a B Corp, brands signal their dedication to positive impact beyond the bottom line. It is, in essence, a badge of honour that proves your brand is going above and beyond to ensure the world is a better place with you in it. Getting there, however, is far from straightforward and is not going to be without cost.

The Certification Process

Eligibility

Let’s start with the basics. Startups (as in complete, wet behind the ears startups) cannot apply for B Corp status. To apply, your company must have been operating for at least a year.

Large, multinational corporations, however, will have to fulfil additional requirements. Even applying is a positive step, however, as you can officially declare yourself a “Pending B Corp”, which at least tell the world at large you’re trying.

Assessment

Once you’ve applied, for a one-off submission fee of £250, the BIA evaluates a company’s entire social and environmental performance. From supply chain practices to employee benefits, the assessment covers everything and is notoriously thorough to ensure no fair-weather brands slip through the net. It will also include a phone interview to discuss all findings.

You will be ranked from 1-100 and you need to achieve a score of at least 80 to qualify for certification. TO ensure continual improvement, the organisation will ask you to regularly assess your impact, refine practices, and strive for higher scores on the BIA. It’s also worth noting that you must also pay annual certification fees to retain your B Corp status, and this will depend on the size and scale of your business.

Benefits of B Corp Certification

Market Differentiation

Becoming a B Corp sets your brand apart in a crowded marketplace. By proudly displaying your commitment to purpose-driven practices, you attract conscious consumers and investors who prioritize ethical business. Your brand becomes synonymous with positive change, making it an attractive choice for those seeking products and services aligned with their values.

Network and Collaboration

As a B Corp, you join a global community of like-minded businesses. This network provides opportunities for collaboration, knowledge sharing, and collective impact. Whether it’s sharing best practices, partnering on projects, or advocating for systemic change, B Corps work together to amplify their positive influence. The power of collective action extends beyond individual companies, creating a ripple effect across industries.

Employee Engagement

B Corp certification isn’t just about external perception—it also impacts your internal ecosystem. Engaged employees are more than just workers; they’re advocates for your brand. B Corp certification boosts employee morale by giving them a sense of purpose beyond profit. When team members know they contribute to a greater mission, they become more committed, innovative, and aligned with the company’s values. A thriving workplace culture emerges, attracting and retaining top talent.

Measurable Impact

Quantifying impact is essential for any purpose-driven organization. The B Impact Assessment (BIA) serves as a powerful tool. By regularly assessing your performance across social, environmental, and governance dimensions, you track progress and identify areas for improvement. The BIA isn’t just a certification requirement; it’s a roadmap for continuous enhancement. As you measure your positive contributions, you demonstrate transparency and accountability to stakeholders.

*

Becoming a B Corp is more than a boastful badge to stick on the front of your product (though it certainly is that too)—it’s a commitment to being part of a better world. It’s about integrating purpose into your brand’s DNA and showing the world you care about more than just the bottom line. So, if you’re looking for something to set you apart from the competition this sustainability month. Look no further.

Another Opinion

Abbe Bigelow, CFO/COO at ustwo  

At ustwo, successfully starting our B Corp certification process was driven by two things. First - agreement of our stakeholders. Our founders, Board and management team were 100% aligned that becoming a B Corp was a strategic direction we wanted to take. This paved the way for dedicating resources and investment to obtain the certification. Second, it was viewed by all as an enhancement to what we were already doing.

ustwo policies had largely been in line with that of B Corp — this wasn't because we knew we would become certified someday. We had implemented a lot of processes that mirrored B Corp organisations because it was an inherent part of our culture and the nature of ustwobies to be driven by our values.

Comments

More Inspiration

*

Inspiration

#MemberSpotlight on product designer Rajeev Karemane

How did you first get into the industry? I was born in small village in western ghats of Karnataka India. When I was 10 years old, I used to create collages by cutting out people's photos from newspapers and magazines, mixing and matching them in...

Posted by: Creativepool Editorial
ad: Annual 2024 Now Open For Entries!