Share your feedback on the draft of the new standards for B Corp Certification
Update on the timeline: While the timelines for implementation of the new standards included in this blog were accurate at the time of publishing, these are subject to change. B Lab continues to develop the rollout and transition timeline for the new standards, including improved digital experiences and certification processes. You can register your interest to provide feedback in the upcoming second consultation here.
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B Lab is excited to introduce the draft version of the new standards for B Corp Certification for a preliminary consultation. We invite the public to share feedback and help shape the future of what it means to be a B Corp and use business as a force for good, now and in the future.
The B Corp standards are moving away from a flexible approach linked to achieving an 80 point score in the B Impact Assessment across a range of criteria, to one where all B Corps must meet requirements on 10 specific topics that define leadership on social, governance, and environmental business impact.
The first draft of the new B Corp standards is open to review during a consultation period from 26 September - 30 November, 2022. Click here to access a one-pager document linking to the draft and accompanying survey, and/or register for our informational webinar on 18 October 2022, at either 15:00 UTC or 23:00 UTC.
The B Corp standards are at the heart of the B Corp movement and our Theory of Change, defining social, environmental, and governance best practices for businesses. Our standards serve as the foundation for all our global network does to drive economic systems change — from B Corp Certification to our impact management products to our policy work worldwide.
Continuous improvement is one of the foundational principles of B Lab. As the B Corp community and our global movement grow, we must uphold this commitment by continually evolving the tools and strategies we use to effectively differentiate leading businesses and help all companies improve their impact. This is critical to provide clarity to B Corps and all businesses using our standards to guide their own journeys of continuous improvement; galvanize impact on topics that define what good business looks like; and ensure that B Lab's standards are informed by ongoing developments from other standards organizations and regulations from government bodies across the world.
With this in mind, in December 2020, B Lab announced a review of the performance requirements — or standards — for B Corp Certification. The aim was to understand whether more specific and mandatory performance requirements on specific topics could ensure that B Corp Certification continues to differentiate leading companies using business as a force for good. These standards are an evolution of what it means to be a B Corp, making certification more relevant than ever for business today and in the future.
What’s changing in the new standards? While still an early version, in this draft of the new standards B Lab emphasizes and further develops 10 topics already featured in the existing standards that are universally applicable and relevant towards achieving an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy. The major change is that the new standards will define a set of non-negotiable requirements for achieving certification.
In order to certify in the future, B Corps will need to meet specific performance requirements contextualized to their business characteristics in the following categories that define leadership on social, governance, and environmental impact:
Purpose & Stakeholder Governance
Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
Circularity and Environmental Stewardship
This will replace the historic flexible approach linked to achieving an 80 point score in the B Impact Assessment across a range of criteria. To read the full draft of the standards, click here to view the one-pager document.
When will the standards be changing? After further rounds of feedback and consultation, B Lab now expects to launch the new standards in a phased approach that will extend to different groups of B Corps beginning in 2024.
How can I access the draft standards and survey? You can access the draft standards and a survey to share your feedback here.
Who should provide feedback? Any and all interested stakeholders, including B Corps, companies considering certification or that are in the process of applying, as well as anyone with an interest in shaping the future of the B Corp movement. As B Corps will likely be most impacted by the new standards, we strongly encourage participation from our B Corp community.
What is the deadline to provide feedback? Please complete the survey by 30 November, 2022.
What comes next? Input received from the survey during the consultation period will be considered for inclusion in the next version of the standards. As detailed below, there will be further opportunities to provide input into the development of these standards in 2023. B Lab now expects to launch the new standards using a phased approach that will extend to different groups of B Corps beginning in 2024.
How can I learn more? To prepare for participation in the consultation period, B Lab invites stakeholders to attend a webinar highlighting key features of the draft of the standards on 18 October 2022, at either 15:00 UTC or 23:00 UTC. The webinar will be conducted in English, with live interpretation in Spanish and Portuguese.
After B Lab’s Standards Advisory Council agreed on a framework for evolving the B Corp standards, the new standards have been developed further throughout 2022 in consultation with key stakeholders. These have included subject matter experts around the world; B Lab’s six Regional Standards Advisory Groups; and the main Standards Advisory Council, which is independently governed and oversees the development of our standards and their application through the B Impact Assessment.
While we have been making great progress, B Lab has determined that in order to meet the ambition of this work, the launch must be extended to 2024. This decision was made in light of the excitement and interest around this project, both inside and outside of the B Corp community, coupled with the breadth of the work ahead of us — incorporating feedback from a wide range of diverse stakeholders as well as the contextualization and thorough testing of the new standards. Importantly, this extended timeline allows for adoption of a more iterative approach to B Lab’s standards development, allowing for further rounds of stakeholder engagement, testing, and consultation periods.
With this extended timeline, over the course of 2022 and 2023, the following phases will be undertaken for the B Corp Performance Requirements development:
As the standards are further developed, B Lab will also be working towards implementing them in B Lab’s impact management and measurement tools, ahead of a planned launch in 2024 that will extend to different groups of B Corps using a phased approach. This timeline is subject to change based on the lessons learned within each phase, with the priority continuing to be an inclusive development process and the highest-quality standards possible.
B Lab would like to thank funders supporting this work, specifically the Tipping Point Fund on Impact Investing (TPF), whose grant supported B Lab's stakeholder engagement efforts as part of the review of the B Corp Certification Performance Requirements; Porticus, whose grant through its Purposeful Business initiative will support the overall development process; and Prudential Foundation whose grant will support the incorporation of a Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion lens into the standards development process. B Lab will continue seeking additional support to implement this work. To explore potential partnership opportunities, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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