B Lab welcomes new Standards Advisory Council Members to contribute to continuing evolution and improvement of B Corp Standards
5 MAY 2021 — B Lab is pleased to announce that Jessica Yinka Thomas, Kaye Materake, Mahlet Getachew, and Dan Osusky have been appointed by B Lab’s Board of Directors to join B Lab’s main Standards Advisory Council.
At the core of B Lab’s work is a set of rigorous performance based principles and standards designed to differentiate high performing mission driven companies as Certified B Corporations, educate and inspire companies towards meaningful continuous improvement, and maintain the integrity and credibility of the movement in its pursuit of an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economic system. The Standards Advisory Council (SAC) is an independent governing body tasked with developing and overseeing the application of these standards; thus playing a critical role in the B Corp community and broader efforts to define performance expectations for businesses on social and environmental issues.
The new SAC members join at a meaningful moment in the evolution of B Lab’s standards and its governance, which includes an overall review of B Corp Performance Requirements announced in December of 2020, the launch of a Multinational Standards Advisory Council earlier in 2020, B Lab’s commitment to become an anti-racist organization, and the expansion of Regional Standards Advisory Groups to provide global and broader community and stakeholder inputs into its standards development processes.
Collectively, these new members join with a multi-faceted range of experience and expertise. More diverse representation has been an identified priority for the Standards Advisory Council for some time, and new independent Standards Advisory Council members were selected via two processes: (1) a nomination process for a regional representative from B Lab East Africa, and (2) a call for nominations from US and Canada for individuals who identify as a woman or gender non-conforming Black, Indigenous, or Person of Color. An additional representative from Latin America will be selected later this year.
B Lab would also like to thank Samantha Duncan for her years of service on the Standards Advisory Council after stepping down at the conclusion of 2020.
“Social and environmental performance standards require independent governance and expertise to ensure that they are meeting the demands of stakeholders and providing the right best practices for businesses to aspire to. We’re thrilled to welcome Jessica, Kaye, Mahlet, and Dan to continue that tradition and bring their range of expertise and experience to help us continue to apply and evolve our standards. As the world continues to face ever-growing challenges like the climate emergency, racial injustice, and growing inequality, this work is more important than ever.” - Bart Houlahan, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of B Lab
Jessica Yinka Thomas
Jessica has over twenty years of experience working domestically and internationally in sustainable enterprise, social innovation and business development. She is Director of the Business Sustainability Collaborative and an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Poole College of Management at North Carolina State University. She also serves as the President and Board Chair of B Academics, a global network of educators, researchers, students and practitioners studying business as a force for good, thus also providing a valuable perspective from the academic community to the B Corp standards.
Kotsanai (Kaye) Materake
Kaye is currently the Principal at Tactive Consulting, focused on serving and supporting SMEs in Africa seeking to balance profit and purpose. Kaye’s previous experience includes work in peace and conflict resolution, as well as serving as the COO of the B Corp Soko. Kaye is originally from Zimbabwe and currently based in Kenya, and thus brings the perspective of entrepreneurs in East Africa to the Standards Advisory Council.
Mahlet is currently the Managing Director of Corporate Racial Equity & Legal at PolicyLink, the national research and action institute at the forefront of advancing racial and economic equity in America. Mahlet has extensive experience advising public and private corporations across various industries as external legal counsel and in-house counsel. Prior to joining PolicyLink, Mahlet was General Counsel and Head of Business Operations at Suki AI, Inc., and previous to that, she was Associate General Counsel & Assistant Secretary at GoPro, Inc. Her expertise and experience combining business operations, legal, non-profit policy and research, and a focus on racial equity, while also being new to B Lab’s standards, provides a unique and valuable independent perspective to the Council.
Dan is B Lab’s Head of Standards and Insights, overseeing the internal operations of B Lab’s standards management and development processes. Dan serves as B Lab’s management representative on the Standards Advisory Council. He has been with B Lab for over eight years, during which he has served as a Standards Analyst verifying the performance of companies pursuing the certification, and guided the development of Version 5 and 6 of the B Impact Assessment, B Lab’s approach to Controversial Issues, recommendations of the Multinational Public Markets Advisory Council and subsequent certification requirements for 5B+ parent companies, and the development of the SDG Action Manager.
B Lab’s Standards Advisory Council consists of two subcommittees, one focused on the overall certification requirements and standards (the Main SAC), and another focused on specific application of the standards for large companies (the Multinational Company Subcommittee).
The Main Subcommittee oversees the overall performance requirements for B Corp Certification, the content and scoring of the B Impact Assessment (BIA), the development of position statements on Controversial Issues, and Disclosure Review eligibility cases for companies under $1B in revenue. They are also responsible for approving addenda to the BIA created by expert working groups, and adjudicating any appeals regarding interpretation of the BIA.
The Main SAC is composed of 10-12 multi-stakeholder members from around the world with specific expertise in responsible and sustainable business. They come from backgrounds in business, government, academia, and the nonprofit sector, with experience on a broad range of topics related to using and evaluating business as a force for good.
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