Preliminary Consultation Suggests New B Corp Standards Are Ambitious yet Attainable
LONDON & AMSTERDAM, 15th MAY 2023 — A report released today by B Lab suggests that draft new standards for B Corp certified companies, currently in development, represent an ambitious yet attainable goal for business leaders looking to be a force for good.
The report, which outlines feedback from a consultation conducted by B Lab in late 2022, reveals that of a sample of over 1,000 businesses, public and academic stakeholders:
86% of B Corp respondents and 87% of non-B Corp respondents think the new draft standards represent high standards for social and environmental performance and will help make meaningful progress on pressing social and environmental issues.
69% of B Corp respondents and 51% of non-B Corp respondents think the new draft standards are either attainable or possible to attain in time.
71% of B Corp respondents and 77% of non-B Corp respondents think the new draft standards make it clearer to understand what is required to certify.
The consultation included 43 topical expert interviews, over 48 hours of focus groups, and feedback from stakeholders in 53 countries.
Currently, businesses seeking B Corp Certification must meet a legal requirement by amending their company articles to incorporate the interests of all stakeholders in a company’s decision-making and complete a scored impact assessment of their practices around governance, workers, community, the environment, and customers. B Lab then reviews this assessment and supporting documentation to arrive at an overall verified ‘B Impact Score’ which must be at least 80 points to achieve certification.
B Lab began the extensive process of evolving the standards for B Corp Certification in 2020, with the aim of continuing to differentiate leading businesses and help all companies improve their impact. Given the urgency associated with rethinking the current economic system, the new standards should support business to accelerate impact on the key issues facing people and the planet today.
The outcome of B Lab’s design work to date moves B Corp Certification away from a flexible verified scoring mechanism to specific requirements across core topics. The topics will be finalized during the next round of consultation. The majority of these topics are already covered in the existing standards and methodology, so this evolution marks a shift towards making them mandatory across all B Corp Certified businesses.
Other insights gained from the 2022 consultation include:
Scoring still remains a valuable tool for businesses to drive improvement. Ways to differentiate are being explored in the next round of design work.
Impact Business Models, in which positive social & environmental impact is designed into the business, should continue to be emphasized as part of the new standards.
Specific standard topic requirements should include more guidance around how to identify, prioritize and engage stakeholders that may be impacted by a company’s decisions.
B Lab is committed to acting on these insights as it enters the next phase of implementation of the new standards for B Corp Certification. The B Lab Standards team is using feedback from the preliminary consultation to produce the next iteration of the draft, intended to be shared in a further consultation in late 2023. All B Corps will be given time and support to transition towards the new standards once the draft is finalized.
Judy Rodrigues, Director of Standards at B Lab Global commented, “A huge thank you to everyone who has given their input to help us evolve the B Corp standards. Your feedback is actively shaping how we progress. It’s important that the standards enable businesses to achieve meaningful progress toward a more inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy while remaining within reach for all kinds of businesses across the globe. We’ll be taking your views forward as we continue to develop what the new standards look like.”
The second round of consultation on the standards is due to begin in late 2023. Register your interest here.
About the data: Full details on methodology and survey data are available in the full report.
About B Corp Certification: B Corp Certification doesn’t just evaluate a product or service, it assesses the overall social and environmental impact of the company that stands behind it. To achieve B Corp Certification, a company must meet a score of at least 80 points on the B Impact Assessment, an evaluation of a company’s positive impact, and pass a risk review, an evaluation of a company’s negative impact; change their corporate governance structure to be accountable to all stakeholders, not just shareholders; and exhibit transparency by allowing information about their B Corp Certification performance to be publicly available on their B Corp profile on B Lab’s website. B Corps recertify every three years and once certified, are expected to increase their score over time as they progress towards becoming more equitable, inclusive, and regenerative businesses.
About B Lab Global: B Lab is transforming the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet. A leader in economic systems change, our global network creates standards, policies, tools, and programs for business, and we certify companies — known as B Corps — who are leading the way. To date, our community includes over 500,000 workers in over 6,500 B Corps across 80 countries and 150 industries, and more than 200,000 companies manage their impact with the B Impact Assessment and the SDG Action Manager. B Lab has created and led efforts to pass over 50 corporate statutes globally that enable stakeholder governance, with over 10,000 companies using the legal framework. To learn more and join the movement, visit www.bcorporation.net.
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