PUBLIC COMPLAINT PROCESS

A formal complaint process is an essential complement to the B Corp Certification verification and review.

B Lab prioritizes responses to stakeholder inquiries and complaints, which can help us identify and take action on misconduct or misrepresentation by Certified B Corporations.

In many instances, there may be other mechanisms available to raise complaints or resolve disputes with a company, including communicating directly, engaging a third-party arbiter, or working with regulatory agencies or the legal system.

Generally, B Lab will not investigate:

  • Complaints regarding customer service issues, such as order refunds or shipping delays.

  • Complaints that are pending legal action and/or include accusations of illegal acts without a formal legal resolution.

  • Complaints that are not directly tied to a currently Certified B Corporation.

  • Complaints regarding a company that omits a specific practice not required for B Corp Certification, unless the company has claimed that they include that practice.

  • Complaints that include illegal actions and/or threats.

B Lab will investigate material, credible, and specific claims against a current B Corp in one of the two following categories:

  1. Intentional misrepresentation of practices, policies, or outcomes claimed during a company’s certification process.  

  2. Breaches of the B Corp Community's core values as expressed in our Declaration of Interdependence.  

If you have a complaint that you think falls within the parameters listed above, please submit a formal inquiry with the following information to our Standards Management team using this form, which will ask for:

  • Your name and contact information

  • The specific details of your complaint

  • Why you believe B Lab should examine your complaint

  • Any additional context, including public records or evidence relevant to the issue

  • Any supporting documentation and/or the details of any legal action taken

All complaints are kept confidential and contact information is requested for follow-up purposes only; our team will review the information provided and contact you only if an initial review is necessary. We will seek your permission before reaching out to a company regarding the issue.

If the complaint falls within the parameters listed above and a precedent has not already been established, B Lab will conduct a full investigation and present the results to its independent Standards Advisory Council. Investigations will require direct engagement with the B Corporation in question, to ensure fairness in the proceedings.

B Lab aims to have all initial reviews of complaints concluded within 90 days from receipt, and, if a Standards Advisory Council review is necessary, to have a decision concluded within another 90 days. This minimum amount of time is critical to ensure a thorough and objective process and arrive at a fair decision.    

B Lab does not comment on the details of complaints that are in process. A resolution may include a determination that a complaint does not fall within the parameters of the public complaint process, as listed above. 

Resolution of Complaints

Issues that fall within the parameters of the public complaint process are resolved in one of the five following ways:

  1. Certification revoked. B Lab completes its investigation of the case and determines that disclosure and remediation are insufficient to address the scale of the negative impact of the B Corp’s actions, and so B Lab will revoke the company’s certification.

  2. Certification suspension with remediation required to maintain certification. B Lab completes its investigation of the case and determines that the company’s certification is to be suspended until its remediation steps are completed. The B Corp will also be required to disclose the findings of the case on its B Corp public profile. Until those steps are completed, the company cannot participate in the B Corp community or use the B Corp intellectual property, and the company’s B Corp public profile will indicate that the company is suspended.

  3. Certification probation with disclosure and remediation required to maintain certification. B Lab completes its investigation of the case and determines that the B Corp is on probation and in order to maintain its certification, it must complete remediation steps by an agreed upon date and disclose the findings of this case on its B Corp public profile.

  4. Certification upheld with disclosure required, no remediation. B Lab completes its investigation of the case and determines that the B Corp must disclose the findings of the case on its B Corp public profile in order to maintain its certification.

  5. Certification upheld with no further action. B Lab completes its investigation of the case and determines that the findings do not indicate that the B Corp participated in an intentional misrepresentation of practices, policies, or outcomes claimed during its certification process, or a breach of the B Corp Community's core values as expressed in our Declaration of Interdependence.

The decision of the Standards Advisory Council regarding the complaint may be appealed by the company directly to B Lab's Board of Directors, in which case the resolution of such an appeal is binding. When a complaint resolution involves the creation of a model for how similar complaints might be addressed, those models are posted on the Controversial Issues page.

In cases where legal or regulatory action is possible, B Lab’s public complaint process relies on the outcomes of those judgments and does not conduct independent investigations. While B Lab is not able to pursue a formal investigation in some instances, we do maintain a record of all issues to the extent legally allowed for ongoing monitoring. Any complaint may be reopened for further action should new information arise that warrants it.


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