Standards Development & Governance
B Lab recognizes that high-quality social and environmental business standards demand continuous improvement in order to meet principles of inclusion, independence, and credibility.
Developed according to standards best practices and informed by stakeholder input and research, our standards have continuously evolved since our founding in 2006.
B Lab's standards are multifaceted and include:
B Impact Assessment: A comprehensive tool to measure, manage, and improve a company’s positive impact performance for workers, communities, customers, suppliers, and the environment. A required verified score of 80 on the B Impact Assessment also serves as a certification requirement for B Corp Certification.
Risk Standards: An assessment of eligibility for B Corp Certification based on a review of potentially negative impacts associated with a company’s industry and other practices.
Multinational Company Standards & Baseline Requirements: Additional baseline requirements for large companies which are defined as a parent company generating $5B+ in annual revenue.
We update and improve our standards on a regular basis. While specific revision mechanisms will vary by the nature of the project, all standards development projects are informed by research and multi-stakeholder input.
B Lab’s standards are independently governed by B Lab’s Standards Advisory Council and Board of Directors, with input from external stakeholders and various Working and Advisory Groups.
The B Impact Assessment Standards were last updated in January 2019 (Version 6); however, content and functionality improvements have been developed and incorporated separately. With oversight and approval provided by the Standards Advisory Council, B Impact Assessment updates are assessed over a 12- to 18-month period, through a process that incorporates feedback provided by users on the B Impact Assessment platform, as well as:
Research and stakeholder engagement to identify new and emerging topics and best practices.
Identification of priority areas for improvement based on the guidance of Regional Standards Advisory Groups and the Standards Advisory Council.
Ongoing research and development, testing, and data analysis.
A 60-day public comment period.
Industry addenda are also developed over a 12- to 18-month period. In addition to the above, these addenda include the creation of expert working groups which make recommendations to the Standards Advisory Council.
Requirements for B Corp Certification include verification of a company’s minimum positive performance through the B Impact Assessment and an assessment of eligibility based on a review of potentially negative impacts associated with the company’s industry and other practices. This additional analysis may include further reviews and background checks and is conducted separately from the B Impact Assessment; it is critical to ensuring a holistic assessment of a company’s overall performance.
B Lab’s positions on various controversial industries and practices are available here. Positions are developed as needs arise, informed by research and stakeholder engagement (including, where possible, existing credible third party standards), and determined by B Lab’s Standards Advisory Council.
Based on the recommendations of the Multinational and Public Markets Advisory Council, B Lab has established additional baseline requirements for large companies (defined as a parent company generating $5B+ in annual revenue). These requirements recognize that the overall scale and influence of large companies requires societal obligations that go beyond overall performance on the B Impact Assessment as well as the screens imposed by the risk assessment process, requiring that specific minimum positive practices also be in place. For more information, check out this Baseline Requirements document to learn more.
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