EVOLVING THE STANDARDS FOR B CORP CERTIFICATION
In December 2020, B Lab announced a review of the performance requirements for B Corp Certification. This was initiated in response to community and stakeholder feedback regarding evolving conceptions of leadership in social and environmental performance.
While significant improvements have been made to our certification standards since B Lab began in 2006, the core aspects of the B Impact Assessment have remained consistent — including the fact that the certification is rooted in a company achieving an overall verified score of 80 through a flexible range of practices and attributes. This approach has been tremendously valuable and impactful in the first 15 years of this movement, yet it has also demonstrated its limitations and challenges.
We see this as an opportunity to ask big questions about how the current standards for B Corp Certification meet the needs of the moment, and how we can optimize the B Corp movement for the future. Our objective is to adapt and advance our performance requirements in a way that meaningfully demonstrates the leadership role that B Corps and the B Corp movement should play in the world. In updating these core components of B Corp Certification, we must be accountable to ongoing issues of global importance, such as the climate emergency; the urgent international movement for social justice, reduced inequalities, and racial equity; ongoing public health and economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic; economic inequity driven by shareholder primacy; and the intersecting ways in which these global challenges compound one another.
Our improved performance requirements will enable B Corp Certification to become a stronger driver of an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy.
In December 2020, B Lab announced a review of its standards for B Corp Certification. The aim was to understand whether more specific and mandatory performance requirements on important social and environmental topics could ensure that B Corp Certification continues to differentiate leading companies using business as a force for good.
In September 2022, B Lab launched the preliminary consultation period followed by detailed draft development, including various iterations and deeper engagement with key experts and stakeholders on the topics being developed, as well as our Regional Standards Advisory Groups and Standards Advisory Council. Overall the consultation saw participation from more than 1,000 individuals globally, representing a cross-section of geographies, company profiles, and stakeholder types.
In May 2023, we shared the Preliminary Consultation Summary Report, providing an overview of the September-November 2022 preliminary consultation results and highlighting the potential ways that prevalent feedback could be addressed in the next draft of the standards for B Corp Certification.
Communications regarding the next iteration of the draft standards began in late 2023, introducing the high-level approach, changes since the previous consultation, and setting expectations on the second consultation. B Lab will also begin engaging B Corps and other key stakeholders in preparation for the launch.
The second consultation will launch in January 2024 and run until March 2024. This will consist primarily of focus groups, the release of the complete draft of the new standards and an accompanying survey to capture detailed feedback.
Future updates will be shared below. For more information, please review these Frequently Asked Questions, as well as our previous announcements:
Revisiting the proposed changes to the standards for B Corp Certification (27 October, 2023)
Preliminary Consultation Suggests New B Corp Standards Are Ambitious yet Attainable (15 May, 2023)
A call for feedback on the draft of the new standards for B Corp Certification (23 September 2022)
Update on the Future of the B Corp Certification Performance Requirements (23 February 2022)
B Corp Performance Requirements Review updates: B Lab expands Regional Standards Advisory Groups, launches next round of community engagement, and updated project timeline (15 September 2021)
Performance Requirements Review Update: Survey Results and Next Steps (21 April 2021)
Call for Input on B Corp Certification Performance Requirements (2 December 2020)
Update on the timeline: A previous version of this page shared alternative timelines around the implementation of the new standards. B Lab continues to develop the rollout and transition timeline for the new standards, including improved digital experiences and certification processes. We have shifted testing of the new standards and are currently preparing for our second public consultation later this year.
Ahead of the upcoming second consultation, we’re sharing a refresher on how the fundamental changes to the new standards would raise the bar for B Corps to continue to lead the way in business.