In an era defined by unprecedented environmental challenges, businesses are called upon to be more than profit-driven entities. That’s why B Lab mobilised the B Corp Certification, a designation that a business is meeting high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials. As this movement continues to expand, we’re looking at why your business should consider being a part of it.
What does it mean to achieve B Corp Certification?
As a Certified B Corp, you become part of a global community of businesses that meet high standards of social and environmental impact. There are over 1,500 B Corps in the UK and over 6,400 globally. Some of the most recognisable names to hold the certification include Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, Coursera, and The Body Shop.
The B Corp Certification evaluates various aspects of a business. To attain this certification, companies must meet rigorous criteria, including:
- High Social and Environmental Performance: Achieving a B Impact Assessment score of 80 or above and passing a comprehensive risk review. This assessment evaluates a company’s impact on its workers, community, environment, and customers, ensuring a holistic commitment to social and environmental responsibility.
- Legal Commitment: Changing corporate governance structures to be accountable to all stakeholders, not just shareholders, and achieving benefit corporation status if available in their jurisdiction. This step solidifies a commitment to prioritise the greater good over mere profit.
- Transparency: Sharing information about performance against B Lab’s standards through a publicly accessible B Corp profile on B Lab’s website. This transparency ensures that companies are held accountable for their actions and progress towards making a positive impact.
Why certify as a B Corp?
B Corp Certification goes beyond a single social or environmental issue; it is a comprehensive process that requires engaging every facet of a company. While certifying as a B Corp is no small task, businesses that certify see some great results.
According to B Lab, recent research shows that UK B Corps out-perform their peers across several business metrics. Compared to data from surveys of UK SMEs, it was found that B Corp SMEs have, on average:
- Faster growth in turnover and employee headcount and higher expectations about future growth
- Greater levels of employee retention, engagement and diversity
- More robust governance processes
- Greater focus on civic and community engagement
- Higher levels of innovation
- The same likelihood of success at securing external finance
B Corp Certification is just the start…
Becoming a part of the B Corp Certified community is a massive achievement – but it is only the beginning of a framework for continuous improvement. Companies must undergo the assessment and verification procedure every three years to maintain certification, proving they are still adhering to B Lab’s criteria – which are always being improved with input from knowledgeable stakeholders.
So, achieving B Corp Certification does not mean that a company has achieved its highest impact and can now relax. It is an ongoing commitment to meet the rising standards for social and environmental practice as part of a global community of businesses working collectively for economic systems change.
The bottom line? It’s a commitment to be a force for good; for our people, community, and the planet.
We are proud to announce that Sustainable Energy First is now a Certified B Corporation. Get involved and learn more about the B Corp movement.