Our sister company, Towergate Health & Protection, advise that B Corp certification is highly coveted, and for a reason. Businesses are awarded B Corp certification when they meet certain high standards of social and environmental performance. To date, over 6,000 businesses – of all sizes – around the world are B Corp certified.
What is it?
In today’s world, consumers are growing increasingly more conscious of how they’re spending their money, wanting to ensure that their purchases align with their morals and ethics. Not only do consumers care about social and environmentally sustainable practices, but they expect businesses to, as well. B Corp certification, then, is effectively a stamp that marks a business as being socially and environmentally conscious.
That’s not to say that businesses without the certification aren’t concerned about their social and environmental standing, but the conscious consumer will find it easier to see that a company’s values align with their own if they’re B Corp certified.
Is it worth it?
Whether or not B Corp certification is worth it will depend on your business, but generally it’s seen as a business plus. By trying to meet the rigorous standards it sets, B Corp status ‘inherently sets the standard of your business’s operational success much higher than 99% of your competition.’¹
Once you’ve submitted your B Corp assessment, you’ll need to pay a one-off fee of £250 plus VAT, and then pay a fee for each year that you’re a member. The latter isn’t a flat fee, but rather based on your company’s total revenue.
If B Corp determine that you’re facing ‘systemic barriers to business ownership’, you can receive a 40% discount on certification fees. You’ll have to apply for this discount when you submit for verification.
So, how do you get it?
B Corp is open about the fact that it’s very rare for a business to achieve B Corp certification on their first attempt. It takes most businesses a significant amount of time and effort to be operating to B Corp’s strict standards their first time around and earn their accreditation.
The basic initial requirements for joining:
- Your company operates for profit in a competitive market.
- Your company has been in operation for at least 12 months.
- Complete and submit the free B Impact Assessment (BIA), a set of 200 questions taken online that’s used to analyse your company’s social and environmental performance.
- The assessment focuses on five key areas: governance, workers, community, environment, and customers.
- The questions your company has to answer will be tailored to the size of its business.
- At least 80 points (out of 200) are needed to achieve B Corp certification.
- This step is all about improving your BIA score. As mentioned above, it’s highly unusual for a business to achieve the required number of points to achieve B Corp certification the first time around, so the vast majority of businesses will spend time improving their score.
- Businesses can improve their score using the tools offered by the BIA, including a goal setting function.
- Next, your company will need to make sure it’s legally compliant.
- This involves changing the wording in your Articles of Association ‘to reflect a commitment to creating a material positive impact on society and the environment, and to consider the impact of your decisions on all of your stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, suppliers, society and the environment’.
- The changed Articles will then be filed with Companies House.
- Once you’ve managed to improve your score to be 80 points or over, and you have completed the Disclosure Questionnaire, you can then submit your application to B Lab.
- If your application is accepted, you’ll sign the B Corp Agreement and pay your annual fee. Your membership entitles you to fly the B Corp flag and attend community events and working groups.
- You’ll need to recertify your B Corp membership every three years.