Last updated on:

Sustainability B Corp: What is it and the Steps to Becoming One

Reconciling the economic sustainability of your company with ethics, achieving a positive impact on your internal organization, society, and the environment: these are the goals of a B Corp.

B Corporations are companies that have decided to embrace more circular and inclusive production models without sacrificing economic sustainability.

But what does it mean to be a B Corp? What advantages does it bring? How can a company obtain certification? Let’s find out together.

What is B Corp Certification?

B Corp certification identifies organizations that, in addition to pursuing economic profit goals, also meet the highest standards of environmental protection and social equity.

The certification is issued by the US non-profit organization B Lab, and it is a statement of a company’s commitment to environmental and social issues.

The process to obtain it is not trivial: it starts with completing a Business Impact Assessment (BIA), a questionnaire that assesses the company’s commitment on five relevant dimensions:

  • People: it measures the company’s contribution to the well-being of its employees and collaborators, examining compensation, benefits, and opportunities for training and personal development.
  • Governance: it measures the company’s overall mission, the importance of corporate ethics and transparency, and the ability to integrate business decisions with social and environmental impact assessments.
  • Community: it measures the company’s commitment to the community, with questions on diversity and inclusion.
  • Environment: it measures the company’s overall environmental management, examining the energy efficiency of buildings, resource use and consumption, and emissions.
  • Customers: it measures the impact of products and services on end customers.

If the final result of the self-assessment questionnaire is at least 80 points out of 200, the company may start the validation process.

At this stage, the B-Corp applicant will have to produce supporting documents to prove what was stated in the questionnaire. After further verification of the documentation provided, B Lab will decide whether or not to grant certification. Once obtained, in order to maintain it, companies must undergo a periodic evaluation of their performance and keep their evaluation score within certain ranges.

Why Become a B Corp?

Becoming a B Corp is a challenging choice because it implies a radical change in many respects, especially on a cultural and strategic level. It is a decision, however, that can bring great benefits to the company itself.

Becoming a B Corp can lead not only to a greater awareness of the company’s mission and values, but also to benefits in terms of business and productivity (read more now), allowing companies to differentiate themselves in the market and improve their economic performance. A B Corp can also build trust with consumers, communities, and suppliers, attract investors, and retain employees. Moreover, since they have to undergo the verification process every three years to be recertified, B Corps are by definition also focused on continuous improvement, which leads to their long-term resilience.

Becoming a B Corp implies a strong commitment to generate positive value for all stakeholders through its activities, as well as a willingness to establish an open and transparent relationship with the world. Conduct in line with these requirements also has a positive impact on corporate image and brand reputation, especially among consumers. Indeed, in recent years, sustainability and brand perception has become increasingly important in purchasing decisions. Millennials and Generation Z, in particular, are the most sensitive consumers in this respect, so much so that they are willing to pay even 30% more to buy sustainable products.

Conclusion

Becoming B Corp is a strategic choice, not only for the present but also for the future.

Do you want to become a B Corp but don’t know where to start? Discover AWorld and its engagement programs: we work to activate your employees as a key part of your sustainability transition. Implementing an environmentally conscious corporate policy is the first step for becoming a B Corp.

Want to learn more about AWorld?