What is B Corp?
The B Corp community is a global movement of businesses that provide
leadership by demonstrating their commitment to people and the planet.
To become a certified B Corporation, a company must fill in the B Impact Assessment (a free online tool), reach a minimum score of 80 points and have that score verified by B Lab. B Lab is the non-profit network behind B Corp which has a global standards team.

As well as having a minimum score in the assessment, a company must also adopt a legal structure committing the company to consider the impact of their decisions on all stakeholders.

The B Impact Assessment (or BIA) covers five impact areas: Governance, Workers, Community, Environment and Customers. There is also an unscored Disclosure Questionnaire which offers the company a chance to disclose any negative impacts they have or do still cause. Once a company is certified as a B Corp they must recertify every three years and demonstrate continuous improvement. The assessment itself is updated periodically. We expect to see the next evolution of the BIA go live in late 2024.

Why would you want to be B Corp Certified?

Many companies want to make public claims about their sustainability. Trust is often built using certifications for products, such as Fair Trade or Organic, or for processes, such as ISO 90001.

There are very few certifications that look at the business holistically and whether the company considers its impact on people and the environment as part of their “business-as-usual”.

This is where B Corp certification comes in. Its tagline, ‘using business as a force for good’ appeals to customers and prospective employees alike, and investors value an independently verified review of the company's policies and procedures.

A recent B Lab survey revealed that the mean average headcount growth between 2018 and 2021 for B Corps was 14% vs the average for all companies of 1%.
The same study also suggested that B Corps were more successful in securing equity finance with 70% securing the required amount vs 56% of the wider population.
For companies that are less concerned about obtaining the certification itself, the BIA still provides a free and robust framework to benchmark current performance and also as a tool to create an improvement pathway.

Those that have already been B Corp certified for many years will say that the community is one of the main benefits. Collaborations, events, best practice sharing initiatives and industry working groups are some of the activities that are available to B Corps across the world.
How can LUME help you with your B Corp journey?
Our clients recognise that LUME equips their people with the life long skills to better understand and manage their mind, emotions and behaviours, resulting in:
Supplementary Health Benefits
Some companies, particularly startups or companies in countries with excellent public healthcare, may not score points in this question due to a lack of private healthcare, dental or insurance options for all employees. Offering LUME to your full-time employees could reasonably be counted as a supplementary health benefit under the BIA’s ‘other’ option to obtain a portion of the question’s available points. For additional points extend this benefit to all employees (including part-timers) from time of hire!
Health and Wellness Initiatives
As opposed to the supplementary health benefits points mentioned above, which can be tricky to secure, LUME is a perfect example of an initiative that counts for this question. The LUME Mental Fitness Program will not only help create positive mental health practices on an individual level, but it will also benefit your teams and company as a whole. It also makes it easy to track and demonstrate that you are encouraging health and wellness activities during the workweek, not just ticking boxes.
Life Skill Training Participation
Looking to expand your development opportunities for employees beyond professional training? LUME offers modules that cover life skills such as active listening, stress management, setting boundaries and reducing anxiety levels. The BIA asks what % of your team took part in training for their personal development and looking at your mental fitness is a great place to start, and all tracked within LUME.
If your company is using LUME in any of the ways above you should see benefits not only within your team but also in your B Corp score*
*The final decisions about evidence provided for individual questions lie with the B Lab verification analyst assigned to you. Unless clearly stated in the BIA what the requirements for a question are, the analyst can use their own judgement whether to award credit for a company’s initiative.
Common Mistakes Companies Make Getting Certified
One of the features of B Corp certification is that the standards do not vary a great deal from industry to industry.
Although this means that there can be some interpretation of the questions to adapt to the context of the business, there are also some common rules to watch out for:
Your policies are only for part of your workforce
Unless the question or additional guidance says otherwise, you should assume that the answer you have selected in relation to your team (think benefits, policies, programmes) needs to be available for at least 80% of your staff. For example, if you have a great maternity policy in the UK but it is not available for you US staff, then apply the 80% rule to see if you should be awarded credit.
You are using old data
Collecting data around topics like training participation, wellness programmes, volunteering, recycling, water etc, can be time consuming but is a necessity for B Corp certification. If you have collected the data as a one off exercise you might find yourself scrambling during verification to find data for the last 12 months. Embed your data gathering process into your schedule so that you are regularly refreshing it. Not only will this speed up verification but it will reduce your chances of seeing a points loss close to the finish line.
Your company has a great attitude to sustainability so you don’t need policies
Although it is great when any company acts ethically without prompting or rules, only a very small minority of questions will be verified based on stories of impact from the business. The vast majority of answers need to be backed up with formal written policies and procedures as well as documented results. The good news is that turning your existing good practices into policies should be quick and easy, and will make onboarding new team members more streamlined!

Useful Tips & Resources

You might have spotted this already in the Common Mistakes, but document everything! Keep a log of your training programmes, your deliberations about new suppliers, your board meeting agendas that mention sustainability… all of it will come in useful in future.

If you want more information about documentation, evidence or on more specific topics within the BIA, then check out the Knowledge Base which can be found in the footer of the BIA website. B Lab has also released a set of free introductory videos about B Corp and getting certified which you can find here.

If what you need is a more hands on guide to take you through the BIA, then reach out to a B Leader. A B Leader is someone outside of B Lab who has taken part in the official B Lab training programme designed to help companies navigate certification.

Want Help Getting B Corp Certified?

Laura Matz is an experienced B Leader who has helped micro-businesses, SMEs and large multinational companies become B Corp certified.

She guides her clients through the creation of sustainability strategies, environmental management systems, impact reporting frameworks and more. Laura’s goal is to advise companies in a way that empowers them to own that process in the future while injecting some fun into sustainability!

If you would like to chat about project management support, baselining your BIA score and/or targeted improvements to get ready for certification, please reach out on LinkedIn or via email info@lauramatz.co.uk