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Now more than ever, consumers are focusing more on sustainability and environmental impact. Likewise, demonstrating that your business is socially and environmentally conscious can have major benefits. One of the best ways to demonstrate you are an ethical company is to get B Corp certified. Indeed, there are more than 250 B Corps in Australia and 3,500 internationally obtaining the certification, including major brands like Patagonia and Aesop .

To help you understand B Corp certification, this article will take you through what a B Corp is, why you should consider getting certified and how you can obtain certification.

What Is a B Corp?

A B Corporation, also referred to as a B Corp, is a certification that for-profit businesses can obtain. This certification demonstrates that the business meets specific ethical standards. Importantly, B Corp businesses must balance profit with social accountability. Likewise, obtaining this certification requires a verified standard of elements, including:

  • transparency; 
  • environmental and social consciousness; and 
  • legal accountability.

Additionally, B Corp certificates are administered by B Lab, a not-for-profit organisation that analyses organisations’ overall impact. To be certified by B Lab, you must achieve a minimum score of 80 on the ‘B Impact Assessment’. To determine eligibility for B Corp status, the assessment examines a business’:

  • staff; 
  • consumers; 
  • community; and 
  • environmental impact.

Why Should I Set Up a B Corp?

If you are an ethical business with a core value and mission, a B Corp has a range of advantages. Not only will it measure your current state of impact and allow you to make improvements, but it will also protect your business’ mission and attract employees that share the same values.

Further, being registered as a B Corp can serve as an excellent marketing tool. Indeed, the combination of certification, transparency and accountability can ignite trust amongst consumers. 

Ethical consumers will recognise your B Corp status and be more inclined to associate with your business, feeling satisfied that a third party has verified your social and environmental standards. 

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How to Certify as a B Corp 

Getting certified as a B Corp is a long process, often taking more than a year. Some of the key stages in this process are as follows:

1. Impact Assessment

The first and main step to receiving certification as a B Corp is to complete the impact assessment. This involves responding to a series of questions about your company’s:

  • governance; 
  • employees; 
  • environmental impact; and 
  • community impact. 

You receive points depending on your responses to these questions. 

If you do not meet the minimum of 80 points, you will need to make changes to your business operations to meet this requirement. In addition, for transparency, you will need to publish your score on the B Corp directory.

A submission fee of US$150 applies to Australian businesses who submit their B Impact Assessment to begin the B Corp certification process. 

2. Meeting the Legal Requirement

Secondly, as a B Corp, you will need to meet specific legal requirements as part of your certification. These primarily relate to stakeholder governance. As a result, potential B Corps will need to adapt to these legal requirements by updating their company’s constitution to reflect these commitments. 

3. Verification

Thirdly, once you have submitted your assessment, your application will be placed in a queue. Next, it will be assigned an analyst who will evaluate your application. While waiting to be assigned an analyst, you can continue making changes to improve your score.

Once an analyst picks out your application for assessment, you will be requested to start uploading supporting documents for your assessment. In some instances, you may need to complete a review call. If you drop below the minimum 80 point requirement at this stage, you will receive more time to make necessary changes.

4. Certify

Fourthly, after an analyst has approved your application, a peer review will occur before certification is finalised. Following this, you will sign the B Corp agreement, pay your annual certification fee before officially being part of the community. 

To maintain your certification, you will have to update your assessment every three years, maintain the 80 point minimum requirement and provide new supporting evidence.

Key Takeaways

B Corp certification will ensure your business sticks to its sustainable values and mission, with suitably aligned customers following. To obtain B Corp certification, you will need to:

  • complete an impact assessment;
  • meet the legal requirement;
  • have your application verified; and
  • complete the certification.

If you need assistance achieving B Corp certification, LegalVision’s experienced business lawyers can help. You can contact them on 1300 544 755 or by filling out the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a B Corp?

A B Corp is a certification that for-profit businesses can obtain to demonstrate they meet specific ethical standards. B Corp businesses balance profit with social accountability, with certification requiring a verified standard of transparency, environmental and social consciousness and legal accountability.

How do I get B Corp certified?

To obtain B Corp certification, you will need to complete an impact assessment. Next, you must meet the legal requirement, including verifying your application. Following this, you can complete the certification.

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