Why B Corp Certification is Worth Pursuing for Your Small Business

February 20, 2024
8
minutes to read
by
Alice Surdy
Table of Contents

In recent years, there has been a growing movement towards business models that prioritise social and environmental impact alongside profits. One such model is the B Corp, a type of company that meets rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Becoming a Certified B Corp can help attract talent and result in partnerships with like-minded businesses. In this article, we'll provide detailed guidance on becoming a Certified B Corp, covering everything from the history and benefits of certification to how to maintain your B Corp status. Whether you're just starting your journey or looking to take your existing practices to the next level, this guide will provide the information and resources you need to become a thriving B Corp.

What is a B Corp? 

B Corp, or Benefit Corporation, is a type of company that meets rigorous social, transparency and environmental performance standards. B Corps are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on all stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, communities, and the environment. A B Corp entity stands in contrast to traditional corporations, which prioritise shareholder profits above all else. 

To become a Certified B Corp, a company must undergo a rigorous assessment process, which evaluates its performance across various criteria, including governance, workers, customers, community, and environment. The assessment is conducted by the non-profit organisation B Lab, which sets the standards for B Corp certification and provides support and resources for certified companies. 

B Corp certification is a mark of credibility and trust, demonstrating that a company has met high social and environmental performance standards and is committed to using business as a force for good. It can also give companies a competitive advantage, as consumers and investors increasingly prioritise companies that prioritise social and environmental responsibility.

B Corp Model

 

History of B Corp 

The B Corp movement began in 2006 when a group of entrepreneurs and investors came together to address the limitations of traditional corporate structures in addressing social and environmental issues. They envisioned a new type of company that would prioritise impact alongside profits and created the concept of the B Corp standards to measure such companies. 

The first B Corp AND1 was certified in 2007, and the movement has grown rapidly. Today, there are over 4,000 Certified B Corps in 77 countries across various industries and sectors. In addition to individual companies, the B Corp movement has also spurred the creation of legal frameworks for Benefit Corporations in over 30 US states and several countries, which provide legal recognition and protection for companies committed to social and environmental impact. 

The B Corp movement has also been instrumental in raising awareness of the potential for business to be a force for good. Due to this, the B Corp movement has inspired countless companies and individuals to embrace a more purpose-driven and impact-focused approach to business. 

 

How to Become a B Corp 

Becoming a Certified B Corp requires a commitment to meeting rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. The following steps can help guide your business through the certification process: 

  1. Assess your business: Start by taking the free B Impact Assessment, which will evaluate your business across a range of criteria, including governance, workers, customers, community, and environment. This assessment will help you identify areas where your business can improve and where you are already doing well. 
  2. Make improvements: Based on your assessment results, make a plan for improving your business's social and environmental performance. This may include changing your governance structure, improving your supply chain, or reducing your environmental impact. 
  3. Verify your performance: Once you have made improvements, you must provide evidence of your performance through documentation and third-party verification. This may include audits, employee surveys, and other forms of proof. 
  4. Submit your application: Once you have completed the assessment and verification process, you can submit your application for B Corp certification. B Lab will review your application, and you may be required to provide additional information or documentation. 
  5. Meet the legal requirements: If your business is incorporated in a state that recognises Benefit Corporations, you must also meet the legal requirements for that status. This may include adopting a specific governance structure or reporting requirements. 

Becoming a Certified B Corp can be challenging, but it's also an opportunity to join a global community of like-minded businesses. Many companies that complete a B Corp certification look back fondly on the improvements they have made to the business because of the assessment process. 

 

Why Becoming a B Corp is Popular 

Becoming a Certified B Corp has become increasingly popular in recent years, with businesses of all sizes and across all sectors seeking certification. There are several reasons why becoming a B Corp is a popular choice for businesses: 

  • Attracting customers and employees: Becoming a B Corp can be a powerful way to differentiate your business in a crowded market and attract customers looking for socially and environmentally responsible products and services. It can also help attract and retain employees passionate about making a positive impact in their work. 
  • Improving business practices: The B Corp certification process can help businesses identify areas where they can improve their social and environmental performance and provide a roadmap for making those improvements. This can lead to more robust, sustainable business practices that benefit the company, its stakeholders, and the wider community. 
  • Accessing networks and resources: B Corps are part of a global network of businesses committed to social and environmental impact. Becoming a B Corp can provide access to resources and networks to help companies to scale their impact and connect with like-minded organisations. 
  • Meeting investor and stakeholder expectations: Investors and other stakeholders are increasingly looking for businesses committed to positively impacting society and the environment. Becoming a B Corp can signal to these stakeholders that a business is committed to meeting these expectations and prioritising impact alongside profit. 

 

How to Maintain a B Corp Certification 

Maintaining your B Corp certification requires an ongoing commitment to social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Here are some steps you can take to keep your certification: 

  • Set annual goals: Each year, set goals for improving your business's social and environmental performance. These goals should be specific, measurable, and achievable and align with the B Corp assessment criteria. 
  • Monitor your performance: Regularly monitor your business's performance against your goals, using tools like the B Impact Assessment and third-party verification to ensure that you meet the required standards. 
  • Engage your stakeholders: Engage with your stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, and the wider community, to understand their expectations and incorporate their feedback into your business practices. 
  • Report on your impact: Report on your business's social and environmental impact, both internally and externally. This may include creating an annual impact report or publicly reporting your performance through the B Corp platform. 
  • Recertify every three years: B Corp certification is valid for three years, after which time you must recertify. To maintain your certificate, you must demonstrate that you are still meeting the required social and environmental performance standards, accountability, and transparency. 

By maintaining your B Corp certification, you continue demonstrating your commitment to social and environmental impact and access to the many benefits of being part of the B Corp community. 

 

When is B Corp Month? 

B Corp Month is an annual celebration of Certified B Corps and the B Corp movement. It takes place every year in March and provides an opportunity for businesses and individuals to learn more about the B Corp community, its impact, and its values. 

During B Corp Month, Certified B Corps host events, share stories and engage with their communities to raise awareness about the importance of using business as a force for good. The month is also an opportunity for businesses considering becoming a B Corp to learn more about the certification process and the benefits of being part of the B Corp community. 

   

How Can Thriday Assist with B Corp Certification? 

Thriday accounting software is an excellent tool for businesses looking to become Certified B Corps or maintain their certification. Here are some ways that Thriday accounting software can assist with B Corp: 

  • Automated reporting: Thriday's automated accounting software can streamline data collection and reporting, making tracking and reporting your social and environmental impact easier. 
  • Financial tracking: Thriday's all-in-one financial management platform can provide insights into your financial performance, helping you identify areas where you can improve your social and environmental impact. 
  • Benchmarking: Thriday's accounting software can help you compare your performance against other B Corps and industry benchmarks, providing insights into how you can improve your impact.  

By using Thriday accounting software, businesses can streamline their reporting, track their progress towards B Corp certification, and make data-driven decisions that support their social and environmental impact. Join Thriday for free today to start your B Corp journey. 

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B Corp FAQs 

What is the difference between a B Corp and a traditional corporation? 

A B Corp is a type of corporation committed to using business as a force for good. B Corps must meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency, while traditional corporations prioritise profit above all else. 

How do I become a B Corp? 

To become a B Corp, a business must undergo a certification process that assesses its social and environmental impact. The certification process involves completing an assessment, providing supporting documentation, and meeting a minimum score threshold. 

What are the benefits of becoming a B Corp? 

B Corps enjoy many benefits, including access to a community of like-minded businesses, increased brand recognition, and improved employee morale. B Corps also often report increased revenue growth and customer loyalty. 

How long does it take to become a B Corp? 

The time it takes to become a B Corp varies depending on the size and complexity of the business. Generally, the certification process for a new business can take 4-6 months; for larger or more mature companies, you are looking at 12 – 24 months. 

How often do B Corps need to recertify? 

B Corps must recertify every three years to maintain their certification. Recertification involves completing the assessment process again and meeting the minimum score threshold.  

Can any business become a B Corp? 

Any business can become a B Corp, including for-profit, non-profit, and public benefit corporations. However, the rigorous certification process requires companies to meet strict social and environmental performance standards. 

How is B Corp certification different from other sustainability certifications? 

B Corp certification is unique because it assesses a business's overall social and environmental impact rather than focusing on a specific product or service.

Becoming a B Corp is challenging, but with dedication and the right tools, businesses can achieve their social and environmental goals. Thriday accounting software is an excellent tool for businesses looking to become Certified B Corps or maintain their certification. By automating reporting, tracking metrics, ensuring compliance, and providing insights into financial and impact performance, Thriday accounting software can help businesses make data-driven decisions that support their social and environmental impact. 

If you want to become a B Corp, we encourage you to take the first step and begin the certification process. By doing so, you'll be joining a community of businesses committed to using business as a force for good and making a positive impact on the world.

DISCLAIMER: Team Thrive Pty Ltd ABN 15 637 676 496 (Thriday) is an authorised representative (No.1297601) of Regional Australia Bank ABN 21 087 650 360  AFSL 241167 (Regional Australia Bank).  Regional Australia Bank is the issuer of the transaction account and debit card available through Thriday. Any information provided by Thriday is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether Thriday is appropriate for you.

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