B Corp Continues to Raise the Bar
The latest version of B Impact Assessment ups the ante on triple-bottom-line performance
Can business be a force for good? At Synergy, we certainly think so! And so do the roughly 2,655 B Corps around the world.
B Corps are companies that have been certified to a high level of triple-bottom-line performance. This growing group of business leaders includes some names you might recognize (Ben & Jerry’s, anyone?).
B Corp’s vision is “to have all companies measure and manage their social and environmental impact with as much rigor as their profits.”
In this spirit, B Corps regularly complete the B Impact Assessment, an online questionnaire that measures social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. With the launch of Version 6 of this assessment tool, questions are much more difficult and comprehensive. The bar has officially been raised!
According to B Lab, the non-profit which administers the B Corp certification, the online assessment tool is updated every three years to keep up with evolving best practices and to encourage continual improvement among B Corps. It’s also an opportunity to make the tool more accessible and user friendly.
In Version 6, roughly 36% of the questions have been changed, some sub-categories have been rejigged and a new category for Customer Stewardship has been added. In general, the new version is more customize-able, adapting questions to reflect the business’s size and industry.
The Workers category now includes more detailed and quantitative questions about inclusive workplace practices, diversity and equity. Businesses who employ many independent sub-contractors will now have to answer additional questions about these relationships in this category.
In the Environment category, sub-categories have shifted away from operations (e.g. Land, Office & Plant) towards desired outcomes (Land & Life, Air & Climate) to better align with the terminology and approach found in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Questions concerning the supply chain now take a broader, life-cycle approach, providing points for managing environmental impact beyond tier one suppliers.
A new category entitled Customer Stewardship will apply to all companies. This covers a company’s performance in terms of quality assurance, warranties, advertising, use of customer data and privacy.
In Version 6, a new Impact Business Model (IBM) has been created for Resource Conservation. According to B Lab, this IBM “will explicitly capture products that are designed to be “GHG minimizing” products along with energy efficient and other environmentally efficient products”. At Synergy, we loved this update!
Making the Switch
All businesses with an active B Impact Assessment prior to January 15th – but who have not yet begun the certification process – will have until April 15th, 2019 to submit an old version of the Impact Assessment for review. All assessments that have not been submitted at that time will be automatically transferred over to Version 6.
If you have any questions about how this will impact your business or your assessment, don’t hesitate to reach out to your Synergy Project Manager!
 Impact Business Models (IBM) give additional points for companies who’s core mission or operating structure have been designed for social impact. For example, companies that are co-operatives will have an additional set of questions to answer around their co-op model.