So have made the decision to start, develop, and operate a B-Corp. Great! Where do you start? There is so much information swirling around how to start a B-Corp, how do determine the degree of certification that is right for your B-Corp, what needs to be accomplished once you B-Corporation is established, and so much more.
For starters, need to understand the true value of what you are trying to accomplish. The B-Corp is a valiant form of business in which business owners look outside of themselves and into the world around them to see where improvement is attainable. This improvement is usually concentrated in the social and environmental space, where there are significant disparities in different sects of the population as well as all kinds of massive degradation in important parts of our environment. To maintain your B-Corp’s mission, social and environmental improvement are vital at every stage of business development.
Certification is an important part of becoming a B-Corp. If you choose to become certified, there is a process in which this is accomplished. You are going to have to achieve a minimum score of 80 out of 200 on the “Social and Environment Performance Assessment,” an overall test administered by the non-profit organization called B Lab. This organization oversees the workings of B-Corps to ensure that they are meeting the standards of true social awareness and environmental impact, not simply operating a business with loosely associated values.
Once certification is achieved, you will have the opportunity to disclose any outstanding fines, legal action taken against your business, any sensitive business practices, or anything else that may be considered a “red flag” to B Lab. This disclosure does not affect your standing with B Lab but the process is instituted as a way to ensure one of B Lab’s most important values; transparency.
When your business is up and running, you will need make sure that you are monitoring your performance in the social or environmental space and that you are creating measurable data. This performance data will need to be formulated into a report that conveys the goals set by the business, what the business was able to achieve, and forms a true perspective of what the business has tangibly done to bring about change in society and in the environment. If you are a Certified B-Corp, then this report will need to be formed every two years and review by B Lab every for certification renewal. If you are not certified, then there is no official monitoring system in place to analyze report, but you will be required to produce a report.
B Lab is on your side every step of the way. The organization truly wants to see all B-Corps achieve great outcomes and will do anything it can to help. B Lab offers resources such as marketing plans, networking opportunities, links to investors and other financial parties, and so much more that can be utilized by B-Corps to promote their cause.
Running a B-Corp gives you a true sense of purpose in the business sector. So many other businesses operate for profit and the financial advancement of the owners and the high level decision-makers. While there is a financial component involved in B-Corps, there is a much more global outlook that helps these businesses make a difference in this world.