B Corps are certified businesses which balance profit with environmental and social good
What is B Corp?
The concept of B Corp came about in 2006 after one the co-founders of the movement, Jay Coen Gilbert realised the power of business to make an impact on the world.
Having seen the wide stakeholder benefits of running a company that aimed to balance purpose and profit he was keen to see how a movement of businesses with this aim could be created.
This idea would mature into the notion of B Corporations, where the B stands for “benefit.”
Certified B Corps are a new form of business that seek to balance purpose and profit. This means that rather than solely focusing on profit maximisation, they consider the impact of their operations on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment.
B Corps are leaders of a global movement of business as a force for good. They meet verified higher levels of:
1. Social and environmental performance
The B Corp Moment?
The B Corp movement has met it’s moment. There are now over 4000 B Corps around the world, with 48 in Aotearoa. Australia/New Zealand is one of the world’s fastest growing regions for B Corp Certification. In 2020 the movement saw an increase of 25%.
This has been driven by two levels of factors. At the higher systemic level we are seeing more companies taking an active stance in matters relating to environmental and social challenges. Covid-19 has also added a layer of existential questioning. If your business wasn’t able to operate during a lockdown then how essential is it to humanity?
At the lower level businesses need 4 main groups of humans and they are all demanding that business steps up to do more. Customers, employees, suppliers and investors all want business to prove that they are doing their fair share to make the world a better place.
How Does It Work?
To get B Corp Certified you need to take an initial self-assessment, called the B Impact Assessment or BIA. This measures your business performance across the five pillars or sections shown below, as well as answering the disclosure questions.
Once you have met the threshold score of 80/200 you are eligible to submit your work and get it verified by one of the team at B Lab (the global non-profit body that runs the certification tool).
The BIA is a positive screening tool that measures your operational goodness, or in other words how much benefit are you creating for your stakeholders beyond just the owners and shareholders.
The typical journey to Certification looks something like this:
Beyond it being the right thing to do there are solid economic arguments for Certification.
The Grocer, a UK journal for consumer brands, reported in 2018 that average year-on-year growth across the 150 UK B Corps was 14% compared with 0.5% growth in GDP.
35% said they had attracted new customers since Certifying, while almost half (48%) found that prospective staff had been attracted to the business specifically because it was a B Corp.
And in the most recent B Lab impact report we have seen that B Corp’s are a resilient bunch:
The State Of The Kiwi B corp?
The Australia/New Zealand region is one of the fasting growing regions globally. In Aotearoa we currently have 48 B Corps, but we are on the cusp of major expansion in the movement.
In the last couple of months I have been working with around 20 companies to help them navigate the Certification journey, and earlier in the year I co-facilitated a series of workshops with NZTE that saw 43 Kiwi exporters take a deep dive into how B Corp could benefit them.
Need Some Help?
The B Corp Certification is hard to get but it is certainly attainable. However, it is common for people undertaking it to need some support. At Grow Good we specialise in helping teams just like yours to navigate the B Corp Impact Assessment so that they can maximise their score and get Certified more quickly. We typically work with people that:
- Have started the Assessment but have got overwhelmed or just run out of steam;
- Haven’t started the Assessment but want to complete it as quickly and efficiently as possible;
- Have completed the Assessment but want to check their work and make sure that they have answered all the questions correctly;
Essentially, they all want someone who can help them get Certified more easily and quickly. Someone who will guide them step-by-step through the Certification process. Someone who will be there to help them until they’ve pressed submit and have the B Corp Certificate hanging proudly on their wall.
If you are interested in learning more about B Corp then you can check out our free e-book “To B Or Not To B – The What, Why and How Of B Corp Certification” here.
You can also check out this epic customer story of how we supported Jeuneora on their B Corp journey here.
To get started on B Impact Assessment just go to here and away you go!
If you’d like to talk to us about how we might be able to work together on something epic then just book a call here.
About the contributor
Tim Jones is NZ’s most experienced B Corp consultant helping large and small companies to become certified. His passion to “Grow Good businesses makes him an engaging speaker as he takes teams or boards or even solo operators on a journey of running a B corp business.