In the business world, a common belief often suggests that a choice must be made between prioritising profits or positively impacting the planet. However, it’s not about choosing one or the other but embracing a “both/and” approach.
That’s where B Corp comes into play—a practical framework for businesses to achieve financial success and meaningful societal impact.
What is B Corp Certification?
B Corp certification is increasingly favoured by companies aspiring to make a positive impact beyond shareholder interests. This esteemed certification, recognised for its stringent sustainability standards, evaluates a company’s social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability.
Certified B Corp status signifies a company’s dedication to holistic corporate responsibility, aligning with a broader trend of businesses prioritising values alongside financial success. The challenging nature of the certification process is evident in the high entry requirements and low success rate, reflecting a rigorous evaluation of ethical business practices. The certification symbolises a company’s genuine commitment to positively impacting society and the environment, showcasing a global shift toward responsible and values-driven business practices.
The B Corp Standards
The certification is built on top-notch social and environmental responsibility standards, emphasising the need for continuous improvement to uphold principles like inclusivity, independence, and credibility. These standards, crafted according to the best practices in the field and shaped by feedback from those involved, have been consistently refined since its establishment in 2006.
Oversight of the B Impact Assessment and these standards is handled independently by the Standards Advisory Council and Board of Directors, with valuable insights from external stakeholders and various working groups. This ensures that the certification remains robust, transparent, and aligned with the evolving expectations of all those invested in the process.
How to Obtain the B Corp Status?
To meet the criteria for the certification process, a company must consider the following:
- Certification Threshold: Companies aiming for B Corp certification must attain a score of 80 or higher on the B Impact Assessment.
- Stringent Requirement: This high score is achieved by less than 3% of companies in 2022, underscoring the challenging nature of the certification process.
- Comprehensive Audit: The certification journey involves a meticulous 14-month audit, rigorously examining a company’s practices and performance.
- Substantial Evidence: Emphasis is placed on providing substantial evidence, ensuring that companies don’t merely adhere to policies but showcase tangible social and environmental outcomes.
- Real-World Impact: The commitment to real-world positive contributions is reinforced, focusing on actions and measurable results rather than just stated intentions.
The Impact of B Corp Certification on the Essential Oils Industry
In the world of essential oils, the connection between B Corp certification and products such as mānuka oil goes beyond mere quality standards. When a company that deals with crucial oils achieves B Corp certification, it signifies a more profound commitment to ethical and sustainable practices. This certification ensures that the production of oils, including mānuka, follows stringent guidelines related to social responsibility, environmental impact, and overall accountability.
From sourcing ingredients in an environmentally friendly manner to prioritising fair treatment of workers, B Corp-certified companies in the essential oils industry, including those dealing with mānuka oil, demonstrate a holistic dedication to responsible business practices.
What are the 5 Key Impact Areas of B Corp Certification?
B Corp certification evaluates companies across various impact areas, assessing their social and environmental responsibility commitment. The five key impact areas of B Corp certification are:
- Governance: This area examines a company’s commitment to transparent and ethical business practices. It assesses the company’s corporate governance structure, decision-making processes, and transparency in operations.
- Workers: B Corp evaluates how a company treats its employees, considering factors such as fair wages, benefits, work-life balance, and employee engagement. Companies are assessed on creating a positive and inclusive workplace culture.
- Community: This impact area assesses a company’s relationship with its contribution to the communities in which it operates. It looks at the company’s community engagement, support for local initiatives, and efforts to impact the social fabric of its surroundings positively.
- Environment: B Corp certification scrutinises a company’s environmental footprint and practices. This includes assessing the company’s resource usage, waste management, energy efficiency, and commitment to sustainable and eco-friendly operations.
- Customers: B Corp evaluates how a company interacts with its customers, assessing factors such as product or service transparency, customer education, and whether the company is providing goods or services that have a positive impact on society and the environment.
Why Are Companies Becoming B Corporations?
The B Corp certification, awarded by the nonprofit B Lab, signifies that a company meets rigorous performance, accountability, and transparency standards. Due to this, companies are increasingly choosing to become B Corporations due to the following reasons:
- Emphasis on Social and Environmental Responsibility: Companies opt for B Corp status due to an increasing focus on ethical and sustainable practices.
- Rigorous Certification Standards: The B Corp certification, granted by B Lab, signifies adherence to strict standards in performance, accountability, and transparency.
- Visible Commitment to Ethics: B Corp status becomes a visible commitment to ethical business practices in an era where consumers prioritise the impact of their purchases.
- Alignment with Stakeholder Expectations: Becoming a B Corporation meets the expectations of customers, employees, and investors who seek businesses prioritising profits and social and environmental considerations.
- Structured Framework for Dedication: The certification provides a structured framework for companies to showcase their dedication to sustainability, fair labour practices, and community engagement.
- Part of a Global Movement: B Corp contributes to a global movement redefining business success, emphasising positive contributions to society and the planet alongside financial performance.
What is the Recertification Process for Certified B Corps?
Renewing as a Certified B Corp involves a necessary step every three years: updating the B Impact Assessment (BIA) and confirming the updated B Impact score. This isn’t just a routine process; recertification is required following any change in company ownership or an Initial Public Offering (IPO). Submitting the updated B Impact Assessment by the due date is crucial for those in the recertification phase, as indicated on the B Impact Assessment platform’s Dashboard.
To ensure a smooth journey through recertification, it’s advisable to kick off the process early – up to six months before the due date.