Being a B Corp is not a one-time recognition. It’s an ongoing commitment toward continuous improvement. If you’re a company looking to improve your social and environmental performance, how do you know if you are on the right track? One of the key moments for a Certified B Corporation is the recertification, where every three years, a company is required to verify its most recent performance and obtain a new B Impact Score.
This improvement is reflected in our latest data on recertification in Europe. B Corps increased their score on average by 8.41% with their most recent recertification. Those who have undergone their first recertification between 2020 and 2022 improved their score even more, with a 13.3% increase. This trend highlights the notable advancements made by our community toward improving sustainability practices.
Beyond operations, companies are also finding ways to transform their business models meaningfully. Looking into Impact Business Model (IBM) points and the changes between the certifications among the IBM topics, we noticed that when pursuing recertification, around 40% of B Corps in Europe introduced at least one new IBM they didn’t have in their previous certification. Furthermore, on average, all companies improve their IBM score by a staggering 22.15%.
The recertification process is truly a learning experience. As the BIA evolves and the certification becomes more demanding, B Corps might experience a different approach to certification than the first or latest cycle for different reasons. Recertifying your company is not only your opportunity to shine and show the progress of your impact improvement journey but also to be transparent on what went wrong and mistakes made along the way and acknowledge where your company still has room for improvement. The beauty of the B Corp certification is that it gives three years to keep working in between cycles.
The best way to recertify is to actively use the B Impact Assessment throughout the years between cycles as a framework to inspire and track improvements. Challenge your company to go beyond your previous results and find new ways to make an impact. This is important as the BIA is updated every three years to stay relevant to evolving best practices in social and environmental standards.
Start the process at least a year before your recertification due date. Don’t underestimate the amount of work needed. Start with the basics, such as logging into your BIA, generating a new assessment by completing the fiscal year-end update, and updating your company’s details. Then review your Impact Business Models (IBMs) and score. Gather documentation and add public comments to any questions you want to review with your analyst. Submit the Assessment 1 month before the due date! Do you want to be sure to go over all the steps? Check out the one-pager checklist!
To be eligible for recertification, your business must be in good standing. Have you paid all your outstanding annual fees, submitted an updated B Impact Assessment before the recertification date, completed the legal requirement, and responded to all requests for documentation? If you have received requests for any of these items, please get in touch to ensure your certification remains active.
Since being introduced in 2007, the B Impact Assessment has been updated several times to improve the clarity, consistency, and insight of the assessment and its scoring, stay up to date with best practices and innovations in impact measurement, reflect the role business should play in addressing our world’s social and environmental challenges, and accommodate ongoing user and stakeholder feedback. B Lab is also reviewing the overall performance requirements for B Corp Certification, which you can find out more about here.
Have any major changes to your business, such as an acquisition, a change of ownership or corporate structure, a new brand, or operations in a new country, happened to your business? These can affect your assessment and might change the certification track from the previous certification. Falling into a different approach can also mean your score might be affected. Check the new complex structure page to understand better how changes in your organization can impact the recertification.