How B Corp Certification Empowers Businesses to Measure Impact and Protect the Planet

This Earth Day, B Lab reflects on businesses' role in addressing the enormous environmental challenges of today. With B Lab's standards for B Corp Certification evolving, B Lab and B Corps remain at the forefront of tackling growing threats to the planet and people heads-on. Earth Day is not only an opportunity to celebrate our planet but also to showcase an ongoing commitment to environmental leadership and sustainability.
Encuentro B - Sistema B Gathering in Monterrey, Mexico in 2023

What does Earth Day mean in the business world? 


For the global community of more than 8,500 Certified B Corps, Earth Day is a call to action, a reminder of our shared duty to safeguard the planet. For these businesses, Earth Day is not merely a symbolic date but an opportunity to showcase an ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability.

Central to this effort is the pivotal role played by B Lab. By setting rigorous standards, we empower companies to assess and improve their social and environmental performance, fostering a culture of accountability, transparency, and continuous improvement. As the urgency of the climate crisis grows, B Lab remains at the forefront, refining its standards for B Corp Certification to address evolving environmental challenges head-on.

Navigating the Climate Emergency: Impact Management for Companies


Businesses today require comprehensive, credible, and comparable standards to facilitate transformative shifts in economic systems. The B Impact Assessment, used by more than 150,000 businesses, is a free, digital tool that enables them to measure, manage, and improve their positive impact across various aspects, including the environment, communities, customers, suppliers, employees, and shareholders. Filling out the B Impact Assessment is the first step towards B Corp Certification.

B Impact Assessment Users (Photo by B Lab)

B Impact Assessment Users (Photo by B Lab)

B Corp Certification is designed to help businesses meet high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency across various factors, from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials. In the community, the highest-performing B Corps set the benchmark and inspire others to follow suit. Moreover, maintaining certification through the use of the B Impact Assessment as an impact improvement tool empowers companies to continuously improve their social and environmental performance, contributing to the collective effort of reshaping economic systems to benefit all stakeholders.

Adapting Business Sustainability Standards to Meet Modern Challenges


As we hold Certified B Corporations accountable to a standard of continuous improvement, B Lab remains committed to the constant evolution and adaptation of these standards. On this journey, B Lab actively seeks and incorporates valuable stakeholder feedback to respond to the dynamic shifts in both business and political spheres and recognize the pressing urgency of the social and environmental challenges we face. 

After three years of stakeholder engagement and consultation, B Lab is refining and finalizing the latest draft standards to ensure they are clear, attainable, and impactful for today’s business context. While current standards already address a broad variety of environmental practices, the proposed drafts place greater emphasis on the hierarchy of these practices in terms of positive impact.

Clay Brown

We want to stand, head high and proud, that these standards are addressing the most important challenges of our time. It’s not OK for businesses not to address living within planetary boundaries, human rights, climate action; it’s no longer acceptable not to have this as part of our movement.

Clay Brown shared that as B Lab, Interim Lead Executive & B Lab Global Head of Standards, Certification, & Product Delivery

A business’s impact is extensive. It is essential that companies identify the impact on all stakeholders and improve it over time. The proposed Core Impact Topics in the latest draft standards set a specific level of impact management commitment for all companies across: Purpose & Stakeholder Governance, Human Rights, Climate Action, Fair Wages, Environmental Stewardship & Circularity, Workplace Culture, Government Affairs & Collective Action, and Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion.

Clay Brown from B Lab talking about the evolving standards for B Corp Certification at the Assembly 2024 (Photo by B Lab Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand)

Clay Brown from B Lab talking about the evolving standards for B Corp Certification at the Assembly 2024 (Photo by B Lab Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand)

With global temperatures on the rise, 2023 was projected to be the hottest year on record, emphasizing the escalating urgency of the climate crisis. Tackling this crisis transcends moral obligation; it’s now a critical business imperative. Within B Corp Certification, the Climate Action Impact Topic aims to catalyze meaningful action by establishing science-based targets, prioritizing decarbonization, ensuring alignment with public policies, and advocating for a just transition. Our overarching expectation of this impact topic is that B Corps take action in accordance with science to combat climate change and its impacts. 


With the introduction of new regulations like the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive in the European Union and the emergence of voluntary initiatives such as the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures and the Science Based Targets Network, there is a growing expectation for companies to understand their impacts on nature and take proactive measures comprehensively. In line with this trend, proposed updates to the standards for B Corp Certification mandate that companies conduct thorough assessments of their operations and value chain to pinpoint significant environmental impact areas. This requirement forms a cornerstone of the Environmental Stewardship & Circularity Impact Topic.

Environmental Business Leadership Beyond Earth Day


As businesses become more aware of environmental issues, it is clear that nature is a crucial part of corporate responsibility, not just reserved for Earth Day. The proposed updates to B Corp Certification standards align with this evolving landscape, emphasizing the importance of conducting comprehensive assessments to drive environmental stewardship and circularity. By integrating these measures into their operations, companies can not only enhance their transparency but also contribute to the collective effort of safeguarding our planet for today’s and future generations.