In recent years, the B Corp movement has grown at an unprecedented rate. In 2022, the B Corp community grew by 63%, with over 2,000 B Corps in Europe (including UK) and over 6,000 around the globe. Last year alone, over 13,000 companies started using the B Impact Assessment.
As more and more businesses are seeking ways to measure and improve their impact and join our global community, this extraordinary demand also creates strains in our certification processes, increasing the waiting time for companies to certify.
Our teams have been committed to exploring various solutions to address these challenges and continue to scale our collective impact. Two years ago, B Lab Europe introduced the evaluation phase in the certification process. This helps review a company’s application before they enter the verification phase to ensure they are on the right track based on the company’s structure and size and flag any controversial industries to improve the process down the line. In 2021, our first Evaluation Analysts were hired in house.
While there’s been a significant improvement in the certification process, we are still not as agile as we would like to be – so last year B Lab Europe began exploring outsourcing part of the evaluations to independent third-party contractors, and now are proud to announce a new partnership with Seismic to increase our evaluation capacity and decrease our wait times, while maintaining the rigor of certification.
The Seismic team already has in-depth knowledge of the B Impact Assessment, the certification process and B Lab’s Standards. Their analysts will undergo 5 weeks of intensive training, followed by three weeks of mentoring before the partnership officially goes into effect at the start of April.
As B Lab Europe continues to explore ways to improve the certification process, making it more efficient, sustainable and scalable while maintaining its integrity, we look forward to supporting more companies on their journey of continuous improvement to benefit all people, communities and the planet.
B Lab Europe created an RfP process, with an open application for Evaluation Analysts as independent contractors where B Lab Europe received several interested proposals. This resulted in conversations around partnership opportunities which were discussed with a few applicants, and ultimately Seismic were selected for their extensive experience and concrete proposal.
Seismic team members providing companies evaluation services will not proactively engage with the company or any of its representatives and vice versa – analysts who support a company in their certification journey will not be evaluating the same company. There will be two distinctly separate departments, as per contract, which also includes a signed declaration of confidentiality.
Seismic’s analysts are responsible for conducting evaluation, the first phase of the certification process. Analysts will undergo five weeks of extensive training using the same materials to train our in-house analysts, followed by a period of mentoring with B Lab Europe’s expert analysts. Once the evaluation phase is complete, companies will then begin the verification process with B Lab’s analysts.
This is not the first partnership to address the demand for certification – in 2022, B Lab announced a partnership with Genashtim to improve it’s verification capacity, and the organization will continue to explore ways to improve our processes to meet the demands for certification.
Evaluation is the initial screen – a step introduced to the certification process two years ago to ensure more quality submissions into the Certification & Verification team. Every company regardless of size needs to be evaluated to ensure they are on the correct certification track based on their company’s size, structure and complexity, flag any controversial industries, check legal requirements and impact business models.
Yes. Once the partnership is in effect in April after the training period, we expect to begin seeing a reduction in wait times and an increase in our ability to certify companies.