How does the certification compare to other standards

Positive impact is supported by transparency and accountability requirements. B Corp Certification doesn’t just prove where your company excels now—it commits you to consider stakeholder impact for the long term by building it into your company’s legal structure.

man looking at graphs and charts on a laptop

What makes the B Corp certification unique?

Certifying as a B Corporation goes beyond product- or service-level certification. B Corp Certification is one of the few certifications that measures a company’s holistic social and environmental performance. The B Impact Assessment (BIA) evaluates how your company’s operations and business model impact your workers, community, environment, and customers. From your supply chain and input materials to your governance and employee policies and benefits, B Corp Certification proves your business is meeting high standards of verified performance.

The B Impact Assessment (BIA) provides a comprehensive and objective measure of a business’s positive impact on society and the environment through a set of customized questions that reflect impact indicators, best practices, and outcomes. A company receives a composite score on a 200 point scale representative of its overall impact on its employees, communities, and the environment.

The BIA compared to other frameworks

As an impact measurement and management tool the B Impact Assessment partners with and complements a variety of different standards, certifications, and impact measurement frameworks. The table below provides a selection of the most significant frameworks that the B Impact Assessment is aligned with and complements that are well recognized and adopted both in a corporate and a social enterprise context, including how they compare to the B Impact Assessment and how they complement one another.

GRI – Global Reporting Initiative

GRI, the Global Reporting Initiative, is an international independent standards organization that helps businesses, governments and other organizations understand and communicate their impacts on issues such as climate change, human rights and corruption.

 

Both GRI and the B Impact Assessment can be used to develop sustainability reports, and meet statutory reporting requirements as third party standards for benefit corporations. The BIA, unlike GRI, provides not just a reporting framework for companies but an evaluation of the company’s performance.

 

Additionally, the BIA focuses on the positive impact of the company and includes standardized, comprehensive, metrics and indicators for a company to complement the open-ended aspects of the GRI reporting framework. Information collected for the purposes of a GRI report can be utilized to help complete the BIA, and vice versa.

  • Coverage: Stakeholder-Based
    Material Metrics

  • Purpose: Disclosure / Reporting

  • Use: Sustainability Reporting

SASB – Sustainability Accounting Standards Board

SASB is engaged in the creation and dissemination of sustainability accounting standards for use by publicly-listed corporations in disclosing material sustainability issues for the benefit of investors and the public.

 

SASB metrics are dependent upon the materiality of the metric to a company’s financial valuation, while the BIA is a comprehensive measure of a company’s social and environmental performance independent of market reactions. Furthermore, the BIA supplements SASB with performance evaluation in addition to disclosures. The B Impact Assessment is also designed for use by all companies as a measurement, management, and reporting tool.

 

With growing interest from large companies, B Lab has created a Multinational and Public Markets Advisory Council, including representation from SASB. B Lab has also partnered with SASB to offer SASB metrics to B Analytics subscribers as a supplement to the BIA.

  • Coverage: Industry Specific Financially Material Metrics

  • Purpose: Disclosure / Reporting

  • Use: Reporting in Financial Statements

DJSI – The Dow Jones Sustainability Indices

The Dow Jones Sustainability Indices serve as benchmarks for investors who integrate sustainability considerations into their portfolios and provide an effective engagement platform for companies who want to adopt sustainable best practices.

 

Similar to SASB, the DJSI focuses on the performance of publicly traded companies and is based on indicators that affect financial performance. The DJSI, like the BIA, provides an evaluation of performance but does not provide a transparent framework for reporting. The BIA supplements DJSI by providing a transparent evaluation and reporting mechanism for all-size companies.

  • Coverage: Comprehensive

  • Purpose: Evaluation

  • Use: Rating

CDP – Carbon Disclosure Project

The Carbon Disclosure Project is a non-profit organized focused on the reporting of transparency of corporate impacts on three primary environmental issues–Carbon, Water, and Forests. With the support of leading institutional investors, the Carbon Disclosure Project surveys the world’s largest corporations for their environmental data, for access by investors and other decision-makers. The Carbon Disclosure Project also offers scores for participating companies based on the level and quality of participation in the survey, although does not reflect performance relative to the material environmental issues themselves.

 

The B Impact Assessment can utilize data collected and reported through the Carbon Disclosure Corporate Standards In Depth Project. Furthermore, the BIA complements the Carbon Disclosure Project by including social indicators as well as practice-based educational indicators, which also provides an overall evaluation of a company’s performance.

  • Coverage: Environment

  • Purpose: Disclosure / Reporting

  • Use: CDP Database Reporting

Future Fit Business Benchmark

The Future-Fit Business Benchmark offers a set of performance criteria that describe a company that is fit for the future: one that will flourish while adding to the wellbeing of society as a whole.

 

Future Fit metrics provide a framework to identify companies that are truly sustainable, not contributing to social or environmental problems, through the use of science-based goals and targets. As a setting for true north, the BIA incorporates Future Fit indicators in the BIA, but also provides incremental points and indicators for companies that do not have the data, or the capability, of assessing true Future Fitness.

 

Future Fit indicators are incorporated into the BIA and a leader in the development of the Future Fit Benchmark is on B Lab’s Standards Advisory Council.

  • Coverage: Comprehensive

  • Purpose: Evaluation

  • Use: Rating

IRIS+ – Impact Reporting Investment Standards

IRIS, the Impact Reporting Investment Standards, is the catalog of generally-accepted performance metrics that leading impact investors use to measure the social, environmental, and financial performance of their investments, overseen by the Global Impact Investing Network.

 

IRIS metrics and definitions are incorporated in the BIA whenever possible in order to ease reporting for users and to ensure standardization. The BIA, as a supplement to IRIS, provides an evaluation of the performance of companies related to those metrics.

 

IRIS was initially developed in coordination with GIIRS Ratings, and IRIS team members serve on B Lab’s Standards Advisory Council, and vice versa.

  • Coverage: Comprehensive

  • Purpose: Impact Reporting

  • Use: Reporting

SROI – Social Value Principles

Social Value Principles is a management strategy focused on companies creating measurable business value by identifying and addressing social problems that intersect with their business. SROI is an approach to allow organizations to evaluate their outcomes in a communicable way.

 

The BIA has a formal partnership with Social Value International and incorporates Social Value principles, particularly in the Impact Business Models portion of the assessment, and recommends the use of SROI principles as a means of outcomes measurement to supplement the comprehensive practice-oriented evaluation of the BIA. Further information about the relationship between the B Impact Assessment methodology and the Principles of Social Value is forthcoming.

  • Coverage: Social Problems

  • Purpose: Impact Measurement and Management

  • Use: Management Strategy

Leading standards providers join forces

The Impact Management Platform is a resource center for businesses and investors that outlines the various sustainability standards and tools that exist, their purposes and intended audiences. This platform is a joint collaboration among standards organizations in the Impact Management Project, including B Lab, the GIIN, OECD, UNGC, World Benchmarking Alliance, and others.