Seeking a B Corp certification from B Lab continues to grow as an industry standard for any for-profit company with a social or environmental mission that cares about performance, accountability and transparency.
B Corp certification continues to grow as an industry standard for any for-profit company with a social or environmental mission. Tweet This Quote
I have been a proponent of the B Corp Certification since I was first introduced to it back in graduate school, which is why I was surprised when I joined the team at Unreasonable Group and realized the company was not yet a member of the “B Hive.” Though excited by the prospect of helping Unreasonable Group get certified, it was not until our friends at DOJO4 officially joined the network (and wrote this post about it), that we asked ourselves, “why have we not taken the leap?” Motivated by the dedication of our Boulder comrades, we jumped right in and have not looked back.
While I commend any and all seeking the certification, the process can be arduous and complicated; it’s not an obstacle-free stroll, but for good reason. Having earned certification for both Unreasonable Group and Unreasonable Media in the last two months, it’s a perfect time to share the best practices I garnered throughout the process in hopes that companies either amidst or considering embarking upon the assessment will find perspective and motivation to go for it.
Below are four surefire suggestions that you and your team can leverage to make applying for B Corp certification a successful breeze.
1. Take the B-Impact Assessment once as a run through
I took the test once just to get an overview of the assessment, what it included, and the extent of effort needed to complete it thoroughly. This is a tip B Lab offers themselves, but I found it incredibly helpful. I was able to maximize efficiency, capturing the entirety of the assessment right off the bat, and flag major sections as either questions to address with my colleagues or components which would need significant grunt work to compile data.
2. Leverage your team to access the right data
Keeping your entire team involved from start to finish instills a sense of investment from everyone to achieve B Corp certification. Tweet This Quote
One of the benefits of going through the entire assessment initially is that you can begin to jump over the most difficult hurdles in the most efficient manner. By knowing what I would need from my team to complete the certification, I was able to notify them as soon as possible and schedule time to work with each one of them to assure we had all of the materials we needed to answer each question thoroughly. Keeping your entire team involved from start to finish also helps instill a sense of investment from everyone to achieve certification. You will not feel as if you are attacking the project on your own.
3. Maintain continuity with your Standards Analyst
Your Standards Analyst is your primary B Lab contact throughout the assessment and certification. When considering the steps in the process, an essential element to keep in mind is that no matter how efficient your methods and processes are, at the end of the day, a timely certification is entirely contingent upon B Lab and their capacity to promptly schedule your assessment review. We were lucky that Unreasonable Group was able to schedule our review within a week of finishing the assessment; for Unreasonable Media, it took a month.
No matter how efficient you are, a timely certification is entirely contingent upon B Lab. Tweet This Quote
From the onset, communicate your desired timeline for certification. If you work well under pressure, schedule your review before you even finish the assessment. That way, you are sure to work efficiently, and the process is that much more succinct.
If there is one piece of advice absolutely essential to completing the certification in a timely manner it is to prioritize. This recommendation may seem like a no-brainer, but prior to diving into the process myself, I had heard horror stories about how long the process takes and how easily it can extend for months. Having ample time over three whole days to outline and prioritize the tasks needed to complete certification gave me a significant advantage.
The key to getting B Corp certified fast is to appoint one person to act as the leader of the process and have them prioritize it. Tweet This Quote
Many companies will adapt a “last hour of the day”, “work for the weekend” philosophy in prioritizing their certification. Understandably, if you have this mentality, days will turn into weeks, and weeks will turn into months. Appoint one person to actually take the assessment and act as a leader throughout the process. Sit down as a team and list out all internal data/documents and the people who will be able to provide those resources. Then, create a timeline for when you will have everything compiled and checked off of your assessment to-do list.
Becoming a B Corporation is not for everyone. But if you think it is a good fit for your company, take the test, and hopefully these tips will help along the way. Because of our prioritization, delegation and execution, we are now proudly part of a global network of nearly 1,500 companies aiming to unite impact and profit, positioning business as a force for good.