Restarting a Stalled Business Impact Assessment (BIA)

B Corp Certification journeys usually span 6 to 18 months, depending on a company’s size, complexity, and existing sustainability practices. It’s also a self-paced process. 

If you’ve already started the Business Impact Assessment (BIA) process but are not making much progress, or you have completely stalled, it’s understandable that you may feel frustrated and discouraged. The BIA is time-intensive, but it’s important to remember that it’s a crucial step in becoming a Certified B Corp. 

Small and medium-sized businesses often stall because of a lack of internal skills in ESG, or the team’s available capacity to complete the certification process. Larger complex businesses can stall for a wide variety of reasons, but often this is related to the specific skills needed to deeply understand the BIA and certification process including business improvements.

If you have stalled, to help move things along in the assessment stage, you can do the following: 

First, start with the ‘why’

When you and your team hit a roadblock on the BIA, it’s crucial to identify the underlying reasons to effectively address them. Here are four common hurdles that companies may encounter:

1. Overwhelming responsibility

In many cases, the responsibility for driving the BIA falls on one individual. In small businesses, this is often the CEO or owner. In medium-sized firms this can be a variety of job roles or at least a key decision-maker. This individual becomes a bottleneck, overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task. B Corp certification is difficult, as it should be, so having a single project lead for a project that needs a team is often a roadblock.

2. Additional workload

For employees assigned to the BIA alongside their regular responsibilities, maintaining momentum can be challenging. Enthusiasm might wane as the project becomes an added burden to their daily workload. 

3. Loss of key sponsorship

If the internal champion or sponsor advocating for B Corp Certification leaves the company, momentum can also falter. Without their advocacy, the initiative loses steam, impacting the organisation’s commitment to the process.

4. Struggling to meet point thresholds

Companies might feel discouraged if they perceive that their progress towards achieving the required 80 points for certification is inadequate. This perceived gap can lead to a sense of disheartenment, further stalling the process. With certification requiring 80 (out of a possible 200) points, most organisations score about 40-50 points on their very first pass of the BIA. This is normal but can quickly dampen enthusiasm and push it into the too-hard basket.

Second, apply these strategies 

You can overcome these hurdles with strategic interventions, such as:

1. Reflect on organisational purpose

Reignite discussions around your organisation’s purpose and the value you aim to create. Evaluate strategic support and capacity to ensure alignment with purposeful practices, fostering a renewed commitment to B Corp Certification. Restart that fire!

2. Build an internal project team

Distribute the workload by assembling a dedicated project team comprising members from various functions within the organisation. This not only lightens the burden on individual employees but also ensures diverse perspectives are considered. Many hands…

3. Assign BIA sections by function

Allocate specific BIA sections to relevant departments such as HR, sales, marketing, operations, and supply chain. Leveraging the expertise of each function ensures accurate information and documentation, streamlining the assessment process.

4. Unlock value with external support

In many instances, seeking external support from consultants can be instrumental in overcoming BIA challenges. B Lab-trained consultants offer tailored assistance by diagnosing issues, providing temporary capacity, and maintaining momentum throughout the process. Their expertise can empower your organisation to maximise points, prioritise efforts, and unlock untapped value within the assessment.

5. Shift perspectives: investment vs. cost

It’s essential to reframe the mindset around outsourcing support for the B Corp Certification journey. While it may appear as a cost, viewing it as an investment yields long-term benefits. Consultants can help your team focus on what you do best while efficiently navigating the certification process.

Finally, move forward with confidence

Restarting a stalled BIA for B Corp Certification requires a concerted effort, strategic planning, and a shift in perspective. By addressing common hurdles head-on and leveraging external expertise, you and your team can reignite the journey towards B Corp Certification with renewed determination. Remember, it’s not just a certification—it’s a testament to your commitment to purposeful business practices and creating positive impact.