Completing a Business Impact Assessment (BIA) is a critical step in your B Corp certification journey. But for large businesses, it is not the first step. It’s not the second step either. In fact, it could be up to the seventh step on your certification pathway.
The BIA is a free self-assessment questionnaire. It provides valuable insights and action into driving your business towards B Corp certification, and is a great way to learn the questions, data and information B Lab Global will require as part of the certification process.
However, larger enterprises with more that USD$100 million in revenue, operating in two or more industries, five or more countries, or those with more than 10 subsidiaries, need to take a step back and complete some preliminary work that will save time, costs, and headaches in the future.
Where to start on your B Corp certification
It is critical to choose your certification pathway carefully at the early stages. The BIA is a decision-tree style questionnaire. Once you start, there are up to 74 different tracks and many, many more questioning pathways on which you could find yourself. If you need to change path, B Lab Global needs to do it for you. You can’t do it yourself.
That’s why B Lab Global wants to get your organisation on the right path and help you avoid backtracking and unnecessary rework. Initial scoping to determine the certification approach, through to a preliminary risk review, risk screening and eligibility review all come before starting your BIA.
This is where a B Consultant like The Growth Activists can help you navigate the complexity of B Corp certification. We’ll act as your mentor, put you on the best certification pathway, and offer guidance to achieve the outcome you want.
What to expect on your B Corp certification pathway
B Corp certification is a complex process. It takes an average of six to 12 months from initial assessment to submission.
Through the BIA, you will need to achieve a minimum of 80 points prior to submitting to B Lab Global. At that point, a formal verification and audit will be undertaken by B Lab Global to verify all claims and points via documentation and evidence from you.
As a large business, if you choose to certify you will pay fees for the steps supported by B Lab Global (steps 1-8 as detailed below). You’ll also pay for support from B Consultants like The Growth Activists. Our clients tell us this is still more cost effective than hiring a team, or diverting key people, to do the work.
Understanding your B Corp certification pathway
The Growth Activists can help guide you through an 11-step B Corp certification pathway. Here’s an overview of the process:
|1||Discovery and Initial Scoping||To determine the certification approach based on size, structure and operations.|
|2||Presentation from B Lab ANZ||A detailed, tailored presentation to the company and discussion of what is involved towards B Corp certification.|
|3||Application and Preliminary Risk Review||Completion and submission of the application, payment of fee, followed by preliminary risk review.|
|4||Risk Screen||A deeper risk screen if determined necessary for companies that potentially operate in a controversial or sensitive industry.|
|5||Eligibility Review||Evaluation of issues identified in the risk screen to decide on eligibility for B Corp certification.|
|6||Full Scoping||Comprehensive analysis of the business to determine the number of BIAs, the scope of each BIA, the legal entities required to fulfill the legal requirement, and other implications.|
|7||BIA Performance Consultation||An optional consultation with a B Lab Senior Business Analyst for customised advice. We find that companies gain value from this and we guide them through it, often taking on the load for them.|
|8||Assessment and improvement||This is the point when you complete your BIA and submit. You need at least 80 points to submit. On average, it can take six to 12 months to get to this point.|
|9||Verification||Your BIA is reviewed by a Business Sustainability Analyst from the Certification & Verification Team|
|10||Certification||You sign B Corp Agreement and Declaration of Interdependence after Verification and you progress to adopt the legal requirement to change your governing documents within the required time frame. The details vary depending on the country of the legal entity that is certifying for the enterprise|
|11||Continuous improvement||In order to recertify every three years, it’s important to stay on top of changing standards. You’ll need to be ready with further improvements when you renew in year three.|
The Growth Activists is an experienced B Consultant. We’re here to support organisations through the complex B Corp certification process with the right advice for your business. Get in touch to learn more about how we can help.