That old adage of ‘the first step in running a marathon is the hardest’ definitely applies to starting B Corp certification. It’s a complex process that can take an average of six to 12 months from initial assessment to submission.
But there are some critical things you can do to accelerate the certification process. As experienced B Consultants, The Growth Activists work with businesses to get them to the point of submitting.
Here are six key insights we have learned over the last year that will help get your organisation going:
1. Set up a B Project Team (ideally with a sponsor)
It distributes the load, but most importantly it’s engaging. Your team will enjoy being involved. Teams we have worked with love contributing. They say they learn about ESG, and being on the team gives them a voice and creates common ground beyond the work itself.
2. Commit time each week
This commitment is crucial, particularly for the initial first pass of the questionnaire. There is no doubt that completing the Business Impact Assessment (BIA) is rigorous. The evidence-based approach to earning points means a step-by-step approach is manageable. This gives you time to think, ask questions and source data between sessions.
3. Be prepared to champion change in your organisation
The BIA reviews five ‘big rocks’ in your organisation. These are your approaches to governance, workers, community, customers and environment. It’s a whole-business review and likely transformational. We find that it’s best to highlight and champion this change early.
4. You and your team will not have all the answers
Be prepared to search for answers. You’ll likely need to seek answers stored in servers or files that haven’t been looked at in months, and make sense of tacit information that is split across functions or has never been documented, but is the ‘way we always do things’. We find this process creates an opportunity for businesses to centralise and streamline their data and reports.
5. You will learn a lot
And we mean a lot. This is an opportunity to extend and capture a lot of knowledge in your business. The BIA questionnaire is a decision tree. No two that we’ve seen have been the same. Even the same question will have different points allocated based on which track the business has been placed on. It will likely ask you team to raise the bar on company practices, and potentially introduce a new set of behaviours.
6. This is a strategic and operational exercise
The certification process assists both your team and the business to understand what an exceptional global standard is for your industry or sector. It provides an opportunity to benchmark how you compare to other businesses in your sector locally and globally, and to determine if a gap exists between your organisation and your competitors. You’ll also work to identify the steps that need to be taken to close that gap.
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.