Benefit Corp, B Corp, B Lab, B Impact, B huh?
This past month, Place of the Future celebrated one of its milestone achievements by getting the Worker Happiness Index accepted as “Best Practices” for the current version of the B Impact Assessment administered by the nonprofit B Lab for Certified B Corps. This means that all companies and organizations interested in becoming a Certified B Corp to meet the high standards of overall social and environmental performance will encounter a section under “Workers” (1 of the 6 categories in the B Impact Assessment) that will now include an assessment of the workplace well-being and find the Worker Happiness Index surveys included as part of the “Employee Engagement Resource Guide”.
This month’s blog will be to demystify the “B” jargons involved in the newest corporate form available in 26 U.S. States and the District of Columbia created to help return business to its proper role in society: creating shared and durable prosperity. To date, there are around 1,000 registered benefit corporations.
Benefit corporations were created by the Corporate Flexibility Act of 2011 and is the newest class of corporation that voluntarily meets higher standards of corporate purpose, accountability and transparency. Becoming a benefit corporation allows entrepreneurs and investors another choice when determining which corporate form is most suitable to achieve their objectives. For more information from a business, attorney and legislator perspective, visit http://benefitcorp.net/
B Corps / Corporations
B Corps / Corporations are certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. B Corp is to business what LEED Certification is to green buildings or Fair Trade certification is to coffee. B Corps include companies such as Patagonia, Seventh Generation and Ben & Jerry’s, just to name a few. For more information on the latest statistics of B Corps, visit http://www.bcorporation.net/
Although the benefit corporation legislation does not require a benefit corporation to use any particular third party standard to prepare its annual benefit report nor require any certification or auditing by a third party, B Lab is one of the governing third parties that administers the B Impact Assessment standards which meets the statutory criteria among many others. To see a list of standards, visit http://benefitcorp.net/third-party-standards/list-of-standards
B Impact Assessment
The B Impact Assessment is a free, comprehensive and transparent tool for assessing the overall corporate social and environmental performance. The assessment is tailored to a company’s size, sector and geography while covering six (6) categories which include: 1) Governance, 2) Workers, 3) Community, 4) Environment, 5) Impact Business Models and 6) Disclosure Questionnaire. Out of the 200 points available, all B Corps must achieve at least 80 points on the B Impact Assessment to validate that the company has achieved a significant threshold of impact and the fee for certification varies based on the annual sales of the company. For more information on the assessment, visit http://bimpactassessment.net/
In short, Benefit Corporations have three (3) distinct differentiators from the traditional corporation:
Differentiator 1: General public benefit is required
Differentiator 2: Greater protection to its officers and directors from shareholders to pursue the triple bottom line (people, planet and profit)
Differentiator 3: Enforcement of transparency and accountability
With all of that said, there will be future webinars hosted by Place of the Future that will go through the step-by-step process for social entrepreneurs, businesses and social enterprises that are interested in taking the B Impact Assessment to become a Certified B Corp so stay tuned!