Every year since B Lab’s founding has come with new surprises, achievements, and challenges. As always, we look back on 2016 with amazement at what the B Corp community has been able to achieve in the last twelve months — but this year ended with an extra reason to celebrate. As of the end of 2016, the community of Certified B Corporations is over 2,000! Join the party with us on social media with #2000BCorps, and read on to see what else we were up to this year.
Version 5 of our standards
The backbone of B Corp certification is the B Impact Assessment — the set of standards B Lab created to assess a company’s impact on their workers, community, and environment. To make sure our standards are as rigorous and relevant as possible, we release an updated version every two years with the help of our Standards Advisory Council. Version 5 included new metrics on interns, the sharing economy, and direct trade. Learn more about Version 5 of the B Impact Assessment.
Tech platform gets a tune-up
It should be hard to meet our standards, but not to take our assessment. The new B Impact Assessment platform is faster, friendlier, and easier to use — and it’s getting better all the time as we add new features. Learn about the development process and inspiration behind our new tool, or sign up for a new account to check it out yourself!
KeHE Makes a Declaration
Recently-certified B Corp KeHE made a splash with the world’s largest Declaration of Interdependence at Expo West, inviting the 100+ B Corps present at the event to sign along with their announcement.
B Corp community votes with their feet
In 2015, we announced our 2016 Champions Retreat, the annual gathering of B Corporations from around the world, would take place in North Carolina. After North Carolina signed HB2 into law, creating an environment that could be unsafe for some attendees, we consulted with the B Corp community and decided to move Champions Retreat from North Carolina. You can read more about our decision here.
Honoring the Best for NYC
Launched in 2015, the first year of the Best for NYC program came to a close with a ceremony honoring the top 100 performers of the 1,200 business who took part in the initiative. Created in partnership with the NYC Economic Development Corporation, Best for NYC encouraged New York businesses to measure and manage their impact on their workers and community using a custom version of the B Impact Assessment. You can learn more about our celebration here. Best for NYC will continue for another year in 2017!
Partnering with Bancolombia
Bancolombia, the largest bank in Colombia and third largest in South America, announced a partnership with B Lab and our Latin American partner organization, Sistema B, to use the B Impact Assessment to measure and manage the impact of their suppliers. Bancolombia joined over 100 organizations in partnering with us to introduce our assessment tools to their supply chains, portfolios, or member companies.
A movement gets a media platform
Midway through the year, a new media platform to celebrate people using business as a force for good went live. Through digital media, a print magazine, and events, B the Change Media has been covering the world of B Corps, benefit corporations, and the people behind them. B the Change Media is majority owned by B Lab. Learn more about B the Change Media and subscribe to B Magazine.
The B Corp movement in Brookings
The Brookings Institute, one of the USA’s oldest non-profit thinktanks, released a paper co-authored by the B Lab cofounders. In it, the B Lab cofounders tackle the cultural shift around the role of business in society, the opportunity — and necessity — for businesses to be a force for good, and the institutional and normative barriers in the way. The B Corp movement is profiled as one example of how legal innovation and credible, common standards can transform shareholder capitalism into stakeholder capitalism. Read the paper.
Last day in Wayne!
After three great years in Wayne, PA, B Lab’s North American HQ moved to new digs just down the road in Berwyn, PA. Thanks to local B Corps Revision Architecture and MIO Products for helping us make our new space as sustainable as possible.
Best for the World Gathering
For the first time ever, the honorees on the annual Best for the World lists gathered in person at a great event held by B the Change Media at Haas School of Business. Attendees enjoyed an all-star series of panels and speakers from Certified B Corps. Meanwhile, the fifth annual Best for the World lists hit newsstands in B Magazine. See the full lists and learn about the honorees.
Best for Colorado Accelerates Regional Impact
Following on the first year of the Best for NYC program, B Lab is now leading the Best for Colorado program in concert with 30+ partners, including municipal government, non-profit service providers, and Certified B Corps. During a 2016 pilot, launched in September, over 100 businesses engaged in the campaign and the campaign has raised significant local philanthropic support. Learn more at www.bestforco.com
The MPMAC begins its work
In London, global experts gathered for the first meeting of B Lab’s Multinationals and Public Markets Advisory Council (MPMAC). The MPMAC will tackle questions of how multinational corporations and companies in the public markets can meaningfully engage with the B Corp movement, including through mission-aligned governance structures and the potential for certification. Learn more about the MPMAC’s work and members.
New standards for #edtech
Following on our work on standards for higher education, B Lab released another standards addendum, this time for educational products and services. The new standards were developed in partnership with an expert working group. Learn more about the new standards.
Taking on the Inclusion Challenge
At our relocated Champions Retreat in Philadelphia, PA, B Lab formally launched our first-ever community-wide challenge. We challenged every B Corp to choose three inclusion-focused metrics from the B Impact Assessment to improve on in 2017. B Lab is also taking the Inclusion Challenge, and will be producing a series of relevant resources throughout the year. Learn more about why we think we need an inclusive economy.
The Inclusive Economy Metric Set
The first resource created for the B Corp Inclusion Challenge, the Inclusive Economy Metric Set collected 25 of the highest-impact metrics from the B Impact Assessment around diversity & inclusion to provide a starting place for companies hoping to improve their inclusivity. The Metric Set is available publicly here.
Leaders of the B Corp community gathered at the University of Pennsylvania to share their perspectives on how to move Towards an Inclusive Economy through TED-style talks. From the value of education access to the business imperative for social justice, our speakers asked the tough questions. See all the talks on B the Change Media’s website.
The Best Funds for the World
While Certified B Corps have been honored on Best for the World lists since 2012, this was the first year that GIIRS Rated funds got in on the action. Using our GIIRS Rating system for measuring the impact of an investment fund, B Magazine released the first-ever list of Best for the World Funds in their third print issue. Learn more about what makes these funds Best for the World.
HBR says it pays to be a B Corp
Why has the community of Certified B Corps continued to grow? Cabot Creamery Cooperative laid out the case in the Harvard Business Review, with perspectives from longtime B Corps like Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, and Klean Kanteen. Read the full article!
2000 B Corps!
Just before the end of the year, we confirmed it — our community is over 2000 strong! We are especially proud to see that this comes with another milestone: half of all Certified B Corps are now located outside the USA. Thank you to everyone who helped grow our community in 2016.