The B Corp Life Cycle
Certifying as a B Corporation is only the beginning, and we’re not just talking about the fact that B Corps have to re-certify every two years. Entering the B Corp community does more than recognize companies that are already using business as a force for good — it helps those businesses change for the better.
Here are six blog posts from B Corps (and aspiring B’s) to take you through some of the highlights in the life of a B Corp. Keep up with the #BtheChange hashtag on Twitter to hear more from B Corps in their own words.
1. Getting Certified
See3, a strategy firm serving non-profits, has yet to attain certification, but they’re already reaping the benefits of giving it a try.
What started as a “we’ll-have-this-done-in-a-month” project has become a deeply reflective organizational journey. We’re getting close to completing our application (yay!) but in the collaborative and do-gooder spirit that is the B Corp community, we thought we’d share some tips and surprises we’ve learned on our path to becoming a certified B Corp.
2. Telling Your Story
Thinkshift Communications has been a B Corp since 2010, and they know the value of the certification when it comes to communicating to customers and partners.
Ultimately, your B Corp story is an integral part of your brand. Once you’ve got your B Corp narrative down, you can start weaving it into your company story. Before you know it, the two will be inseparable.
3. Connecting to the Community
Exponent Partners, a technology consulting B Corp in San Francisco, attended the first ever B Corp Leadership Development event in 2014, and they took away more than a swag bag.
Behind each of our favorite B Corps lies the story of at least one motivated, mission-minded employee deciding to do things differently. Although we ourselves work at a B Corp, what struck us first was how grounding it was to associate real humans with our fellow B Corps that we only knew from their logos. It made everything seem more real to shake the hand of a friendly business development professional at New Leaf Paper while coincidentally writing in one of their notebooks, chat about sustainable packaging and the food industry with thoughtful representatives of Lotus Foods and Plum Organics, to listen to a dynamic method speaker describe their unique company culture model.
4. Improving Your Impact
Ian Martin Group founder Tim Masson knows businesses need strong reasons to commit to getting certified, and he has more than a few.
OK, I know you need a WIIFM (what’s in it for me) to seriously consider jumping in to this game. At Ian Martin, we increased our B Impact Score from 88 to 105 over the last 2 years (see table below for context). As a result of joining the competition, here are six questions from the B Impact Assessment that have helped make a huge contribution to our culture and our bottom line.
For more details on how Ian Martin has improved their practices, check out their post on crowdsourcing their HR policies. For another look at a score increase, learn how The Honest Company increased theirs by 16 points.
5. Surpassing Expectations
10% of B Corps are randomly selected for onsite reviews by the B Lab team every year. RoundPeg thinks that onsite is a big opportunity.
The audit process will uncover weak spots in your business and that’s okay. Recognize the audit as a tool for change. We’ve carefully reviewed B Lab’s “Recommendations for Improving Your Impact” and are incorporating them into our daily operations. It feels good to know that these efforts will grow our business and improve our B Impact!
6. Recertifying with Pride
Before you know it, two years have already passed! Manoverboard couldn’t help but brag about how they improved their score, why they wanted to maintain certification, and why you should join them.
We believe that companies now need to focus on people as well as the environment. They can no longer turn a blind eye to child labor or unsafe working conditions in their supply chains. They can no longer dump waste into rivers or keep lights on in buildings when there’s no one home. This movement has amplified the power of the wallet and the purchaser. The B Corp framework provides a foundation to build sustainable value for all stakeholders.