What are the requirements for B Corp Certification?

An Overview of the B Corp Certification Requirements

The requirements for B Corp Certification are divided into Foundation and Performance requirements as summarized here:

Proposed B Corp Certification Requirements

Lists of the proposed Foundation Requirements and Performance Requirements for B Corp Certification.

What are the B Corp Foundation Requirements?

Prior to meeting the Performance Requirements for B Corp Certification, companies will be evaluated against the Foundation Requirements. This is to ensure a company is able to fulfill the eligibility requirements for pursuing B Corp Certification, commit to adopting a stakeholder governance model within a set time period, and support the B Corp community’s collective purpose. 

These requirements will also assist a company with their preparation for B Corp Certification.  A company undergoes an assessment of their business model, in which they will learn how their business can be a force for good in the world by creating specific positive outcomes through the core of their business.  

Here is a summary of the B Corp Foundation Requirements and the overarching expectations of aspiring B Corps for each of them:

Eligibility Requirements: A company meets the eligibility requirements to qualify for pursuing B Corp Certification, confirming that a company is: 

  • an incorporated business in operation for at least 12 months;

  • not operating in an industry or managing practices considered to be materially acting against the Theory of Change and mission of the B Corp movement 

  • acting in accordance with applicable laws for operating its business, seeking and/or maintaining B Corp Certification; 

  • committing to not misrepresenting information to B Lab to meet B Corp Certification requirements and other required submissions (e.g. additional disclosures, information related to complaints); agreeing to be transparent on its certification performance through having a B Corp Public Profile.

Legal Requirements: A potential B Corp company commits to adopting the B Corp Legal requirement - a stakeholder governance model - and signs the B Lab’s Declaration of Interdependence to support the shared collective purpose of the B Corp movement.

Risk Assessment: To date, as part of the B Corp certification process, a company’s potentially negative impacts are assessed through the B Impact Assessment’s Disclosure Questionnaire in combination with background checks and complaints shared with B Lab. In addition, if a company falls under industries or includes practices with potential negative impacts addressed under B Lab’s Controversial Issues standards, it must be evaluated to meet the standard requirements before being eligible for B Corp Certification.

Risk assessments linked to B Lab risk standards are currently under review. We are using this moment of standards evolution to also optimize and improve our certification processes. As such, we are working to incorporate upfront evaluation and eligibility to understand risk from the outset, making it clear to companies early on in the process, under the Foundational Requirements, if they are eligible to pursue B Corp Certification. This review is also evaluating the potential for the risk standards to be embedded into the new standards to the highest degree possible or determine if they should be included in a separate list of industries and/or practices ineligible for B Corp Certification. Once the review is completed, stakeholders will be updated and consulted, as appropriate, on outcomes and next steps.

Impact Business Model Assessment: This assessment, which entails completing the relevant Impact Business Model (IBM) modules and questions formulated on the existing B Impact Assessment, enables a company to learn how their business models can be designed to create specific positive social and/or environmental impacts and to recognize those companies that have an Impact Business Model.  

To view details on these requirements please see the Foundation Requirements Impact Topic website section.

What are the B Corp Performance Requirements?

The Performance Requirements for B Corp Certification define the performance that a company needs to manage and continuously improve upon to achieve and maintain B Corp Certification.  They have been developed to improve the impactfulness of the standards, improve clarity around what it means to be a leading business, and incorporate feedback from various stakeholders over the past few years.

In order to achieve these goals, the draft standards have departed from the current framework  of standards for B Corp Certification where companies have flexibility in how to achieve a verified 80 point score to a framework where companies have to be verified to meet specific requirements across the standards’ Impact Topics.

While the content and components of the draft standards have been developed with the existing standards in mind, for example continuity in some topics, the draft standards have been updated to improve their impact, clarity and focus while ensuring that requirements reflect expected performance for companies across different Impact Topics. 

Proposed New Performance Requirements

Current B Corp Performance Requirements, companies have a verified 80 point score with flexibility in how to achieve the 80 point score. The Proposed New Performance Requirements, companies need to meet specific Impact Topic requirements and all the requirements will be verified for certification.

The Impact Topic Performance Requirements represent a cross section of widely recognized actions of impact management which are characterized by the following core components: 

Governance: Establishing oversight and accountability for impact management

Strategy: Embedding impact management into strategy aligned with an organization’s purpose and goals

Identify: Understanding potential impacts associated with the company

Measure, Assess & Value: Understanding and value current practice and performance to inform prioritization of actions

Set targets and plan: Making decisions and get ready for implementation and delivery

Implement: Rolling out action plans to manage impacts, deliver on targets and fulfill the organizational purpose and accompanying strategies

Monitor: Tracking and evaluate implementation to learn, adapt, and support continuous improvement

Communicate: Publicly disclose practice and performance to stakeholders

Here is a summary of the latest draft B Corp Performance Requirement Impact Topics and overarching expectations of B Corps for each of them:

Purpose & Stakeholder Governance (PSG): B Corps act in accordance with a defined purpose, contributing to an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economic system for all people and the planet. 

Workplace Culture (WC): B Corps have positive workplace cultures with meaningful worker dialogue.

Fair Wages (FW): Workers can afford a decent standard of living for themselves and their families, and there is wage equality among the workforce.

Justice Equity Diversity & Inclusion (JEDI): B Corps have inclusive and diverse work environments and contribute meaningfully to just and equitable communities.

Human Rights (HR): B Corps treat people with dignity and respect their human rights.

Climate Action (CA): B Corps take action in accordance with science to combat climate change and its impacts.

Environmental Stewardship and Circularity (ESC): B Corps demonstrate environmental stewardship and contribute to the circular economy in their operations and value chain, minimizing any negative impact and pursuing positive impact.

Government Affairs and Collective Action (GACA): B Corps play a leadership role in fostering shared understanding, solutions, and implementation towards an equitable, inclusive, and regenerative economy, including contribution to the public infrastructure they utilize and rely upon for their success.

Complementary Impact Topics (CIT): B Corps comprehensively identify and measure a wider set of impacts of their business, in addition to the core Impact Topics, and improve upon them over time.

To view details on these requirements please see the relevant Impact Topic website sections. 

How is the content of the B Corp Certification Requirements framed and structured?

The Foundation and Performance Requirements of B Corp Certification follow the same content framing and structure. The content framework details the importance of the requirements, what is required to meet and be evaluated against the requirements, and includes supporting implementation guidance and resources. The content framework and structure are as follows:

  • Outcome: provides an overview of the intended outcome that companies should achieve through the implementation of the Impact Topic or Foundation requirements. It represents a universal goal reflective of the B Corp community’s collective aspirations.

  • Purpose: describes why the Impact Topic or Foundation requirements is important, why the outcome is relevant and establishes the link between the requirements and the outcome.

  • Scope: explains to whom, i.e., a company’s operations/value chain/stakeholders, the requirements are applicable to 

  • Notes: provides details on how the Impact Topic or Foundation Requirements aligns with other Impact Topics or aspects of the requirement content structure. 

  • Terms and Definitions: includes a list of requirement-specific terms and their meanings; which are essential to understanding the requirements’ content. Terms and definitions are in the introductory part of the Foundation Requirements and each Impact Topic, and are in italics.

  • Requirements: includes the main and sub requirements that a company needs to meet to achieve and maintain B Corp certification. For some Impact Topics there are a set of sub-requirement options a company can choose from to meet to fulfill the sub-requirement. Each requirement and sub-requirement is codified. For example, sub-requirement PSG1.1 falls under requirement PSG 1, which is part of the Purpose and Stakeholder Governance topic.

    Each requirement is also identified by which type of requirement it is to explain when a sub-requirement is to be met:

    • C: at initial certification only

    • R: at subsequent recertifications only

    • C/R: at all certification cycles

      In some cases the requirement is labeled with an ‘O’ to indicate that it is one of multiple options available to meet the sub-requirement and is linked to a master sub-requirement that indicates in which certification cycle the option is available for the company to implement.

  • Track Factors: identify contextualization attributes including size (based on # of workers (full-time equivalents) and revenue), sector, and industry that determines which sub-requirements are applicable to companies.

    • Eligibility for equity and flexibility mechanisms: this section identifies whether the sub-requirement is eligible for (Yes) or is not eligible (No) to have the equity and/or flexibility mechanisms applied.

    • The equity mechanism is applied to a company operating in countries/territories with some or more operational barriers than a company operating in a country/territory with fewer operational barriers.

    • The flexibility mechanism is applied for a company with a minimum score in an Impact Business Model (IBM). 

    • Those sub-requirements which are not eligible for flexibility will need to be met by all companies. Companies eligible for the equity and flexibility mechanism could choose to be exempt from some of the eligible sub-requirements only up to a certain % with a justification for non-compliance based on operational barriers and/or be allowed more time to meet those sub-requirements.

  • Compliance Criteria: the specific criteria that companies need to meet to demonstrate compliance with the sub-requirement for the purposes of B Corp Certification.

  • Compliance Guidance: provides qualitative information on how to interpret the sub-requirement and its compliance criteria, including binding clarifications of what is and is not accepted to meet the sub-requirement. If the guidance is quantitative, it includes calculation methodologies and estimation methods. This section also contains an interpretation note to clarify the sub-requirement application to parent, group certifications, and independently certifying subsidiaries.

  • Advisory Guidance: provides additional recommendations on implementing the sub-requirement (for example, methodologies, stakeholders that could be engaged, other helpful considerations etc.). Described practices are not required to demonstrate compliance with the sub-requirement.

  • Implementation Resources: include links to references, data sources, external frameworks, and methodologies, in available languages, which could help companies implement the requirements.

  • Interoperability: contains information to ease the compliance and verification effort by companies and B Corp verifiers, respectively, by enabling and making use of matching information for different purposes. ‘Interoperability’ is a broader term that encapsulates the variations of its application as further defined by what is a conceptual and equivalency as further explained below. 

    • Conceptual match: If the metric or qualitative data point contributes to achieving the sub-requirement in the B Corp standard because it is directly covered/related to the new sub-requirement, but the scope, specificity, or calculation methodology varies slightly. The B Corp standard might be more specific and prescriptive than the other standard’s metric or indicator or vice versa. 

    • Equivalency: Option 1: The metric in the B Corp standard is exactly the same as another standard requires, and there is verification (at minimum with limited assurance), so that the metric can fulfill the sub-requirement without further verification by B Lab. Option 2: A particular credible methodology, tool, certification standard, or benchmark is recognized by B Lab to be able to fulfill a sub-requirement, and there is third-party verification involved; therefore, no verification is needed by B Lab. This does not imply that the different standards, methods, etc. are equivalent to each other.

    • Note the use of the term metric above is defined as follows: a specific, quantifiable measurement. It is a numerical value or data point that provides a standardized way of quantifying the performance or outcome. E.g., Scope 1, 2, 3

  • Evidence: identifies what specific evidence must be presented by the company to verify compliance with the sub-requirement (e.g., documentation requirements, interview/review call requirements)