Frequently Asked Questions

Pontua%C3%A7%C3%A3o De Impacto B

Select a question to jump to the answer

  1. How are the standards governed?
  2. Who develops the standards?
  3. Can I see some sample questions from the Assessment?
  4. How long does the Assessment take?
  5. Who is in the benchmark group for the Quick Impact Snapshot?
  6. Can I share my B Impact Report on my webpage?
  7. How will this help make my business more successful?
  8. What makes the Assessment different than other systems?
  9. My company is entirely virtual. How should I answer the Assessment?
  10. We have operations in two or more countries. How should I answer questions on the Assessment?
  11. Our company is a subsidiary or a franchise of a larger business. How should we answer the Assessment?
  12. If I use the Assessment, does our company have to become a B Corp? What is a B Corp?
  13. Our company is a holding company that has multiple subsidiaries or franchisees. How should we approach the Assessment?
  14. What types of organizations should take the Assessment?
  15. Who is B Lab?
  16. Which year of data should I use to complete the Assessment?
  17. Our company does not have suppliers. How should we answer the questions about suppliers?
  18. Is there a version for small businesses?
  19. What are stakeholders? Why do they matter?
  20. What is a GIIRS Rating?
  21. How is the Assessment scored?
  22. What does the Assessment cover?
  23. What is the highest score achieved on the Assessment?
  24. My company is a start up. How will that affect my score?
  25. My B Impact Score only increased by a few points, but our impact has increased dramatically. What happened?
  26. What is considered a "good" score?
  27. Why is the qualifying bar 80 points to become a B Corporation?
  28. How can I get involved with the standards development?
  29. What is an Impact Business Model?
  30. How does this relate to other impact measurement systems?
  31. What are the key gating factors for the B Impact Assessment versions?
  32. The Assessment seems to require lots of formal policies. How does it capture true impact?
  33. Why evaluate the impact of the whole company?
  34. How often is the Assessment revised?
  35. What is IRIS?
  36. What does IRIS measure?
  37. How can I get involved in social enterprise?
  38. Can I see the list of documentation we will need to prepare for B Corp Certification?
  39. How much do scores change after reviewing the Assessment with B Lab Staff?
  40. What happens when I hit Submit for Review?
  41. What is an Assessment Review?
  42. Where can I see how many points each question is worth?
  43. What will I need to prepare before completing the Assessment?
  44. Who in our company should complete the Assessment?
  45. Where can I download a PDF of the Assessment?
  46. How much does the Assessment cost?
  47. Can I use the B Impact Assessment in the classroom?

How are the standards governed?

As a standards-based organization, B Lab follows international best practices and guidelines for standards development to ensure the highest levels of effectiveness, fairness and credibility of the B Impact Assessment. This includes having independent oversight of the BIA and releasing new versions on a regular basis to make improvements.

All content and weightings of the assessment are governed by an independent Standards Advisory Council (SAC) made up of ~20 members, each respected in the field for their wisdom and each with deep industry or stakeholder expertise. SAC membership is designed to have representation from individuals and organizations that both are materially impacted by the standards and have deep expertise in topics relevant to the ratings system. SAC membership application is open to the public via B Lab's website each term and all members and their affiliations are also made transparent. To see a current list of SAC and Advisory Committee members click here.

Prior to the release of each new version of the assessment B Lab conducts both a private beta and a 30-day public comment period to ensure that B Lab's stakeholders are being recognized in the standards development process and the general public has the ability to review and provide input on proposed standards.

Until 2016, a new version of the B Impact Assessment was released once every two years. The first version (V1.0) of the Developed Markets (DM) assessment was released on October 19, 2007 and V2.0 followed in January 2010 with two addenda focused on the green building and financial services industries. V3.0 was introduced in July 2011 and includes an assessment designed for companies in Emerging Markets (EM). Version 3.0 features integration with the IRIS taxonomy and the ability to rate a fund portfolio. V4.0 was introduced in January 2014. In V4.0 we reduced the number of questions in the operations section and increased the sophistication of the questions in the Impact Business Model Section. V5 was released in January 2016 and was focused on fixing broken individual indicators in the BIA.

For V6, the B Impact Assessment’s development cycle has transitioned from a two-year to a three-year process, with a scheduled January 2019 launch. Version 6, as an even-numbered version, will include a review and update of the methodology as a whole, in addition to updates to individual metrics.

B Lab is currently in the process of collecting feedback on the current version (Version 5) of the assessment and will develop new drafts of Version 6 for initial testing in the summer of 2018. A 60-day public comment period will then start in September 2018, with final review and anticipated approval for launch in January 2019. To find more information about the scope and timeline of V6 click here.

Governance Structure 

Body
Role
Standards Advisory Council (SAC)     

Standards Advisory Councils (SACs) are independent governance bodies that develop and update the B Impact Assessments. Each SAC is comprised of industry leaders from sustainable enterprise, impact investing, government and academia. The Emerging Market and Developed Market SACs have authority over the content and weightings of the B Impact Assessment. Recommendations from SACs require a two-thirds majority vote by the B Lab Board of Directors to overturn.

Industry Working Groups

Industry Working Groups are ad hoc committees comprised of industry leaders that advise the Standards Advisory Council on the development of industry specific addenda to the B Impact Assessment. Previous working groups have focused on real estate, health & safety, and financial services. Recommendations from the Industry Working Groups require a two-thirds majority vote from the relevant SAC(s) to overturn.

B Analytics Advisory Committee

The B Analytics Advisory Committee includes investors, fund managers, and advisors who are leaders in impact investing and advises B Analytics management on product development, fundraising, and adoption.

 B Lab Board of Directors

The responsibilities of B Lab's Board of Directors include:

1. Overseeing strategy, budget and operations of B Lab & GIIRS, including oversight of management, compensation, and development,

2: Play a leadership role in forming the Standards Advisory Councils and B Analytics Advisory Committee, provide oversight of their activities, and amend/approve their recommendations, and

3: Assist in identifying and cultivating potential philanthropic donors/investors to ensure funding of B Lab's operations prior to sustainability via licensing and ratings incomes. Only entity with fi duciary duty.

 

Back To Top

Who develops the standards?

The standards are created and revised by the Standards Advisory Council (SAC), a group of independent experts in business and academia.  Learn more about SAC members and their role, here

Although the SAC creates the standards, we invite all interested to provide feedback to the standards. The best way to submit your feedback is to log into the B Impact Assessment and select “Leave Feedback” next to each question. If you are interested in learning about updates and opportunities to provide feedback as drafts are made available for testing and public comment, please subscribe to our V6 distribution list.

The Assessment also goes through a private and public beta period in which feedback is collected and integrated into final versions. Expert working groups are convened in order to explore our specific issues more closely in an objective manner. The Assessment is updated every three years in order to accommodate new and innovative practices, respond to the feedback of its users, and to more accurately assess the impact of all types of businesses.

In addition, B Lab has Regional Advisory Groups whose mandate is to deepen the engagement of regional experts in improving the Standards of the B Impact Assessment. Currently, B Lab has advisory groups in Latin America, East Africa, Australia and UK which provide constructive feedback and recommendations to B Lab and our Standards Advisory Council ( SAC) on regional specific issues. Learn more about the Regional Advisory Groups members here.

Back To Top

Can I see some sample questions from the Assessment?

Absolutely. Click here to see examples.

Back To Top

How long does the Assessment take?

For most small businesses, the Assessment normally takes between 1-3 hours to complete a rough baseline. The time involved largely depends on the size, age, and complexity (number of operating locations) of your company. For your convenience the assessment can be saved and revisited at anytime to allow for easy access.

We strongly encourage that you estimate your answers the first time or mark questions as "Revisit This".

Back To Top

Who is in the benchmark group for the Quick Impact Snapshot?

This benchmark group is made up of 2,533 businesses that have completed the full B Impact Assessment, but have not attained B Corp Certification.   A few details about this benchmark group: 

  1. This benchmark group includes only businesses that completed their Assessment between October 2011 and March 2014.
  2. We believe that the businesses have a varying range of motivation to use business as a force for good, even though they have taken the effort to complete the Assessment.   Based on the data these companies have provided, we believe that approximately 527 companies would consider themselves to be Mainstream Businesses and 2,006 companies would consider themselves to be Sustainable Businesses. 
  3. The following tables detail the sector and size of businesses included in this benchmark group: 

 

Number of Employees         # of Businesses
0 ees 479
1-9 ees 1,113
10-49 561
50-249 307
250-999 121
1000+ 70

 

 

 

 

 

Sector                                 # of Businesses
Service 1,588
Manufacturing 413
Wholesale/Retail 469
Agriculture/Growers 57
   

 

 

 

 

 

Primary Operating Location # of Businesses
North America 1,703
Latin America & the Caribbean 329
Sub-Saharan Africa 131
Western Europe 92
South Asia 70
Australia and New Zealand 56
East Asia and Pacific 46
Europe and Central Asia 28
Middle East and North Africa 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back To Top

Can I share my B Impact Report on my webpage?

Yes. We encourage you to share your B Impact Report and your experiences with other business owners. See how Ian Martin Group (from Oakville, Canada) shared their results: Learning from the B Impact Assessment»

IMPORTANT: You are allowed to share the score on your webpage, although it must be noted that the score not been reviewed or verified.

Furthermore, taking the Assessment is not equivalent to achieving B Corp Certification; therefore, the intellectual property of B Lab, including the Certified B Corp Seal, may not be used in this context.

Back To Top

How will this help make my business more successful?

There is ample research that shows that businesses who are actively trying to address social and environmental issues also retain customers and employees better and therefore generate higher returns in the long run.

Our friends at the Natural Capitalism Solutions have compiled a key guide to some of this research: Business Case Reports PDF

Back To Top

What makes the Assessment different than other systems?

The B Impact Assessment is unique in that it is:

  • Positive Impact Focused – practices that intentionally address a social or environmental issue are measured, not practices that simply comply with existing laws or norms.
  • Comprehensive – a company’s operational practices (including workers, suppliers, manufacturing practices, and governance) and the company’s products/services are measured because both are important in understanding a company’s effect on the world.
  • Adaptable – there are over 40 versions of the Assessment that are tailored to a company based on size (# of employees), sector, and geography.
  • Easy to use – it is designed for use by small and medium-sized businesses.
  • Educational – business owners and operators can use it as a guide to improve impact.
  • Transparent – criteria and weightings for each impact area, subcategory and individual question within the BIA assessment are available in the assessment.
  • Independently governed – Standards Advisory Councils (SAC), a group of thought leaders, experts, and practitioners control the quality of the standard.
  • Dynamic – new and improved versions of the BIA assessment are developed every two years.
Back To Top

My company is entirely virtual. How should I answer the Assessment?

The part that is trickiest for virtual businesses is the Environment section. Majority of the topics assessed in the Environment section such as energy usage or travel still apply for virtual businesses. However, it may be difficult to know if your company’s employees practice those items in their homes or shared office spaces. The intent is to assess the impact of the space your employees use regardless of whether they are company sanctioned or not.

We typically recommend answering affirmative to questions that are true for a majority of your employees. For example, if a majority of your employees recycle at home, please select “Yes” for that question.

Back To Top

We have operations in two or more countries. How should I answer questions on the Assessment?

Please select the country where the majority of your employees operate. If majority of your employees operate in Cambodia, please answer the questions as they pertain to those employees only.

We strongly recommend that you review this section in more detail directly with a B Lab Staff member: (+1) 610-293-0299.

Back To Top

Our company is a subsidiary or a franchise of a larger business. How should we answer the Assessment?

We recommend answering questions so that they pertain specifically to your subsidiary or franchise.

We strongly recommend that you discuss your company’s structure directly with a B Lab Staff member: (+1) 610-293-0299.

Back To Top

If I use the Assessment, does our company have to become a B Corp? What is a B Corp?

No. The Assessment is a free public good provided by B Lab. Simply taking the Assessment does not automatically make a company a B Corp nor does it obligate the company to pursue B Corp Certification. There are a few additional steps, beyond using the B Impact Assessment, that a company must take to achieve B Corp Certification. Learn More»

Back To Top

Our company is a holding company that has multiple subsidiaries or franchisees. How should we approach the Assessment?

We first recommend answering the Assessment as one entity; in this instance, please select answer options that apply to a majority of your subsidiaries/franchisees/operations.

The most accurate way to capture your business is by completing separate Assessments for each subsidiary. Please contact B Lab Staff to determine whether this is appropriate for your business: (+1) 610-293-0299.

Back To Top

What types of organizations should take the Assessment?

Any for-profit business.

The Assessment is intended to be used by ANY for-profit businesses entity. The Assessment is designed for all different types of businesses, including manufacturers, retailers, and service companies, and companies of varying size, from zero employee sole proprietorships to 10,000+ employee multi-national corporations. While the Assessment is customized to reflect practices that vary across these different industries, sizes, and markets, the overall Assessment is standardized so as to create an even playing field among all groups.

Although the Assessment is not suited to measure the impact of non-profit organizations, real-estate development projects, governments, or other entities that are not operating as an individual businesses, there are many ways these institutions can interact with the B Impact Assessment. Learn more at www.b-analytics.net.

Back To Top

Who is B Lab?

B Lab is the non-profit organization behind the B Impact Assessment.

B Lab is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that serves a global movement of entrepreneurs using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.

B Lab envisions that all businesses in the world will measure and manage their impact as readily as they do profitability. Read more about how B Lab hopes to achieve this vision.

Back To Top

Which year of data should I use to complete the Assessment?

The past twelve months or trailing twelve months is the recommended reporting period.

We recommend using the a 12 month period that most closely reflects the company’s operation as of today but is easy for your company to report consistently on. As a result, if using the last Fiscal Year is easier, we would encourage your company to use this period.

Back To Top

Our company does not have suppliers. How should we answer the questions about suppliers?

Suppliers may include both companies that provide durable goods (e.g. your raw materials) as well service providers (e.g. your accounting firm). If in the rare instance, your company does not procure any goods or services, please leave the questions blank.

Back To Top

Is there a version for small businesses?

Yes.  You will receive questions that are tailored to the size (number of employees) and type (sector) of business when you register on the B Impact Assessment.  Please indicate the appropriate number of employees at this time, so that we can provide you the most appropriate Assessment.  

Most businesses that use the B Impact Assessment are firms that have between 0 and 50 employees.

Back To Top

What are stakeholders? Why do they matter?

Stakeholders are the individuals that are most closely affected by a business's activities. These may include workers, customers, suppliers, shareholders, community members and others. All of these constituencies contribute to the success of a business and/or are affected by the business. Research shows that companies that engage with their stakeholders tend to be more successful in the long term. We embrace a stakeholder model of business, and the BIA is a tool to help companies assess their impact on different stakeholder groups.

Back To Top

What is a GIIRS Rating?

GIIRS Ratings provide comprehensive and comparable ratings of a company’s social and environmental performance, using the B Impact Assessment. GIIRS Ratings display a company’s impact in a format that is more useful for many Investors to understand. Many investors use GIIRS Ratings to help monitor the impact of the investments. Learn more»

If your company is interested in obtaining a GIIRS Rating, your first step is completing the B Impact Assessment.

Back To Top

How is the Assessment scored?

The Assessment is scored out of 200 possible points. The weightings of each question and section depend upon the specific “Assessment track” — determined by industry, size, and geography — of the business taking the Assessment. Points are received for every positive answer to a question and points are never lost. In certain sections points are rewarded for calculations and combinations of a number of different questions. So, while certain questions may not be “weighted” on their own, they contribute to the overall score. The Assessment is scored automatically and in real time so that at the conclusion of the Assessment it is immediately possible to review the results.

Back To Top

What does the Assessment cover?

The Assessment comprehensively covers the impact of a business on all of its stakeholders, including its workers, suppliers, community, and the environment. The Assessment also captures best practices regarding mission, measurement, and governance. The last, heavily weighted, portion of the Assessment identifies the company’s specific “Impact Business Models,” which include the targeted, formal focus on a benefiting a particular stakeholder through products and services or internal practices.

Back To Top

What is the highest score achieved on the Assessment?

The highest scores achieved that are also verified by B Lab typically vary from year to year but are generally between 160-170 points. To see the companies that achieved the highest scores, view the Best For the World lists.

Back To Top

My company is a start up. How will that affect my score?

The Assessment is a measurement of current and recent past performance on different dimensions of impact. The Assessment is not aimed at rewarding future intentions (e.g. the company plans to give away 5% of its profits to charity), as these items would be difficult to verify.

As a result, many startups find the Assessment is useful as a learning tool to help shape policies of flag practices to incorporate into their company in the future. We encourage companies to begin assessing their impact from day one, and find that those companies that do experience significant score improvements over time.

Back To Top

My B Impact Score only increased by a few points, but our impact has increased dramatically. What happened?

The Assessment is far from being perfect, and it is possible that a significant change in the company is not perfectly correlated with the number of points earned. We would love your help on reweighting items that you feel should be worth more.

However, this occurs most often when one practice is achieved but other answers have changed, thus neutralizing the positive score change.

Back To Top

What is considered a "good" score?

Any score higher than 0 points is a good score, as a positive score indicates that the company is doing something positive for society and the environment. The Assessment rewards practices that go beyond standard business practice; therefore, every point earned on the Assessment reflects incremental, positive impact.

Most companies score between 40 and 100 points out of the 200 points available. 

feature_average-score_chart.png

It is important to note that every company has a different purpose for being in business – some intend to focus solely on making a return, while some intend to create social impact simultaneously with financial returns. There are three distinguishable types of businesses that perform differently on the Assessment based on their intent for being in business:

  • Ordinary Businesses – Whose primary objective in business is to generate high financial returns. They may be interested in the possibility of using their business to serve a higher purpose, but are not actively pursuing this objective.
  • Sustainable Businesses – Whose primary objective is to both pursue positive impact and generate returns. They may be actively pursuing their impact objectives, but may or may not have taken the steps to measure and evaluate how their business impact society and the environment.
  • B Corporations – Businesses that are primarily trying to solve a social or environmental issue through their enterprise. All B Corps measure their impact and achieve at least 80pts on the B Impact Assessment to validate that they have achieved a significant threshold of impact. They also expand their corporate duties to include the consideration of the interests of all stakeholders, not just shareholders. B Corps are typically focused on improving and sustaining their impact over time and generating profit simultaneously.
Back To Top

Why is the qualifying bar 80 points to become a B Corporation?

Setting this threshold is admittedly a work in progress, but here is how the Standards Council arrived at 80.

Since each impact area (ie. Workers, Community, or Environment) is worth roughly 40 points, achieving 80 points total would mean that the company has to excel in multiple areas to achieve B Corp Certification.

Philosophically, the Standards Council aims to recognize those companies as B Corporations that create positive impact in multiple impact areas, instead of just one. As an example, a company that achieves 80 points is more likely to be one that produces chairs from recycled metals AND pays fair wages to its employees (amongst many other practices). In this way, the Assessment is asking businesses who might only be using recycled metals in manufacturing but not necessarily creating positive impact elsewhere to aim higher while simultaneously acknowledging that this one practice alone is creating positive impact.

Log in to see the full weightings

Back To Top

How can I get involved with the standards development?

Our Standards Advisory Council is comprised of industry leaders and experts that we recruit by invitation. We strive to continually improve the Assessment, and that requires input from many different sources. We encourage everyone who takes the Assessment to submit feedback. Users can leave feedback directly in the B Impact Assessment platform using the Leave Feedback button next to each question or by reaching out directly to our Standards Management team (Ana C. Gonzalez at acgonzalez@bcorporation.net) with thoughts and questions.

See this document for guidance on submitting feedback directly to the Standards Management Team: V6 Public Feedback Guidelines. We take this feedback seriously and incorporate it into our standards development process.

Back To Top

What is an Impact Business Model?

The Impact Business Models (IBM) section evaluates the big picture issues that the company is aiming to solve through its products or operations (ie. poverty alleviation, creating a fair trade supply chain).

This section is a collection of best practices that are extremely rare but are a defining element of a social enterprise. Small elements of IBM type practices are likely mentioned in the other sections, but the IBM section allows the Assessment to isolate these big picture goals and evaluate them at a much higher degree of detail. View a list and description of the Impact Business Models currently available in the Assessment here.

Back To Top

How does this relate to other impact measurement systems?

In general, the B Impact Assessment provides a judgment (via an objective, comprehensive rating) on how significant a company’s current impact is.  The B Impact Assessment is commonly confused with reporting systems or definition frameworks that detail how a company should go about collecting that impact data, but not necessarily provide a judgment on how significant that company’s impact is.

For example, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) or IRIS are platforms that are likely to define specific way to report impact metrics;  As an example, they may define how to best report a company's carbon emissions, so that all carbon reports in the future can be easily comparable to each other (ie. Company X is responsible for producing 30,000lbs of carbon, based on its direct emissions from its plant and its electricity purchases).  IRIS and GRI definitions and reporting standards are a critical part of the B Impact Assessment.   

As a result, a GRI or IRIS indicator is more likely to tell you that the company is reporting its emissions according to best practice.  On the other hand, the B Impact Assessment aims to evaluate whether the company has either increased or decreased its emissions relative to the company’s revenues or relative to the practices of other businesses, because this disctinction helps a growing number of consumers, investors, and institutions who want to support businesses who put their values into action.

The B Impact Assessment simply builds upon the important work that other organizations and industry groups are doing to define and measure impact.

Back To Top

What are the key gating factors for the B Impact Assessment versions?

The Assessment changes based upon the following characteristics of the company:

GEOGRAPHY:

  • Developed Markets
  • Emerging Markets

SECTOR:

  • Service
  • Wholesale/Retail
  • Manufacturing
  • Agriculture

EMPLOYEE SIZE*:

  • 0 Employees
  • 1-9 Employees
  • 10-49 Employees
  • 50-249 Employees
  • 250-1000 Employees
  • 1000+ Employees

*The key factor involved here is the number of Full-time equivalent employees that are employed on the company’s payroll.

Back To Top

The Assessment seems to require lots of formal policies. How does it capture true impact?

The Assessment in general does its best to reward social and environmental outcomes (versus intention) first. Although it may ask a few questions related to formal policies, these questions are weighted far less than questions the company is practicing. For example, the questions related to how many hours the company’s employees volunteered in the last year will be worth far more than question of whether the company has a formal Community Service Policy.

  • Policies - 5%
  • Practices -  24%
  • Outputs and Outcomes - 71%

Other business owners have learned that formalizing their practices allows them to sustain those activities over a longer period of time with more engagement from their employees, and therefore this formalization is rewarded in the Assessment.

Back To Top

Why evaluate the impact of the whole company?

History repeatedly teaches the business world that there are often unintended, negative consequences of focusing on a single objective. This principle is just as relevant amongst social enterprises. It is not uncommon to observe businesses that bank to the poor but pay below market wages to their employees or install solar panels that were made using toxic metals; often the positive impact create on one constituent comes at the expense of another.

We believe that the power of private enterprise is not only capable but best suited out of all forces in society to achieve multiple social and environmental objectives. As a result, the B Impact Assessment is designed to simply show businesses what is possible across all dimensions of sustainability, without prescribing specific practices.   Just as society encourages students to study both the sciences and the humanities, we hope to encourage a business society that has a more holistic set of objectives. Some argue that striving for multiple social objectives dilutes the effect of the individual goals due to time or resource constraints. We do not doubt that there is often a tradeoff between two financial or social objectives. But this also does not mean that business owners are incapable of at least considering these tradeoffs by way of assessing the company’s performance against these parameters.

We believe that widening the lens on impact measurement will only help the company achieve its long term objectives instead of harm.

Back To Top

How often is the Assessment revised?

A new version of B Impact Assessment is released approximately every three years, with the next version scheduled for release in January of 2019. Prior to Version 5, launched in January 2016, the BIA was updated every 2 years:

  • Version 5 Release: January 2016
  • Version 4 Release: January 2014
  • Version 3 Release: September 2011
  • Version 2 Release: January 2010
  • Version 1 Release: October 2007

Prior to the release of each new version of the Assessment, B Lab conducts both a private and public beta period that allows all stakeholders to provide feedback to the standards before they are published. Find more information about the scope and timeline of V6 here. All are welcome and encouraged to provide feedback on how the B Impact Assessment can be improved. Users can leave feedback directly in the B Impact Assessment platform using the Leave Feedback button next to each question. See this document for guidance on submitting feedback directly to the Standards Management Team: V6 Public Feedback Guidelines. If you are interested in learning about updates and opportunities to provide feedback as drafts are made available for testing and public comment, please subscribe to our Version 6 distribution list.

Back To Top

What is IRIS?

The Impact Reporting and Investment Standards (IRIS) provide a common reporting language to describe social and environmental performance and ensure uniform measurement and articulation of impact across companies. The IRIS taxonomy defines terms to enable consistent reporting and allows benchmarking of data across companies by serving as a repository for aggregated IRIS-compliant data. The Global Impact Investing Network, B Lab, Acumen Fund, and the Rockefeller Foundation helped launch IRIS, with support from Hitachi, Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers, in early 2008.

Back To Top

What does IRIS measure?

IRIS provides a library of commonly reported impact terms. The framework can be applied across sectors and geographies and has been organized into six main areas: Organization description, including information about the mission, operational model, and location of a company

  • Product Description , including descriptions of companies’ products, services, and target client base
  • Financial Performance , including financial performance metrics that are consistent with both the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)
  • Operational Impact , including descriptions of companies’ policies, employees, and environmental performance
  • Product Impact , including descriptions and measures of the benefits of companies’ products and services
  • Glossary of definitions for common terms that are referenced in IRIS
Back To Top

How can I get involved in social enterprise?

Everyone’s path in social enterprise is different. If you are interested in getting involved in the B Corp movement, please visit here. We also encourage you to check out our partners such as Social Venture Network, ANDE and 1% for the Planet, to learn more about opportunities in social enterprise. We also regularly post job opportunities at B Corps here.

Back To Top

Can I see the list of documentation we will need to prepare for B Corp Certification?

Importantly, you will only need to produce any documentation if your company chooses to apply for B Corp Certification. If your company is simply using the Assessment as a benchmarking tool, please ignore this step.

The list of documentation requested depends on your specific answers to the B Impact Assessment and is generated after your company completes an Assessment Review with B Lab Staff. For example, if the company answered that 35% of its ingredients are from recycled input materials, the company would be expected to show how you arrived at that answer either through a spreadsheet of all ingredients with specific recycled percentages or submit specific invoices that detail out ingredient characteristics.

Please see example of a supporting documentation requested.

Back To Top

How much do scores change after reviewing the Assessment with B Lab Staff?

On average, a company’s score is reduced by 8 points (Standard Deviation: 23 points). Many companies see a significant score change, because they misunderstood the question; after reviewing these questions in more detail with B Lab Staff, companies usually have a greater understanding of the question and have a different answer as a result. Very rarely is the score change a result of intentional misrepresentation on the company’s part.

The documentation step also provides the company an opportunity to do a more thorough research on answers it may have estimated; this deeper review also results in answer and score changes.

Back To Top

What happens when I hit Submit for Review?

B Lab Staff will be notified that you have completed the Assessment, and that you are ready to schedule an Assessment Review with our staff. Our staff will reach out to you within 5 business days of your submission.

Back To Top

What is an Assessment Review?

An Assessment Review is an opportunity to review your answers with B Lab Staff via a 60 minute telephone call. Our staff will also clarify questions that may have been difficult to answer. The call will allow you to make necessary adjustments to your assessment which will ultimately get you to a more accurate B Impact Score.

Back To Top

Where can I see how many points each question is worth?

Because there are over 50 variations on the Assessment based on the size, industry, and geography of your company, each question is worth a slightly different amount for different businesses.

The best way to see the individual question weightings is by logging into the B Impact Assessment > Clicking “Step 3: Improve Your Impact” > Clicking “My Customized Improvement Guide.”   Click here to see the overall section weightings.

Back To Top

What will I need to prepare before completing the Assessment?

Nothing.

For your first (baseline) Assessment, we recommend that you provide estimates for each answer and mark questions as “Revisit This” if you are unsure about your answer; you will find that this is the easiest way to complete and still get a rough B Impact Score.

Thereafter, it may be helpful to use the following to assist you in answering questions:

  • Company’s financials. It may be helpful to have either a Profit & Loss Statement or your accounting system (e.g. Quickbooks) open.
  • Vendor Ledger with amount spent in the 12 months. This will help you answer many questions related to Suppliers.
  • Product bill of materials or Client/Project list from the past 12 months. This may help answer many questions in the “Impact Business Models” section.
Back To Top

Who in our company should complete the Assessment?

Anyone that is interested, regardless of their title or tenure with the company.

We recommend appointing one person as a lead; this individual typically completes a first draft of the Assessment and then convenes a supporting team to assist.

The most common types of individuals involved with the Assessment include CEOs, CFOs, HR Managers, COOs, Associates, Interns.

Employees who have less visibility into the operations of the company tend to be advocates for the idea of measuring what matters instead of direct contributors (ie. Marketing/Communications Director, Technology Dept, Quality Assurance, Designers, Board Members, etc).

Back To Top

Where can I download a PDF of the Assessment?

Please tell us a bit more about the type and size of your business so that we generate a PDF version of the Assessment that is relevant to your business (there are well over 40 different versions of the Assessment).

Although the PDF is a good way to get oriented to the Assessment, we strongly recommend using the Assessment online. The online Assessment will provide definitions and examples for each question, a B Impact Report that is scored based on your company’s responses so that you can compare it against benchmarks.

Working online will also allow you to engage multiple employees to work on the same Assessment easily and allow you to save your work so that the data is not lost for future years.

Back To Top

How much does the Assessment cost?

The Assessment is a free, public service provided by B Lab, a non-profit organization.

If your business is interested in becoming a Certified B Corporation, there is additional time and cost involved to verify your company’s practices with B Lab Staff.  Learn more about the time or cost involved in becoming a Certified B Corporation here»

Back To Top

Can I use the B Impact Assessment in the classroom?

The B Impact Assessment has been used in many curricula, from sustainable MBA programs to high school business classes. Learn more about how educators use the B Impact Assessment and teach about the broader B Corp movement using our Resources for Educators.

If you are an educator hoping to connect with peers using the B Impact Assessment, consider joining the B Corps on Campus LinkedIn group.

Back To Top
Back to Top