Frequently Asked Questions

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.
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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.

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