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.

 

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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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Benchmark 2

Who is in this benchmark group?

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: 

Elissa Loughman
Elissa Loughman

Patagonia

Ventura, CA, United States

“The Assessment provided a mechanism for Patagonia to conduct a comprehensive assessment of our current social and environmental programs.”

View Case Study
B Impact Score
107
Rasuli Webster

Prem Group

Portland, OR, United States

“The experience of taking the Assessment really dug deep into what our company does and how effective it can be.”

View Case Study
B Impact Score
90
Sujatha Srinivasan

Servals

Chennai, India

“When we do our daily work, our employees don’t really see the opportunities to improve our business. But the Assessment encourages us to rethink our protocols in a different light.”

View Case Study
B Impact Score
80
Eric Edelson
Eric Edelson

Fireclay Tile

San Jose, CA, United States

“We already felt great about certain manufacturing and employee practices, but the tool allowed us to realize that we were just barely touching the surface.”

View Case Study
B Impact Score
61
Dr. Kahaki Kimani

Hurlingham Eye Care

Nairobi, Kenya

“We learned that we need to involve our employees in this exercise, so that they are not only aware but also own this initiative.”

View Case Study
B Impact Score
78
Ruth Muiruri

Wilmar Flowers

Thika, Kenya

“We realized we have a lot more to do on environment - especially collecting statistics from our suppliers that help us understand their impact.”

View Case Study
B Impact Score
51

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