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.

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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.

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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.

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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
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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