Jul 12 '17
In our last B-Corp article, we interviewed Helen Hammond on EC’s journey towards its B Corp status. Whist we don’t mind blowing our own horn from time to time, it’s not all about us – being a B Corp means being part of a wider community of companies that want to change the way we do business. And we can’t do that on our own. If you’d like to join the movement then read on, because we’re going to run through the process. It’s as simple as 1-2-3.
Step 1: Meet the Performance Requirement
First off, you’ll need to take the B Impact Assessment, which assesses the overall impact of your company on its stakeholders. The assessment will differ slightly from business to business, depending on how many employees you might have, your sector and the location of your company. Completing the whole thing normally takes around 2-4 hours, so settle down with your spreadsheets, a big cup of tea, and get stuck in. You can save your application and revisit it at any time, so it’s best to estimate answers the first time around. Once you’ve completed your application, you’ll get a B Impact Report that contains an overall score. You’ll need to earn a reviewed minimum score of 80 out of 200 points to carry on to the next step. You can find out more about the assessment criteria here.
Step 2: Meet the Legal Requirement
If you’ve worked hard enough to score 80 out of 200 points, then you’ll have to move onto all the legal bits. Meeting the legal requirement for B Corp certification is all about protecting your mission and the sustainability of your business – which means it can survive as it grows, even if new new ownership is brought in. You’ll need to edit your Articles of Association to fit with the B Corp manifesto, which will probably mean obtaining approval from any shareholders. You can find out more about all the technical stuff here.
Step 3: Ring the bell!
If you make it this far, then you’re what Inc Magazine calls “the highest standard in socially responsible business.” You sign the B Corp Declaration of Interdependence and the B Corp Agreement, and you’re good to go.
Okay, so we’ve given you a run-through of the practical steps you’ll need to take if you want to be a B Corp, but it’s down to you to ask yourself why you’re doing it. This, really, is the first step you’ll need to take before getting any spreadsheets out. You’ll need to be prepared for all the hard work and responsibility that comes with becoming and being a B Corp. We asked Helen Hammond what she’d say to anyone thinking about starting the process:
“It might sound trite but becoming a B Corp is more about the journey than the destination. You need to make sure you’re going into it for the right reason – and wanting the ‘badge’ to stick on your website isn’t the right reason. If you start the process with an open mind and work through the assessment methodically, learning as you go and being prepared to try new things, consider different ways of working, as well as putting in place more rigorous procedures, you’ll come out of it a better business… and a B Corp.”
And there you have it. In our next article we’re going to be interviewing other B Corps about their journeys, so stay tuned.