In an age where greenwashing can often take the place of genuine environmental and social credentials – to the considerable detriment of your business if customers are wise to it – B Corporations increasingly stand out as the real thing.
Founded in 2006, B Corp certification is a measurement of your business’s entire social and environmental impact against rigorous standards, which vary by industry and are assessed on an ongoing basis. If you attain B Corp status, you can rightfully claim high social and environmental standards, a legal commitment to accountability in corporate governance, and transparency in your organisation’s performance against certification standards.
How do I get B Corp status?
Any for-profit company of at least 12 months’ standing can undertake the certification process. Over 4,000 businesses worldwide have done so already, from single-person operations to large concerns employing over 1,000 people. It’s a five-step process:
- A ‘B Impact Assessment’, comprising around 200 questions about your social and environmental performance.
- Certification requires a score over 80. Not many businesses achieve this on their initial BIA assessment, so step two is to improve those areas where your operations are falling short. An Improvement Report points you in the right direction.
- Specific wording must be incorporated into your company’s Articles of Association, embedding a commitment to consider the impact of your decisions on all stakeholders, employees, suppliers, society and the environment.
- Once your score hits 80 points, there’s a Disclosure Questionnaire and review by B Lab, the certifying body for B Corp status.
- Once certified, the work’s not over. Recertification is needed every three years, so you have to work to maintain your score over 80 points.
What are the benefits for my brand?
Younger consumers in particular now buy on beliefs, and the latest generations are more aware than ever of what’s genuine when it comes to brands’ claims on corporate social responsibility and sustainability. The buying decisions of Millennials, and Gen Z in particular, are driven by the values of the companies they buy from, and they make well-informed decisions. So it’s no surprise that B Corp companies are growing 28% faster than other companies in the UK, for example.
If you think it’s just a sticker to put on your packaging or website, you’re mistaken. Assessment is rigorous, in-depth, and ongoing, the opposite of the dreaded greenwashing tag that can afflict companies who recognise the need to be seen to be doing something but don’t reflect that in their corporate and operational culture.
B Corp status as a recruitment tool
Brand loyalty is now fluid in younger consumers in particular, and the values that drive purchasing decisions extend to attitudes to employment too. Salary is less important to Gen Z employees than any other generation before them, as they instead look for jobs that reflect their own values and ambitions. A global study by IBM Institute for Business Value in 2021 showed that nearly half of people surveyed would now accept a lower salary to work for environmentally and socially responsible organisations.
The Great Resignation provoked by the global pandemic was characterised by workers expecting their employers to be good global citizens. B Corp certification is the ideal way to show both consumers and the labour market that you share their values, and act on them. Over 4,000 companies worldwide are now certified.
By 2025, Millennials will make up 75% of our workforce. And that group would not accept a job if they don’t believe the employer has a strong CSR policy in place. Furthermore, in the UK, 43% of B Corp-certified companies report that people have been attracted to work for them solely because of their B Corp status.
B Corp certification has grown because it accurately reflects changing consumer trends and a shift in attitudes to employment. If you haven’t thought about B Corp certification for your organisation, now is the time to do so.
With over 1,200 employees around the world, We Are Amnet have the expertise and experience to produce whatever you need to support your B-Corp status application. Talk to us for all your creative production needs.