Five Tips for Becoming a B Corp

Business Insights

1. Devote proper resource and don't be afraid to ask for help

  • Don't assume this is just another ESG initiative that can be delegated to the marketing or the sustainability team. Whoever drives this will need to engage with every team across the business, so make sure they have the time. Most importantly we would advocate choosing someone with the project management skills, but also the positive energy and the people skills to champion this project across the business and get everyone's buy-in. Also remember that B Corps are a community and you will find willing help from other B Corps (or from B Lab itself) when needed.

2. B the Change!

  • By which we mean get ready to change your business. Acknowledge right at the start that this is unlikely to be a certification of your existing operation – in contrast you're likely going to have to change your operation to achieve certification. Even the most ethically motivated businesses won't have considered and legislated for the >200 areas of business ethics covered by the B Impact Assessment. See it as a playbook, an instruction manual, for formalising your mission into your structures and processes. If you can't answer "yes" to this or that question, why not change and improve? It's a change management project – the most positive one you'll ever implement.

3. Use it to empower your team

  • Businesses succeed when they attract talented people who are with them for more than just the pay cheque. A purpose, mission, culture, whatever you want to call it, is a valuable motivator. The B Corp journey is a huge opportunity to show your team that you really care about your mission. You're formalising it, baking it into the business DNA. It's no longer about the ethics of the leader or founder. Instead, the ethics of the business are in the hands of the whole team. Get them involved, you don't just need their buy-in, you need their help, their effort, their ideas, their creativity. Your supply chain team, your product team, your HR, your salespeople, marketing teams, everyone will have the ability to deliver little wins by doing good in their area of the business, and they'll absolutely love it.

4. See it as a business driver

  • It can help build your reputation among all your stakeholders, in a way that helps your business. Engage your suppliers – we often see suppliers wanting to be associated with purpose-driven brands and eco-friendly products, and that allows for better lines of communication, perhaps priority treatment, and maybe even better terms. It's the same with your investors (and prospective investors of course!). Your employees will value it, we know B Corps have lower rates of employee churn. And of course, your customers will value it – so you can attract them and generate better loyalty. Viewing the B Corp process through a commercial lens is no bad thing. It can help you decide which aspects of the assessment deserve most focus, those which help you build your business. A win-win for people and profit.

5. Celebrate it and get involved in the B Corp community

  • Once you've certified, make sure you take aside the whole team, all your staff, for a moment to reflect on what you've just done. You've just committed your business to create benefit for all stakeholders, not just shareholders. You've declared you envisage a global economy that uses business as a force for good, and you've put your company right at the forefront of that movement as a key advocate. You've proven you think differently, and act differently. It's a milestone which the team should celebrate together. Then get involved in the B Corp community, it is a remarkable and energetic group of people all on the same mission (and yes they also know how to celebrate!).

By the Future Business Partnership