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Five actionable tips for getting B Corp certified

Okay, in the name of full transparency, we didn’t come up with the title of this blog. We were, um, ‘inspired’ by a Forbes article with a similar name. However! As full time B Corp consultants here at Grow Good, we’ve got a ton of experience and know-how in the area of getting a business B Corp certified so we are going to add to the conversation started by Forbes.

The five top tips outlined in the Forbes article are:

  1. Put sustainability practises in writing
  2. Use data to demonstrate performance
  3. Decide where to make a meaningful difference
  4. Give the team a voice in the decisions
  5. Don’t approach the application as a tick-box exercise

All excellent points! Perhaps though, in the wrong order. I think there’s a better way to navigate your B Corp journey. Jumping straight into writing documents is gonna break anyone’s spirit so this is why at Grow Good, we would recommend the following five steps.

  1. Get all your team engaged and excited: First, you’ve got to get everyone on the team up to speed and excited. It’s in line with the theory of getting everyone in the boat rowing in the same direction. This is why we start a new client off with what we call a ‘kick off session’, this is an hour’s workshop online or in person for your whole team, where we go through the what, why and how of the whole B Corp movement. By the end of it, everyone on your team understands what B Corp is and why you’re doing it. Most of all, they’re excited about being part of a global movement that’s actively driving transformation to a world where planet and people is valued as much as profit. This team buy-in is priceless and will not only make your certification process easier, it will reap benefits such as higher productivity and better staff retention.
  2. Make a meaningful commitment to stakeholder governance: One of the foundation stones of B Corp certification is the commitment a business makes to considering all stakeholders in business decisions. Whatever foundational document governs your business, be in a constitution or your Articles of Association (documents are different in different countries), update these documents to include the B Lab purpose and stakeholder clauses.
  3. Understand your impact: This one is a little bit like the Forbes’ number 3 ‘Decide where to make a meaningful difference’ but I think it’s better broken down into two points. Understanding your impact is often where a basic materiality assessment comes in. Now, the phrase ‘materiality assessment’ can make the average person feel afraid and confused. Don’t be. It’s just a fancy way of saying ‘what impact does your business have on the world, both positive and negative?’ And every business is unique in that. For example, if you’re a chocolate bar manufacturer in France, your impact priorities might be ensuring you’re sourcing your cacao from farmers that are paid properly and are farming in a way that regenerates the natural world, rather than reduces the habitat of native species. You might also consider your packaging materials. As well, the carbon footprint of your manufacturing and transportation. Obviously, if you’re an accountancy firm in Canada, or a web developer in Thailand, your impact is going to be very different from the chocolate maker.
  4. Lock in your priorities: No business is perfect and no business can tackle everything at once. That would be overwhelming. You may want to clean up the oceans, get to net zero, drive social justice, get all staff on a living wage, boost biodiversity, get rid of all plastics in your products, reduce waste to landfill… and 101 other things but you probably can’t do it all at once. So, once you’ve assessed where your business is having its most impact – and where it can have its most positive impact – what is your team most psyched to set goals on first? And your goals might be phased, eg, ‘reduce carbon emissions by 20 per cent in the next 3 years…’
  5. Measure, monitor, mitigate: You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Once you’ve set your goals, set up the documentation that will enable you to track your performance over time. B Corp certification is all about evidencing the positive impact you’re having. Robust documentation is key. Critical! A deal breaker! I cannot stress enough about your B Corp certification being dependent on your being able to show exactly how you are increasing your positive impact with data. At Grow Good, we give our clients heaps of help with this, from recommending online tracking platforms (eg, Carbontrail, CarbonClick) to providing access to our library of more than 300 policy templates, tracker examples and much more, all designed to make your certification journey that bit easier.

So, that’s about it. If we were to add a sixth point to this list, it would be ‘Hire a B Corp consultant to help you through the process’. Like us. Obviously. It’s your choice, it’s totally up to you, far be it from me… etc etc but we think becoming a B Corp is something every business should do. Imagine the world we could build if that happened. A world where doing business regenerates the environment and drives social justice.

Become a B Corp

Here at Grow Good, we exist to coach people through the process of becoming B Corp certified.

The B Corp Impact Assessment framework  is free to access and provides dozens of useful insights and opportunities for any business but it can be confusing and overwhelming.

We are consultants who have completed the official training provided by B Lab, the organisation that runs the B Corp certification programme. We live, breathe and sleep B Corp. We are your friendly B Corp buddies. We make it easier. We translate the questions into plain English and give you a host of template policies and example documents so you don’t have to start everything from scratch or reinvent the wheel. We show you how to unlock the big point scoring areas most relevant to your business.

Are you ready to go B Corp? It’s completely your decision but if you are, and if you think it would be helpful to have a guiding hand through the process, we’re here to help. Drop us a line or jump straight in and book a free 30 min discovery call with me.

Yours in purpose,

Ngā manaakitanga,