What are the five B Corp impact areas?

Customisable business insurance
21 May 2024
6 minute read

Becoming B Corp Certified™ is a continuous journey, and it’s one we’ve just begun. Certified in April 2024, we couldn’t be prouder to be counted among businesses leading a global movement for an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy.

Companies hoping to become B Corp certified are measured against five key impact areas. What are these impact areas and what sort of questions do they ask? How does it all work? If you’re a budding B Corp hopeful, read on to find out.

The B Corp impact assessment

The B Corp impact assessment measures how a company’s operations and business model positively impact five key areas: governance, workers, community, environment and customers.

Each impact area has a numerical score, with a total of 200 points up for grabs.

A company has to get over 80 points across the five impact areas to achieve certification. And the assessment has to be conducted every three years once a company has been certified to remain a B Corp. Let’s dive into each impact area.

1. Governance

This impact area evaluates a company’s overall mission and engagement around its social and environmental impact, ethics and transparency. There are a total of 25 points to be earned here.

Fundamentally, it measures how fairly a company is run. ‘Governance’ also assesses a company’s ability to “protect its mission and formally consider stakeholders in decision-making through their corporate structure”.

But what does this mean? This is basically aligning your company’s mission and values with that of the B Corp Movement. One of the key ways of doing this is by signing the B Corp legal requirement.

By signing this document, you’re formally committing to this alignment and pledging that you’re embedding a stakeholder-focused mindset. This is the mindset that separates B Corps from other businesses.

The B Corp legal requirement is designed to provide a legal bedrock ensuring company directors consider the interests of all stakeholders in a company, not just the shareholders. It also supports the company’s mission if there are leadership changes or when capital is being raised, there is a merger or sale.

Another quick win would be to share company financial information with your employees. Suppose you have monthly or quarterly targets, or you’re working towards a funding round. By sharing this information with your employees, you’re creating transparency enabling all your staff to participate in the company's success.

A question in the governance portion of the impact assessment might be: What portion of your management is evaluated in writing on their performance with regard to corporate, social, and environmental targets?

2. Workers

This area covers a company’s contributions to its employees’ financial security, health and safety, wellness, career development, engagement and satisfaction. There are a total of 50 points to be earned here.

The ‘workers’ section looks at whether you have a skills training or development programme to support those who may face barriers to work.

Not all disabilities are visible — neurodivergent employees or those who may face microaggressions because of their race, gender, religion or sexuality should be considered alongside those with visible disabilities.

Another factor this impact area considers is whether your business model is designed to benefit your employees — for example through a share programme.

A question you might see in the workers section of the impact assessment might be: What percentage of the company is owned by full-time workers (excluding founders/executives)?

A quick win here would be to formalise your people team policies across a variety of scenarios, such as the support you’d give to breastfeeding mothers.

3. Community

This impact area focuses on a company’s engagement with, and impact on, the communities in which it operates, hires and sources from. There are a total of 50 points to be earned here.

Within the ‘community’ section of the impact assessment, you’ll face questions around charitable giving and civic engagement (i.e. company volunteering) but also diversity, equity and inclusion internally and across your supply chain.

Firms that have business models designed to target specific community-oriented pain points are likely to score highly here.

Companies like Tony's Chocolonely, for example, with their focus on fair trade, slave-free chocolate, built to alleviate poverty in the cocoa industry score highly here.

A quick win under the community impact area would be to solidify and implement a supplier code of conduct. This code of conduct will ensure the suppliers you work with adhere to safe and ethical working practices, so you may need to review your current suppliers as you implement it.

A question you might see in the community portion of the impact assessment could be: What percentage of management is from underrepresented populations? (This includes women, minority/previously excluded populations, people with disabilities, and/or people living in low-income communities.)

4. Environment

This covers a company’s overall environmental management practices as well as its impact on the air, climate, water, land and biodiversity. There are a total of 50 points to be earned here.

The ‘environment’ impact area doesn’t just cover your company’s operations, but your supply chain and other distribution channels too. Companies that provide products or services that have a positive environmental impact or those that have environmentally sensitive production practices will likely score highly here.

Renewable energy sources, like solar panels or wind turbines — companies that conserve wildlife or educate communities about environmental issues — or those that reduce or eradicate waste will score highly here.

Lick Home, for example, a home decor brand that produces water-based, low-VOC paint and sustainable decorating tools, is providing less toxic alternatives to the market.

A question you might see in the environmental section of the impact assessment could be: Does your company monitor and record its universal waste production?

So monitoring and recording your water and energy consumption by installing smart meters might be a quick win. Tracking the waste you produce and, where possible, switching to renewable energy providers can also support here.

5. Customers

This final area focuses on the stewardship of a company’s customers through the quality of its products and services, ethical marketing, data privacy and security and feedback channels. There are a total of five points to be earned here.

Companies that might score well here are those that support underserved customers, those that elevate the social impact of other businesses, and those that address specific social problems for customers — for example, educational products or healthcare.

A question you might see in the customers section of the impact assessment might include: How do you verify that your product improves the impact of your client organisations?

There are many ways you could improve your score here, for example by revisiting your data and privacy policy to ensure it’s jargon-free, transparent and clear. Adding clarity to your customer journey will ensure your relationship with customers can flourish.

What to expect from the B Corp impact assessment

As you can see, the B Corp impact assessment covers a lot of ground, and you’ll be required to provide evidence that your company’s mission, processes and corporate structure marry with the B Corp standards.

Like anything worth waiting for, the assessment can take many months to complete. Many companies — Superscript included — get support from third parties to help them navigate the complexities of the assessment, and support in implementing processes and procedures to align with B Corps values.

Then once you’re done, it’s submitted to B Lab for assessment. Because of the sheer volume of companies aiming to become a B Corp and the level of detail that goes into each assessment, this process can also take months.

As previously mentioned, becoming certified isn’t a one-time thing. Once a company has achieved B Corp status, it’ll need to re-certify every three years. This prevents sustainability from becoming a tick-boxing exercise and ensures each company is continually improving against the latest recommendations.

Want to see our impact score? Head to our ESG page to take a peek.

This content has been created for general information purposes and should not be taken as formal advice. Read our full disclaimer.

Share this article

We've made buying insurance simple. Get started.

Related posts