Thinking of becoming a B Corp? Here's how we did it.

Thinking about becoming B Corp certified? It's definitely a journey and here's our little journey.

October 12, 2020

Are you an impact-driven business with the values to match?

If so, certifying as a B Corp might be something that’s on your to-do list.

So, as a business that’s just gone through it, think of us as your friendly guide and guinea pig. Settle in as we share some tips on how to get through the rigorous certification process and still come out smiling.

Let your vision guide you 

Our vision has always been to help conscious businesses grow. Every business decision we make comes back to that. Whether that’s through improving a client’s bottom line or our own impact on the planet.

Our ‘why’ has been the foundation of our business.  It’s inevitably what led us to becoming a certified B Corp.

Read more about our ‘why’ behind getting certified here.

Brush up on B Corp fundamentals

If you’re considering certifying as a B Corp there’s a high chance you already know about the global movement towards a more inclusive and sustainable economy. B Lab, the organisation behind B Corp, are one of our clients and we’ve learned so much from them.

The decision making part of getting certified was pretty straightforward for us, but if you work for an organisation and are keen to suggest they consider B Corp status, then B Lab have some super helpful resources for you.

To start you off, there’s a pre-prepared presentation for you to talk your company through as well as a list of FAQs.

There’s a wealth of tools to help you on your certification journey available on the B Corp website:   a free online course, workshops, case studies and bookings for one-on-one consultations.

Sink your teeth into the Business Impact Assessment (BIA)

The BIA is the heart of the whole B Corp certification. When you start moving through it, it works to get a baseline of where you’re at as a business through a points system for each area.  It then guides you through the process of verifying and improving your score. You need 80 points to certify.

Okay, real talk, the BIA was no joke... It took us around 200 hours to get through it, including many back and forths, lots of gathering information, making changes and resubmitting.

It’s a process! It was well worth it for us, but brace yourself.

Everyone’s business is different, and there’s no one-size-fits all when it comes to this process, but here is a breakdown of what worked for us.

1. Prioritise

We took a quick pass at the BIA and organised the requirements into four groups:  easy, medium, hard and long-term. Our spreadsheet looked like this. It  gave us a place to start, and for us, made it way less overwhelming.

2. Change stuff

There are a couple of ways to do this: you can make business changes as you go or wait until the end and do them all at once. We decided to change things as we worked our way through, like switching to an ethical bank, adding a social mission and commitment to initiatives to our constitution, classifying our suppliers according to their contributions to the UNSDGs, publishing an annual report,  and outlining how we tracked our energy and water usage.

3. Call on B Lab

We checked in with the team at B Lab, who gave us feedback on how we were progressing. Their guidance was seriously helpful. They’re available to everyone going through the process, and there are a bunch of ways to connect with them.

We attended their half-day bootcamp, during which they helped us review our approach. Over the next 3-4 months we continued to make a bunch of conscious changes to the way we were running the business.

When we were almost ready to submit we booked in for a 1:1 session with Mindy at B Lab  to give us peace of mind. And, once again, there were a bunch more changes to make! We may have mentioned earlier... it’s a process 😅

4. Design to Give

As part of our certification we made the decision to donate 5% of our revenue to Greening Australia. Not everyone is in a position to do this bit, and it’s not a dealbreaker, but we were, and after much deliberation, we decided it was the right thing for us. Once we did that we were ready to submit.

And then we waited.

5. Verify, Refine, Improve

And so began the verifying process with an auditor from the global B Corp Standards Review Team. For us, the time we spent in the B Lab workshops and 1:1 consults was invaluable.

Yes, we were asked to upload more documentation, but the B Lab team helped us ensure there were no huge holes in our BIA.

This can be the longest step, depending on the size of your business, but it's also where you're given the opportunity to improve your application and really make it sing!

And then we got certified. Yay.

It was a surreal moment when we got the email. We were completely overwhelmed, also Bec was completely in labour, so we put a pin in it and got back to the business of baby birthing.

A few days later we were able to take it in. We’d done it 🎉 We signed the Declaration of Interdependence and paid our certification fees. Once the admin was taken care of, our very own profile was published on the B Corp directory and it was time to start telling the networks.

We're pumped to join a community using business as a force for good. In three years we’ll need to recertify, but the process won’t be nearly as full on. But for now it’s onto the task of living up to the title, and being a truly conscious business.

Learn more about the 5 small changes we made (like choosing suppliers and policy making), and the 5 big changes we made (like a giving model).

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