Ecosurety became B Corp certified in 2020, as we committed to put people and planet at the same level of profit, using business as a force for good.
This was a big moment for us and I was lucky enough to lead Ecosurety through the certification journey. I have been working on improving on our sustainability path since then.
Over the past years I have been approached by many businesses looking for advice around the certification process. Having recently spoken about Ecosurety’s journey to B Corp during a Future Leap event in our Bristol community, I thought I would share some tips here that I wish I’d known before I went through the certification route!
1. Don’t wait!
To apply for B Corp certification, you need to fill in a questionnaire named B Impact Assessment (BIA). The sooner you complete this online assessment, the sooner you know how close you are from certification. Access to the B Impact Assessment is free, and I would encourage any business interested in becoming a B Corp to spend the time filling it in honestly (it’s confidential, no need to beef up your responses). Doing this will enable you to see where your business currently stands in terms of sustainability. It will help you either make the decision to go for the certification or discover if more work is required beforehand.
2. Seek external support
There are plenty of consultants specialising in B Corp who can help you fill in the BIA, putting an improvement plan in place or guiding you through the various steps you will need to take to gain the certification. A good place to start is looking at the B Leaders directory, listing people who have been trained by B Lab – the organisation behind the B Corp label – to provide support to “B Corps to be”.
3. Be conservative in your answers
When filling the BIA, think twice before ticking a box. Ask yourself “Do we have the evidence to back this up?” If the answer is “No”, then don’t tick the box. This will reduce the chances of your score dropping during the verification stage when B Lab audits your BIA and asks you to evidence your answers.
4. Document the narrative behind your answers
People and processes may change between when you submit your B Impact Assessment and the verification phase. Having a short rationale readily available, especially for questions where answers are not obvious, will help you justify why you ticked some boxes and provide the evidence if needed.
5. Bring your staff on the journey
Make sure you have your senior management, ideally your CEO, talking to your staff about why you are going for B Corp certification, why it is important for the company and how it fits with the business strategy. B Corp is not a one-person matter, you will need the support of various individuals to fill in the BIA and prepare the evidence for the verification phase. Also, post-certification your team is instrumental in bringing new ideas and suggesting initiatives that are vital to continue to improve your sustainability. Having them engaged will help you achieve that.
6. Heads up! B Corp certification standards are evolving
B Lab are revisiting the requirements to become a B Corp, moving away from the 80 points minimum score across 5 areas of focus to 10 topics. You will need to fill in specific requirements to demonstrate your social and environmental leadership and implementation of the new standards are due to start in 2024. I would encourage any business thinking of going for B Corp to have a look at the new standards draft and assess what it means for your business and your sustainability goals.
And finally, a few things to bear in mind:
B Corp is a journey, not a destination.
Being a B Corp does not mean you are perfect. There is always room for improvement and using the B Corp framework can help you identify what you can do to be a better and more impactful business.
B Corp does not define you, but it can help you to be a better business.
For example, whilst our values match B Corp values, we are much more than a certification. Nurturing our culture and values are what makes Ecosurety unique.
Being a B Corp is a responsibility as much as a recognition.
As a B Corp we have the duty to lead by example, to walk the talk, to continue to improve and to inspire others to use business as a force for good.
To find out more about becoming a B Corp please click here.
Marketing & Sustainability manager
Stéphanie joined Ecosurety as marketing manager in 2015 after 15 years performing operational and strategical marketing roles in both B2C and B2B global businesses. In addition to shaping the marketing and communication strategy, she is in charge of moving up the dial on Ecosurety’s social and environmental impact by driving the sustainability strategy.