Controversial industries and eligibility

Controversial industries and eligibility

B Lab Global and its Standards Advisory Council are responsible for identifying controversial issues and industries that can affect which companies are eligible for B Corp Certification. 

A key part of the certification process is assessing the risk of company involvement with controversial issues and industries. How we evaluate these risks is constantly evolving to maintain the integrity of B Corp Certification.

As part of the work to holistically evolve the B Corp standards, B Lab Global and its Standards Advisory Council are currently reevaluating their approach to risk standards and eligibility. This includes how eligibility for certification is managed for companies in controversial industries or those with clients in controversial industries.

Use the tool below to determine your company’s current eligibility for B Corp Certification. The tool includes sections on controversial industries, risk standards and clients in controversial industries. The tool is based on the risk standards in place that are maintained by B Lab Global and are subject to change. 

Please see the FAQs for more information on B Lab's approach to managing risk.

Eligibility tool

B Lab’s risk screening process

B Lab’s risk screening process assesses a company’s sensitive practices or negative impacts, which are  identified through the B Impact Assessment’s Disclosure Questionnaire, background checks, and the public Complaints Process

A company’s eligibility for certification is determined during the review process once an assessment has been submitted and an analyst has been assigned.

The Disclosure Questionnaire

The Disclosure Questionnaire section of the B Impact Assessment (BIA) allows a company to confidentially disclose to B Lab any specific sensitive issues related to the company (e.g. historical fines, sanctions, material litigation, or sensitive industry practices). The questions are unweighted and have no impact on the company’s score. 

Questions answered affirmatively will be examined during the Review process once an analyst is assigned to work with the company. It’s important to fill out the Disclosure Questionnaire correctly, to avoid delays during review.

Read more about the Disclosure Questionnaire.

Controversial industries with risk standards developed

B Lab’s Standards Advisory Council has identified specific industries that are deemed controversial and has classified them as "Disclosure Industries" in the Disclosure Questionnaire. Additional minimum standards have been developed for companies in controversial industries or with practices with potential negative impacts. These must be met for companies to be eligible for B Corp Certification.

Controversial industries with no risk standards developed

B Lab has identified a number of additional industries or practices that have the potential to cause negative impact. Specific standards are required to measure and mitigate the associated risks of those potential negative impacts. Companies with material involvement in these industries or practices will not be eligible for B Corp Certification until new standards are developed.

For more specific criteria and to determine if your company materially operates in one of these industries/practices, please use the eligibility tool

above. Stay up to date with the current approach and any changes via our FAQs page. 

Clients in controversial industries

A company’s eligibility for B Corp Certification may be impacted by the clients it serves. 

‘Serving a client in a controversial industry’ refers to the provision of products or services to a company in a controversial industry. By serving a client in a controversial industry, a company has the potential for negative impact. 

As a result, during the review process, B Lab’s Risk Review Committee examines the company’s policies and practices in relation to how it serves clients in these controversial industries.

Due to the high level of risk involved, B Lab has determined companies serving clients in certain industries will be ineligible for B Corp Certification until new standards have been developed. The table below outlines maximum revenue thresholds for serving clients in the industries mentioned. *Please note that these thresholds are subject to change.

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Companies with clients in the industries listed that exceed the revenue thresholds outlined above will not be eligible for B Corp Certification at this time. They must wait for new standards to be developed. This is regardless of the type of services offered. 

For all other industries deemed controversial by B Lab, found within the Disclosure Questionnaire and on B Lab Global’s page on controversial issues, a company will be reviewed based on the type of services offered to clients in these industries and the mitigation practices in place. 

Eligibility tool

Involvement in controversial industries and practices, or with clients in controversial industries, if deemed material, may result in one of the following implications:

  • Additional transparency requirements on a company’s public B Corp Profile 
  • Required remediation before a company can proceed with certification
  • B Lab may determine that a company is ineligible for certification.

The implications of operating in potentially controversial industries or serving clients in controversial industries will vary from company to company depending on a number of factors including industry risk, severity of products/services, materiality of revenue attributable and frequency of involvement.

Please use the eligibility tool for detail relevant to your company 

I have questions...
  • Why is filling out the Disclosure Questionnaire accurately important?
    • A fundamental part of B Corp Certification is transparency and the Disclosure Questionnaire is a company’s first opportunity to disclose any sensitive areas that they may be involved in 
    • It gives B Lab an understanding of how a company operates in relation to controversial issues; missing information can cause delays during the review process, it’s important to disclose any sensitive issues early on and is the company’s responsibility to do so.

      Please use the eligibility tool for detail relevant to your company
  • How do I know if my company operates in any industries deemed controversial?

    Use the tool to check eligibility for certification based on if your company operates in any industries deemed controversial by B Lab. See B Lab Global’s page on controversial issues for an up to date list of these industries and associated risk standards.

    Please use the eligibility tool for detail relevant to your company

  • Does using the tool confirm my company’s eligibility?

    Eligibility for certification is not guaranteed and will be confirmed during the Review process. The tool is designed to provide guidance only, specifically in relation to a company’s involvement in controversial industries. Other factors may also affect company eligibility - learn more here

    It is the responsibility of the company seeking B Corp Certification to inform themselves about B Lab’s stance on controversial issues and industries, identify risks relevant to its operations and ensure that adequate measures are in place to mitigate those risks. Companies should explore this prior to submitting for certification.

    Please use the eligibility tool for detail relevant to your company

For further detail on the risk review process and industry specific updates for both controversial industries and clients in controversial industries, please see B Lab Global’s webpage and the FAQs page linked on it. 

This page is updated to align with B Lab Global's standards.

Last updated: June 2024