The B Impact Assessment
The B Impact Assessment (BIA) is a free and confidential online tool used to measure your company’s impact on its workers, communities, customers and the environment. Find out what the BIA measures and how the tool can be used to achieve B Corp Certification.
What is the BIA?
The BIA is a free and confidential online tool used to measure your company’s impact on its key stakeholders.
The BIA is the only tool that measures your company’s entire operations – from your supply chain and carbon footprint to your inclusion policies and employee engagement.
The BIA provides your company with valuable, insightful data and is the best way to understand how you are performing today and how to improve your impact for the future.
Using data from the previous 12 months, you will answer approximately 200 questions within the assessment, with responses verified by B Lab's independent Standards Team. A minimum score of 80 points is needed to submit your assessment to certify as B Corp. It's rare for companies to achieve this score initially and most are subsequently required to make improvements based on the policies and practices highlighted in the BIA. Don’t worry, there is no such thing as failing the BIA, you simply go back and improve.
Who is the BIA for?
Any organisation can use the BIA as a useful framework for measuring and improving their impact (you don’t need to be on the journey to B Corp Certification to use this tool!).
If a company is using the BIA to achieve B Corp Certification, it must be a for-profit company, with at least a year of operations to meet the eligibility requirements. You can find out more about how to calculate your operational start date here.
The assessment is tailored to your company’s industry, size, sector and location, and while it can be completed by anyone within the business, it is a rigorous process which can require input from multiple teams.
Start-ups, with less than 12 months in operation, can use the BIA to achieve Pending B Corp status, rather than certify as a B Corp, in the interim. Large or complex businesses may be required to take multiple assessments and should get in touch with the B Lab UK team to determine their certification approach.
Find out more about our eligibility criteria for B Corp Certification here.
What areas of your business does the BIA measure?
The BIA is divided into 5 Impact Areas – Governance, Workers, Environment, Community and Customers – which cover different policies and practices.
- Governance: code of ethics; financial information disclosure; whistle-blower policy; mission and engagement
- Workers: career development; health, wellness and safety; tracking satisfaction and engagement
- Environment: environmental management system; recycling materials; water, waste and energy usage
- Community: civic engagement and giving; diversity, equity and inclusion; supply chain management
- Customers: customer feedback or complaint mechanisms; regularly monitoring customer outcomes and wellbeing
Within each of these 5 impact areas, the BIA assesses impact in two ways:
Operations: Most of the questions in the BIA relate to how your business operates on a daily basis. For example, how do you manage waste, provide employee benefits or audit your finances? These questions apply to all companies, independent of design or intent and are aligned with other best-in-class standards.
Impact Business Models (IBMs): If your business is already specifically designed to deliver high social or environmental impact, it may be scored on additional questions called 'Impact Business Models' (IBMs). These questions are rare and go a level deeper, measuring the ways in which your business creates a specific positive benefit or outcome for one or more of your stakeholders. This might be through your products/services, a particular process or activity, or the structure of the business (e.g. supply chain poverty alleviation, conservation action or serving those in need).
Additional requirements for B Corp Certification
To achieve certification, you will also be required to disclose any sensitive practices, fines or sanctions related to your company or partners in a Disclosure Questionnaire. This is confidential and, while reviewed, does not affect your numerical score on the B Impact Assessment.
Another part of the certification process is the B Corp legal requirement. This commits you to consider the impact of your decisions on all stakeholders, not only shareholders by building it into your company’s legal governance.
How long does it take to complete the BIA?
The BIA is designed as a learning and improvement process. The time involved in completing the BIA depends on the size, maturity and complexity (number of operating locations) of your company.
The first step is to complete all the questions to get a baseline score for your company’s current performance. The BIA is comprehensive and challenging, and so this process can take around three hours for a high-level review, to three weeks if you need to get inputs from across the business. And of course, this time could be further affected by the size, age and complexity of your business.
This initial company score is rarely over the 80 points required for certification. The next step is then to review the improvement report and your score across the different impact areas to determine how to increase your score and, most importantly, your impact.
The questions in the BIA, along with B Lab’s free best practice guides and input from your employees are great sources of inspiration in identifying policies and practices that can improve your impact. Once implemented, the assessment can then be updated to reflect these positive changes.
When you reach a score of 80+ points and you have completed the confidential Disclosure Questionnaire, your assessment can be submitted to B Lab, marking the start of a rigorous review process leading to B Corp Certification.
Improving your score
How can you improve your BIA score? Find insights and tips here.
What are the legal requirements for becoming a B Corp? Read more here.
Submit, evaluate and verify
Find out more about submitting your assessment and how we review it.
After you certify
What happens after you certify? Find out what you can expect next.