Large Companies

Large companies are increasingly joining the B Corp movement - both as Certified B Corporations and through other opportunities  to "be like a B Corp." Learn more about the various pathways for engagement for large and public companies, then contact B Lab to discuss the right opportunities for your company.

Engagement Pathways for Large Companies

B Corp Certification

Certifying as a B Corporation represents the most substantial opportunity for both internal and external engagement in the B Corp movement. Examples of large companies that have achieved B Corp Certification include Laureate, KeHE, and Natura. As a large company, your path to Certification will vary based on your size and complexity. 

If your company earns between $100M and $5B USD in annual revenue, the first step of the Certification Process will be to contact B Lab to begin the Discovery process. 

 
Discovery

B Lab will collect general information from you on your company’s size, structure and operations to help determine which certification approach is suitable for the business. Once you have completed the Discovery process, B Lab will provide you with more detailed information on the required process for Certification. 

 

Based on the size, complexity and structure of your business*, your company may undergo the following newly developed Certification Process, designed to introduce added value and clarity by providing greater insight into the company’s eligibility, process and fees earlier in the process. This multi-phase certification process represents a more manageable pathway to B Corp Certification for larger or more complex entities over time. 

*Not all large companies will need to undergo this process. B Lab will make a recommendation regarding whether this Certification Process is appropriate for your business, or, if your business should undergo the process featured here

 
Prescreen

The Prescreen is designed to allow a company to understand the likelihood of and timeline for achieving B Corp Certification. It is based on a preliminary analysis of a company’s risk and performance compared to the B Corp Certification requirements (through taking one representative B Impact Assessment and Disclosure Questionnaire), and used to inform next steps for the company’s certification process or alternative methods of engagement if pursuing the certification is not viable at the conclusion of the Prescreen. 
For more information on the Prescreen see here.
 

Scoping

During Scoping, companies provide B Lab with information regarding the comprehensive structure of the business and how it is managed. This information will be reviewed in order to determine the company’s appropriate path to verification, including the number of B Impact Assessments the company will be required to take and the scope of each of those assessments. This information will also provide guidance on which legal entity or entities are to fulfill the Legal Requirement for Certification, and will be used to establish an assessment reporting and verification timeline. At the end of this step, B Lab will provide a detailed Certification process memo, outlining requirements, process steps and fees required for the company to certify as a B Corp. 

For more information on Scoping see here.

 
Assessment & Improvement

In this stage of the certification process, a company begins reporting and managing its impacts via the necessary B Impact Assessment(s), and integrates operational improvements if/as needed. The company must score above 80 points on the BIA overall and will need to dedicate both time and resources to making score improvements as necessary.

 

Verification

As a company approaches or exceeds 80 points on the BIA, and is ready to submit its BIA(s) for score verification, B Lab will work with the company to verify each B Impact Assessment score through Assessment Review Call(s), supporting documentation and/or Site Reviews at B Lab’s discretion.

 
Certification

Upon achieving B Corp Performance Requirements as verified by B Lab, a company will be issued their B Corp Agreement, which contains the terms and conditions of its Certified B Corporation status, including the conditions of its ongoing recertification. Conditions for large companies typically include: 

  • Completing the B Corp Legal Requirement (see below) 
  • Incremental transparency on the company’s B Corp Profile 
  • Site Reviews

Once the B Corp Agreement is signed, the company will receive guidance on communication for the announcement of its certification as well as access support and materials exclusive to B Corps.  
 

Companies with subsidiaries

Regardless of whether your full organization is ready to certify today, you may want to begin engaging in the B Corp movement by certifying a subsidiary well suited for B Corp Certification. The subsidiary can then champion the value of the B Corp movement within the company, while providing a credible platform from which the parent can project leadership publicly.

There are a wealth of examples of partnerships between B Corp subsidiaries and parent companies. See ‘Examples’ section below for more detail.

Examples of large companies with Certified B Corp subsidiaries:

  • Unilever: Ben & Jerry’s and Seventh Generation
  • Danone: Happy Family
  • Proctor & Gamble: New Chapter

eligibility and requirements for subsidiaries

Adopt Benefit Corporation Governance  

B Lab promotes mission-aligned legal structures like the benefit corporation that join the interests of business with those of society. B Lab collaborates with businesses, the capital markets, and policymakers to drive adoption of these structures around the world.

Adopting the benefit corporation legal form (or other similar governance structure based on your corporate form and geography) creates a solid foundation for long-term mission alignment and value creation. It protects mission through capital raises and leadership changes and provides legal protection to balance financial and non-financial interests when making decisions—even for publicly traded companies. There are over 5,000 benefit corporations around the world, including large and public companies like Laureate Education and Danone North America.

Certified B Corporations are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on all their stakeholders as part of the terms of their Certification. The B Corp legal framework helps companies protect mission through capital raises and leadership changes and gives entrepreneurs and directors more flexibility when evaluating potential sale and liquidity options.

In order to certify, companies also sign their B Corp Agreement, which commits them to meeting the legal requirement. However, in acknowledgment of the fact that changing corporate structure or articles takes time, B Lab allows a grace period for companies to complete the legal requirement after Certification is complete, the length of which varies depending on structure and location.

The legal requirement can be fulfilled through a variety of structures, from LLCs and traditional corporations to benefit corporations and cooperatives. To learn the legal requirement and B Corp Agreement for your company’s particular structure and location, use our Legal Requirement Tool.

VIEW LEGAL REQUIREMENTS

Manage + Improve your Impact

B Lab offers a suite of integrated tools to help large companies measure and manage their impact easily and efficiently, whether or not they are on the path to B Corp Certification.

With B Impact Management tools, your internal teams or subsidiaries can understand and celebrate impact performance and create plans to improve. The tools can also be used with suppliers and customers, providing a practical way to engage your stakeholders around your corporate values.

CASE STUDY

Examples of Large Company Engagement

 

Northwest Permanente (NWP) is proud to be the first physician organization in the world to become certified as a B Corp. Members of the NWP Board of Directors learned of the B Corp Certification in 2015. The process to become a certified B Corp took less than two years from ideation to actual certification. NWP worked not only with its operational team but also built a proposal for its over 600 physician shareholders.

Changing the medical group’s Articles of Incorporation to meet the legal requirement for Certification required a vote of 75 percent of shareholders and approval by 75 percent of those voting. Once that vote was accomplished in September 2016, NWP achieved official B Corp status. In January 2017, NWP officially filed with the State of Oregon as a Benefit Corporation. NWP’s priority is to attend and participate in B Corp events to meet other B Corps. When the physicians and staff of NWP get engaged in the community, they demonstrate core values and, in the process, enhance their brand awareness and reputation. This is important for attracting the best new physicians and staff, as well as attracting more people to consider receiving their health care from their clinically excellent, compassionate, and community-minded physicians. After all, transforming health and health care and improving the communities in which they serve is core to the NWP mission.

 

Laureate Education is the largest global network of degree-granting higher education institutions, with more than a million students enrolled on more than 200 campuses at 88 institutions in 28 countries. Laureate adopted the benefit corporation legal structure and in 2015 became certified as a B Corporation. In 2017, Laureate completed an initial public offering, making it the first benefit corporation to ever go public. By doing so, Laureate and its shareholders have rejected the market paradigm of shareholder primacy by going public as a new type of corporate entity designed to treat customers, employees, and communities as the shareholders’ partners, rather than as interests to be managed for maximum financial gain.

When Laureate began the B Corp Certification process in 2014, it quickly became clear that managing the process for nearly 50 subsidiaries was going to be complicated. Laureate utilized B Lab's Impact Management tools, including B Analytics, as a project management solution. B Analytics helped Laureate track the completion progress of each of its subsidiaries through the B Impact Assessment and let them quickly gauge how close they were as a whole to the performance threshold required for Certification.

 

 

When Australian-based Intrepid Group committed to becoming a Certified B Corporation, its leaders realized they would need some help getting through the certification process given the organization’s complex structure. Intrepid Group has more than 20 subsidiaries around the globe, each of which must complete the B Impact Assessment (BIA) in order to certify the parent company.

Intrepid Group’s B Corp Project team, an internal group with members from across the organization, is charged with shepherding the company through the certification process. The B Analytics platform has given the team visibility over each subsidiary’s progress toward completing the BIA and its preliminary scores. Geoff Manchester, Co-Founder and Director, says, “Thanks to B Analytics, we can easily understand where each of our subsidiaries are in the BIA, how they’re performing, and generate our aggregated BIA score to know how close we are to our goal of certification.”

B Analytics also helps Intrepid Group identify the areas for improvement that have the most positive impact on the organization’s overall score. When a subsidiary makes changes that impact its individual BIA score, the parent company can directly see the impact it has on the company-wide score, making the process easier to manage.

 

Contact us by filling out the form below and our team will be in touch shortly to discuss your goals and determine what engagement makes sense for your business.