Recertification: demonstrating continuous improvement on the B Corp journey
A one stop shop for working towards B Corp recertification
Author: Isabel McLennan, Impact Coordinator, B Lab UK
You may already be familiar with the basics of the recertification requirement; every three years, B Corps must work through the B Impact Assessment (BIA) to maintain a verified score of at least 80 points.
But it’s also so much more than that. Recertification is a unique opportunity for a business to have its assessment reviewed in depth by B Lab’s experts, to identify room for improvement and most of all, to celebrate developments and achievements since the last certification round. This blog covers everything there is to know for a business as they approach recertification, helping them make the most of the opportunity to achieve a new and improved score.
Why is recertification such an important part of being a B Corp?
B Lab is working to redefine the role of business so that companies play a leading role in transforming the global economy to one that is more inclusive, equitable, and regenerative. Recertification is the perfect opportunity for B Corps to showcase their journey of continuous improvement, and also meet updated requirements within the B Impact Assessment.
B Lab’s standards are evolving, with a new set of minimum requirements due for implementation in the coming years. B Corps and those in the process of certification will have sufficient time to prepare for the adoption of B Lab’s new standards. So whilst they shouldn't directly affect a company’s recertification, it's important to be mindful of the evolving standards, embracing continuous improvement and aiming for a great score increase.
How difficult is recertification?
Experiences on this front really do vary, but generally speaking, the recertification process will be easier than a company’s first certification round. It’s unlikely that a business will have to start the assessment from scratch; instead, activities will focus on updating previous answers to reflect performance in the intervening three years.
Nevertheless, it’s best to be prepared for a challenge; the B Impact Assessment is designed to be rigorous, and the process will take time and dedication. Whether it’s verifying the impact of new initiatives, meeting updated standards, or simply re-affirming existing activities, businesses should make sure they go into the process with eyes open — and with the understanding that scores can go down, as well as up.
Here’s how B Lab UK supports businesses through the process
From written guides to face-to-face sessions, there is a lot of guidance on offer. We recommend companies familiarise themselves with the process 9 months to a year before the recertification deadline — to enable plans around approach and capacity to be made well in advance.
As a starting point, check out our recertification 101 training. 11 short videos make up this 30 minute online course, which covers everything from timelines to top tips, core requirements to the review process. It’s an excellent place to begin for businesses keen to set themselves up for success.
Check out these top tips from B Corps who’ve been through the process
Tom Greenwood, Managing Director, Wholegrain Digital: “My top tip is to stay organised as you go along. Gather evidence gradually over time and file it neatly in one place, and ideally organise it in reference to each section of the assessment”.
Mike Bevens, Managing Director, Sawday’s: “It’s all in the planning! Set your objectives early and identify the areas you want to improve. Then get a good team around you to make it happen, allowing plenty of time (and if you are a small company with limited resources reach out to other B Corps for advice)”.
Nick Dean, CEO, ADLIB: “Publishing annual impact reports in the intervening years of recertification is a great way to clearly set out objectives and create a sense of accountability —- these really helped to guide us as we worked towards our recertification”.