Solar companies are inherently mission-driven, but often fail to leverage this strength. One way to promote your mission is by earning your B Corp Certification. In our last post, we discussed the many benefits of B Corp Certification. In this post, we’ll walk you through the process of getting certified.
For more stories about marketing for sustainability and other purpose-driven businesses, sign up for the Bright Ideas newsletter.
Here’s a quick mental exercise: Think about the business your company is in — what are you really selling? Is it a product, a service, or is it something else entirely?
For those of us in the business of solar and sustainability, we’re lucky. The solutions we’re selling deliver a host of socially-oriented benefits: cutting carbon emissions, saving money, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, and that insignificant goal of helping save the planet.
But how well are you getting your message across?
Companies that are B Corp certified can raise awareness of their efforts to use their business as a force for good.
Determining Your Eligibility for B Corp Certification
Determining your Certified B Corp eligibility is in itself a positive step, as you’ll be able to take a snapshot of what you are doing well and identify areas for improvement. B Lab, the organization that grants B Corp Certification, provides guidance on the three steps to take to apply:
- Complete the B Impact Assessment (BIA)
The B Impact Assessment (BIA) is a free, confidential platform designed to help measure and manage your company’s positive impact on your workers, community, customers and environment. The BIA assesses the impact of both your company’s day-to-day operations and your business model — both what you do and how you do it. Your responses to the B Impact Assessment determine your total numeric score. B Corp Certification requires a minimum verified total score of 80 across all impact areas. Link to Sample Questions | Link to Sample Disclosure Questionnaire
The B Impact Assessment is free and only takes about 90 minutes to complete.
- Meet the Legal Requirement
Certified B corporations are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on all their stakeholders. B Corps do this by updating their articles of incorporation, reincorporating as a Benefit Corporations, or making other structural changes. The Certified B Corp legal framework helps companies protect their mission through capital raises and leadership changes and gives entrepreneurs and directors more flexibility when evaluating potential sale and liquidity options.Learn more about determining your company’s legal requirement.
- Verification and Transparency
After completing the B Impact Assessment, you will undergo a verification process to determine if your company meets the 80-point bar for certification. This will be conducted by a B Lab analyst over the phone or in person, depending on your company size. Your company also must meet certain transparency requirements to become a Certified B Corp, as laid out in the B Corp Agreement. You will complete the process by signing the Declaration of Interdependence and associated documents.
While You are Waiting: Pending B Corp Status for New Businesses
One requirement of the B Corp Certification process is that only companies that have been in operation for at least 12 months are eligible. If you are a newbie, don’t fret, you can still get a provisional status (aka Pending B Corp Status) by doing the following:
Go through the B Impact Assessment with best estimate answers and meet the legal requirement for certification. With a $500 fee, B Lab grants the company use of the Certified B Corp: Pending intellectual property to help them publicly communicate their commitment.
Need additional info? Here is a link to guide you through the B Corp Certification process.
Need help becoming a Certified B Corp?
If this all feels a bit overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. Clean Power Marketing Group can guide you through the process. Contact us for a free consultation to see how B Corp Certification can work for you and your business. It couldn’t “B” any easier. 🙂
Written by Zubin Segal and Nancy Edwards
Helpful Links and Resources
This is the official B Lab and B Corp Certification website. Learn about the eligibility requirements and access resources to get you started. Be sure to check out the B Corp Directory to see the range of companies with B Corp status. And sometimes nothing beats a good old fashioned phone call. You can easily get your questions answered by a B Lab staff member by calling their Main Line at (610) 293-0299.
Long-form articles with thought-provoking perspectives on the B Corp Certification. These articles are often written by B Corp recipients and include inspirational stories about how the B Corp has impacted businesses, individuals and the communities served. Well worth the click!
A handy side-by-side comparison of a B Corp vs. a Benefit Corporation. Simply put: The status of “Benefit Corporation” is granted by the state in which your company is headquartered (and is only recognized by 37 US States and US territories). The B Corp Certification is granted by the B Lab and is not bound by legal requirements needed to become a Benefit Corporation.
B Lab is partnering with the United Nations to develop a platform to use the B Impact Assessment to measure a company’s impact against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is a fantastic way to elevate your company on a global level, and create multinational partnerships.