How B Corp Certification Requirements Support a Brighter Future for All

By Maureen Wise Thinking Sustainably

March 29, 2023

When you're deciding what to buy, you probably want to support companies that share your values. You might research how they treat their employees, the planet, and the communities they serve. Understanding whether a business meets B Corp Certification requirements can make this process easier since they hold businesses accountable to high ethical standards.

Certified B Corporations, otherwise known as B Corps, are for-profit ventures committed to using their profits to promote a better future for all people. But what exactly are their standards, and what do they mean for you and the greater good of the world?

A bird's-eye view of a cluster of rooftop gardens.

B Corp Certification Requirements

B Lab, the nonprofit network behind B Corp Certification, recognizes that ""there's no Planet B."" Built upon the understanding that corporations can do a lot of good as well as a lot of harm, B Lab has been leading companies through the certification process since 2008 in an effort to solve some of society's most pressing challenges. There are currently over 6,500 B Corps in nearly 90 countries in over 160 industries.

B Lab encourages companies to prioritize the planet and its people over profit. To become a B Corp, a company is assessed in five categories: governance, workers, customers, community, and the environment. It must meet a score of at least 80 points on the B Impact Assessment, which evaluates a company's positive impact. The company must also pass a risk review that assesses its potential negative impact, and it must demonstrate that its corporate governance structure is accountable to all stakeholders (including customers, employees, communities, and the planet)—not just its shareholders.

Finally, the company must be transparent about its B Corp Certification assessment, as assessments are available to the public on B Lab's website. Certified B Corps have to recertify every three years or more often if the company's ownership changes or if its stocks go public.

How B Corps Meet Society's Shifting Values

Our values are evolving as a society. More and more, people want to work for companies invested in building a healthier, more equitable world. This means everything from offering all workers good working conditions, a living wage, and benefits to taking action toward climate justice.

In fact, a global survey reported that 71 percent of employees and people looking for jobs said environmentally and socially responsible companies are more attractive. Another study determined that Generation Z is the first generation of job-seekers to care more about a company's purpose than its salary. B Corp businesses establish a positive work culture and a strong sense of purpose. According to B Labs, the vast majority of B Corp employees are highly satisfied with where they work.

Whether a business has sustainable, just practices affects how people shop, too. Harris Poll research revealed that 82 percent of shoppers want a brand's values to match their own. These trends suggest that people increasingly care about what the companies they work for and buy from stand for.


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Holding Businesses Accountable: Why Corporate Responsibility Is Important

The B Corp Certification process holds businesses accountable to high standards, reflecting what's most important to consumers while pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a business. Because, while it's important to do your part in caring for the planet, the world isn't on your shoulders. Real change happens by examining the structures that do the most harm and figuring out how to use them for good.

Tom's of Maine earned its B Corp certification in 2019 and has always been committed to being gentle on the Earth, supporting nonprofits, and treating employees well. That's why Tom's is proud to announce its recertification in 2023. As more businesses join the ranks of B Corps worldwide, a more sustainable, equitable world is within reach.

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Why It's Good

B Corp certification is shifting the standards and expectations of how businesses operate by requiring that they consider their impact on the planet and its people.