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How to Power Through the B Corp Finish Line

Words by Ryan Honeyman
Leadership & Transparency

This is a weekly series of excerpts from the new book “The B Corp Handbook: How to Use Business as a Force for Good (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, October 13, 2014). Click here to read the rest of the excerpts.

By Ryan Honeyman

Our series continues with the next installment of a six-week, turbocharged Quick Start Guide to becoming a Certified B Corporation.

Week one focused on getting a baseline assessment of your social and environmental performance; week two focused on motivating and engaging your team; week three was about creating an action plan for B Corp certification; and week four discussed how you can raise your B Corp assessment score.

Week Five: Fine tune your assessment score

Time estimate: One to five hours

OBJECTIVE: As your team is working through the action plan, keep track of your improvements by inserting your data into the B Impact Assessment. This will give you an updated score.

END RESULT: A recalculated and refined B Impact Assessment score.

1. Ready to tackle bigger items?

Depending on the measures you have implemented, the difficulty of those measures, and the results of the phone review with a B Lab staff member, your score may have improved since your initial assessment results. Now is a good time to reconnect with the key internal stakeholders in your company, such as the people you invited to the summit during week two.

Update these key stakeholders on your progress so far and have a conversation about the remaining (and possibly bigger) action items on your list. If you have not done so already, have a discussion about whether your company is interested in becoming a Certified B Corporation.

2. Next steps for B Corp certification

After the phone review, did your score remain above 80 points? If your score dropped below 80, go back to the Improve Your Impact section in the B Impact Assessment to identify practices that can raise your score. The B Lab staff can give you recommendations to help you identify any low-hanging fruit. If your score stayed above 80, however, you can start submitting supporting documentation to verify your responses.

3. Submit supporting documentation

After a B Lab staff member moves your assessment to the next stage of the review process, the B Impact Assessment will randomly select eight to twelve heavily weighted questions and ask you to submit supporting documentation to verify your responses. For example, if you said you have an environmental purchasing policy, B Lab’s staff may ask you to upload that policy to the B Impact Assessment for review. Usually, the most heavily weighted questions are selected for verification. If your company is not able to verify a particular answer, the answer is changed and the credit is removed.

4. Make it official

If the B Lab staff does not have any further questions about your uploaded documents, you are nearly finished. B Lab will send you an electronic version of the B Corp terms and conditions and the B Corporation Declaration of Interdependence and will ask you to pay the applicable B Corp certification fee.

Ryan's Tip: Remind your staff to save any notes they have on why and how they answered certain questions on the assessment. These notes will come in handy if your company decides to become a B Corporation and you are asked to produce evidence of your practices.

Coming next week: Week Six: Celebrate and Next Steps

Image credit: B Lab

Ryan Honeyman is a sustainability consultant, executive coach, keynote speaker, and author of The B Corp Handbook: How to Use Business as a Force for Good. Ryan helps businesses save money, improve employee satisfaction, and increase brand value by helping them maximize the value of their sustainability efforts, including helping companies certify and thrive as B Corps. His clients include Ben & Jerry’s, Klean Kanteen, Nutiva, McEvoy Ranch, Opticos Design, CleanWell, Exygy, and the Filene Research Institute.

To get exclusive updates and free resources about the B Corp movement, sign up for Ryan’s monthly newsletter. You can also visit honeymanconsulting.com or follow Ryan on Twitter:@honeymanconsult.