Cove Increases Score on B Corp Re-certification
We are excited to have completed and successfully passed the B Impact Assessment for the second time. Our first certification as a B Corp was in December of 2016 with a score of 83.5 . We are proud to have been able to increase our score to 89 points through improvements in our social and environmental performance.
Here’s what the process involves:
Completing the B Impact Assessment
To fulfill the performance requirement for B Corp Certification, a company must complete the B Impact Assessment. 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.
The Disclosure Questionnaire is the final series of questions your company will answer in the B Impact Assessment.
While the B Corp Certification is primarily based on assessing a business’s positive impact, material negative impacts are also considered through the Disclosure Questionnaire, background checks, and a public complaint process. The Disclosure Questionnaire allows the company to confidentially disclose to B Lab any sensitive practices, fines, and sanctions related to the company or its partners. Responses to the Disclosure Questionnaire do not affect a company’s numerical score on the B Impact Assessment.
Meeting the Legal Requirement
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.
The legal requirement:
- Gives legal protection to directors and officers to consider the interests of all stakeholders, not just shareholders, when making decisions;
- Creates additional rights for shareholders to hold directors and officers accountable to consider these interests; and
- Limits these expanded rights to shareholders exclusively.
In order to certify, companies also sign their B Corp Agreement, which commits them to meeting the legal requirement. However, in acknowledgement 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.
Verification and Transparency
After completing the B Impact Assessment, companies undergo a multi-step verification process to determine if they meet the 80-point bar for Certification. Companies also must meet certain transparency requirements to become Certified B Corps, as laid out in the B Corp Agreement.
Score Verification, Documentation & Assessment Review
Submit the B Impact Assessment
Completing the B Impact Assessment and Disclosure Questionnaire and Submit to request an Assessment Review.
Schedule an Assessment Review and Submit Initial Documentation
A B Lab Standards Analyst will reach out to confirm your Submission and some details about your business. From there, you may* schedule a time to review the B Impact Assessment over the phone. The wait time between assessment submission and the assessment review varies depending on volume in which companies have time to present supporting documentation to validate their assessment responses. Once the Assessment Review is scheduled, a company must upload supporting documentation for six to fifteen randomly selected questions related to company operations. These documents must be provided before the Assessment Review takes place, otherwise B Lab may postpone the call until documentation has been provided.
Complete an Assessment Review
If required, an Assessment Review call typically takes 60 to 90 minutes. This is a time for the company and a B Lab Standards Analyst to review questions or answers that may have been unclear and adjust the self-assessment to ensure that it captures the company’s unique circumstances and impact as accurately as possible. This call typically results in score adjustments.
Submit Additional Documentation
After the review, an additional one to six responses focused on the company’s business model will be selected for documentation. At this time, B Lab also reserves the right to ask for clarifying documents based on the initial review. Some back-and-forth is common following the review call and on average an additional one to three weeks may be required to resolve any outstanding questions about documentation.
Companies pursuing Certification are subject to background checks by B Lab staff. Background checks include a review of public records, news sources, and search engines for company names, brands, executives/founders, and other relevant topics. The results of background checks undergo the same review process as items selected in the Disclosure Questionnaire.
If the company’s score is 80 points or above after the verification process, then the performance requirement has been fulfilled.
Each year, 10 percent of Certified B Corporations are selected for an in-depth Site Review. The companies that undergo Site Review each year include Certified B Corps who are randomly selected and those that are required to undergo an annual Site Review as part of expanded terms of Certification. Site Reviews take place virtually or on-site at the discretion of the B Lab team.
This component of the B Corp Certification is critical in maintaining the credibility of the Certified B Corp Seal. Our goal for this review is to verify the requirements of the Certification and further confirm the accuracy of affirmative responses in the company’s B Impact Assessment. The Site Review will take place either in-person or virtually and typically takes between 6-10 hours depending on the size and scope of business.
In order to maintain B Corporation Certification, a company must update their assessment every three years, provide additional documentation to verify their answers, and achieve at least 80 out of 200 available points. This process ensures that companies who become certified B Corporations continue to engage in a high level of impact with their stakeholders, even as the business grows or changes. The B Impact Assessment is updated every three years; recertification gives companies the opportunity to set improvement goals against the most-up-to-date standards and benchmark their performance over time.
All Certified B Corps share their B Impact Report publicly on their B Impact Reports on bcorporation.net. The B Impact Report is the summary of a company’s scores on the B Impact Assessment by category and contains no question-level information.