Frequently Asked Questions

Who develops the standards?

The standards are created and revised by the Standards Advisory Council (SAC), a group of independent experts in business and academia.  Learn more about SAC members and their role, here

Although the SAC creates the standards, we invite all interested to provide feedback to the standards. The best way to submit your feedback is to log into the B Impact Assessment and select “Leave Feedback” next to each question. If you are interested in learning about updates and opportunities to provide feedback as drafts are made available for testing and public comment, please subscribe to our V6 distribution list.

The Assessment also goes through a private and public beta period in which feedback is collected and integrated into final versions. Expert working groups are convened in order to explore our specific issues more closely in an objective manner. The Assessment is updated every three years in order to accommodate new and innovative practices, respond to the feedback of its users, and to more accurately assess the impact of all types of businesses.

In addition, B Lab has Regional Advisory Groups whose mandate is to deepen the engagement of regional experts in improving the Standards of the B Impact Assessment. Currently, B Lab has advisory groups in Latin America, East Africa, Australia and UK which provide constructive feedback and recommendations to B Lab and our Standards Advisory Council ( SAC) on regional specific issues. Learn more about the Regional Advisory Groups members here.

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How long does the Assessment take?

For most small businesses, the Assessment normally takes between 1-3 hours to complete a rough baseline. The time involved largely depends on the size, age, and complexity (number of operating locations) of your company. For your convenience the assessment can be saved and revisited at anytime to allow for easy access.

We strongly encourage that you estimate your answers the first time or mark questions as "Revisit This".

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Is there a version for small businesses?

Yes.  You will receive questions that are tailored to the size (number of employees) and type (sector) of business when you register on the B Impact Assessment.  Please indicate the appropriate number of employees at this time, so that we can provide you the most appropriate Assessment.  

Most businesses that use the B Impact Assessment are firms that have between 0 and 50 employees.

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What is considered a "good" score?

Any score higher than 0 points is a good score, as a positive score indicates that the company is doing something positive for society and the environment. The Assessment rewards practices that go beyond standard business practice; therefore, every point earned on the Assessment reflects incremental, positive impact.

Most companies score between 40 and 100 points out of the 200 points available. 

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It is important to note that every company has a different purpose for being in business – some intend to focus solely on making a return, while some intend to create social impact simultaneously with financial returns. There are three distinguishable types of businesses that perform differently on the Assessment based on their intent for being in business:

  • Ordinary Businesses – Whose primary objective in business is to generate high financial returns. They may be interested in the possibility of using their business to serve a higher purpose, but are not actively pursuing this objective.
  • Sustainable Businesses – Whose primary objective is to both pursue positive impact and generate returns. They may be actively pursuing their impact objectives, but may or may not have taken the steps to measure and evaluate how their business impact society and the environment.
  • B Corporations – Businesses that are primarily trying to solve a social or environmental issue through their enterprise. All B Corps measure their impact and achieve at least 80pts on the B Impact Assessment to validate that they have achieved a significant threshold of impact. They also expand their corporate duties to include the consideration of the interests of all stakeholders, not just shareholders. B Corps are typically focused on improving and sustaining their impact over time and generating profit simultaneously.
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How does this relate to other impact measurement systems?

In general, the B Impact Assessment provides a judgment (via an objective, comprehensive rating) on how significant a company’s current impact is.  The B Impact Assessment is commonly confused with reporting systems or definition frameworks that detail how a company should go about collecting that impact data, but not necessarily provide a judgment on how significant that company’s impact is.

For example, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) or IRIS are platforms that are likely to define specific way to report impact metrics;  As an example, they may define how to best report a company's carbon emissions, so that all carbon reports in the future can be easily comparable to each other (ie. Company X is responsible for producing 30,000lbs of carbon, based on its direct emissions from its plant and its electricity purchases).  IRIS and GRI definitions and reporting standards are a critical part of the B Impact Assessment.   

As a result, a GRI or IRIS indicator is more likely to tell you that the company is reporting its emissions according to best practice.  On the other hand, the B Impact Assessment aims to evaluate whether the company has either increased or decreased its emissions relative to the company’s revenues or relative to the practices of other businesses, because this disctinction helps a growing number of consumers, investors, and institutions who want to support businesses who put their values into action.

The B Impact Assessment simply builds upon the important work that other organizations and industry groups are doing to define and measure impact.

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Where can I see how many points each question is worth?

Because there are over 50 variations on the Assessment based on the size, industry, and geography of your company, each question is worth a slightly different amount for different businesses.

The best way to see the individual question weightings is by logging into the B Impact Assessment > Clicking “Step 3: Improve Your Impact” > Clicking “My Customized Improvement Guide.”   Click here to see the overall section weightings.

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What will I need to prepare before completing the Assessment?

Nothing.

For your first (baseline) Assessment, we recommend that you provide estimates for each answer and mark questions as “Revisit This” if you are unsure about your answer; you will find that this is the easiest way to complete and still get a rough B Impact Score.

Thereafter, it may be helpful to use the following to assist you in answering questions:

  • Company’s financials. It may be helpful to have either a Profit & Loss Statement or your accounting system (e.g. Quickbooks) open.
  • Vendor Ledger with amount spent in the 12 months. This will help you answer many questions related to Suppliers.
  • Product bill of materials or Client/Project list from the past 12 months. This may help answer many questions in the “Impact Business Models” section.
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Who in our company should complete the Assessment?

Anyone that is interested, regardless of their title or tenure with the company.

We recommend appointing one person as a lead; this individual typically completes a first draft of the Assessment and then convenes a supporting team to assist.

The most common types of individuals involved with the Assessment include CEOs, CFOs, HR Managers, COOs, Associates, Interns.

Employees who have less visibility into the operations of the company tend to be advocates for the idea of measuring what matters instead of direct contributors (ie. Marketing/Communications Director, Technology Dept, Quality Assurance, Designers, Board Members, etc).

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Where can I download a PDF of the Assessment?

Please tell us a bit more about the type and size of your business so that we generate a PDF version of the Assessment that is relevant to your business (there are well over 40 different versions of the Assessment).

Although the PDF is a good way to get oriented to the Assessment, we strongly recommend using the Assessment online. The online Assessment will provide definitions and examples for each question, a B Impact Report that is scored based on your company’s responses so that you can compare it against benchmarks.

Working online will also allow you to engage multiple employees to work on the same Assessment easily and allow you to save your work so that the data is not lost for future years.

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How much does the Assessment cost?

The Assessment is a free, public service provided by B Lab, a non-profit organization.

If your business is interested in becoming a Certified B Corporation, there is additional time and cost involved to verify your company’s practices with B Lab Staff.  Learn more about the time or cost involved in becoming a Certified B Corporation here»

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