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  • Writer's pictureChristina Sjahli

Doing Business Better: Navigating the Standards and Shifts for B Corp Certification

Updated: Nov 18, 2022

Are you passionate about positively affecting the world? If so, you likely already know a little about where to focus. Some fields include sustainability, ethical management, and more. But how do you measure your impact? Can you prove that your company is making a difference? An excellent standard and certification to aim for is becoming a certified B Corp. But there's more to becoming a B Corp than reaching a few targets. Becoming a B Corp is a clear, active, and ongoing commitment to positive change.

Carolina Miranda has extensive knowledge and experience on achieving B Corp Certification. She builds on her experience working with small businesses to implement sustainable and responsible practices. As the CEO of Cultivating Capital, she aims to create a better world by supporting better practices.

Challenges in Getting Certification

Businesses with few employees tend to believe their company is too small for B Corp Certification. However, small businesses make up the core of the B Corp community. While they do face challenges, small businesses are more agile.

The biggest challenge is capacity. “It’s just a reality for small businesses. You don’t have big teams. The CEO is also the sales manager, and sometimes the client representative. And they’re generally wearing multiple hats. Not just the CEO, but also everyone on their team,” Carolina explains.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. How can you make time to review everything your company is doing to get through the Impact Assessment?

  2. How can you identify the improvements that you need to make?

  3. How can you effectively put changes in place?

These things can be exceptionally challenging when you have multiple responsibilities. But having to wear multiple hats isn't necessarily a limiting factor. As Carolina says, “Capacity affects everything that a small business does.” You just need someone on the team that can focus on boosting your company's capacity.

Streamlining Processes

Once you get a B Corp Certification, you must keep the momentum going. Keeping up with the practices could be quite challenging. Carolina says, “You can check off the answer. You can upload documentation and get credit on the assessment. But then, you’re really committing to doing these things on an ongoing basis.”

You are committing to doing these assessments annually. Companies that do this effectively are the ones that integrate those practices regardless of size!

So, how can you do it?

  • Create an efficient system for reviewing your commitments annually.

  • Ensure that you reach the standards you want to meet.

  • Connect with the community to keep these practices and issues top of mind.

Keeping the Momentum Going

After certification, Cultivating Capital helps them keep their practices going by:

  • Educating the staff on what it means to be a B Corp.

  • Making sure that their B teams have the right people.

  • Putting together an action plan.

All these will help you engage with the Impact Assessment. It can also increase employee knowledge about what B Corp stands for. B Lab is tuning the new Impact Assessment. They want it to be flexible while letting clients know what to expect.

There will be at least one full certification cycle for existing B Corps to meet the new performance requirements. So it's crucial to look at these new standards and confirm you're acting to meet them. Cultivating Capital will build resources and support companies aiming to meet the new requirements.

Navigating the New Impact Assessment

For 15 years, B Corp certification meant just taking the Impact Assessment. You can get certification when you get at least 80 points across different fields. This system allows for varying paths to B Corp Certification.

But now, they are going through a significant change. Carolina explained, “B Lab is saying, for the first time ever, ‘Maybe we shouldn’t do it that way. Maybe we should actually have baseline practices that all B Corps are expected to do.’” B Lab identified ten core topics with specific requirements for each. It creates a more impactful set of practices for all B Corps.

Will the New BIA Affect Smaller B Corps?

Not necessarily.

A smaller company has limited capacity but is more agile. B Lab will contextualize the requirements. They are doing this by looking at what all companies should do based on their size and in general.

Preparing for the New Requirements

When you recertify, it won't be the same questions you answered the first time you applied for certification. Stay up to date with the new requirements and get familiar with them. Prepare for how these particular requirements affect you and learn to adapt your company around them.

“Even if, for whatever reason, some of these proposed requirements don’t become finalized, they’re all really good practices,” Carolina says. All these requirements help companies resolve issues and create a determined push toward a social impact. Incorporating them will do your company and the community good.

Why Hire Fractional Officers?

These new standards are primarily about how a company benefits the world. And that requires a level of expertise.

As Carolina states, “It’s not a good use of my time to try to learn everything that you already know how to do.” It's better to hire an expert in something you don't have the experience to do yourself.

A Fractional Chief Impact Officer understands the Impact Assessment. They understand how a company puts these practices into place. Hiring a fractional CFO provides similar benefits. Instead of spending time learning to be a financial officer, find someone who already has the skills. As a business owner, you have a set of skills that makes you good at what you do; focus on those skills instead.

Interested in learning more about Carolina’s work? Check out Cultivating Capital. You can also reach out to Carolina via LinkedIn.

If you want to grow your team to take your business to the next level, hire a fractional CFO! Our fractional CFOs learn about you and your mission because we don't want to provide just generic expertise. We aim to go above and beyond in what we provide by aligning our services with your vision. Schedule a discovery call with Profit Reimagined™ today to plan your next moves.


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