To mark B Corp month we’ll be diving into each of the five sections of the B Impact Assessment (BIA). The final guide concerns Governance.
The Governance Section is all about the fundamental building blocks of your company: who owns it, where you operate, how open you are, and most importantly: what the point of your business is and who knows about it. It’s really the foundation that supports the other sections, and, as a set of questions, it will help you to define yourself both as an entity and how you fit into the wider world.
Let’s take a look at what’s involved:
Mission and Engagement
It has to start with your mission. The very first question in the whole BIA is about how your business creates a positive impact — and to give you a clue, if it doesn’t at all then maybe B Corp isn’t for you! You’ll be able to state your mission of course, but expect to explain how it’s more than just a simple tagline on your website. Although detailed analysis of your social and environmental performance is covered elsewhere, here you’ll be asked about what issues are material to your business and where the oversight and responsibility for that performance lies.
Ethics and Transparency
Company transparency is one of the fundamental principles of becoming a B Corp and all the questions here relate to what oversight your company has of itself. Most companies have a board of directors, and you’ll be asked how yours operates and what groups are represented on it. How you share your information, both with your staff and publicly, is covered as well as the controls you have in place to minimise wrongdoing. For example, the steps you have taken to prevent corruption or unethical practices.
This is a straightforward set of questions about company financial data, specifically your revenue and net income in the last 2 years. It is required for two reasons: firstly, points awarded for answers to some questions in other parts of the BIA are weighted relative to your overall revenue figures, and secondly it provides B Lab with background information about the types and sizes of businesses that make up the B Corp community. It is worth mentioning here that all company data and information you provide to satisfy the requirements of B Corp certification is secure and confidential.
Just a single question, but perhaps the most important one in the whole assessment. This is where you record the legal change you have made to your business to consider all stakeholders in your decision making. It’s a key part of being held publicly accountable. There’s a reason why your answer could be worth 10 pts — by far the most for a single question. We’ll be exploring what this means in more detail in a future guide.
A dose of inspiration
To round off our final guide rather than talk about a specific B Corp we thought we’d tell you about how the movement as a whole seeks to have a wider collective influence - the Better Business Act. We think it's so important we've written a separate post about it!