What is a B Corporation? What does the B stand for?
The B stands for “benefit”. Benefit corporations are traditional for-profit corporations that have committed to higher standards of purpose, accountability and transparency and are required to consider all stakeholders in their decisions
Purpose: Benefit corporations commit to creating public benefit and sustainable value in addition to generating profit. This sustainability is an integral part of their value proposition.
Accountability: Benefit corporations are committed to considering the company’s impact on society and the environment in order to create long-term sustainable value for all stakeholders.
Transparency: Benefit corporations are required to regularly report to shareholders on how the company is balancing these interests.
Certified B Corporations vs. Benefit Corporations
Not all benefit corporations are certified. Typically the abbreviation of “benefit” to “b” indicates that a company is certified based on the standards defined and regulated by the non-profit company, B Lab.
Benefit corporations may choose to be certified as B corporations as well, but there is no requirement to do so. Companies of any size, structure, or location may be certified as B Corporations.
Companies with current Certifications from B Lab are granted permission to display the Certified B Corporation emblem on their digital and physical brand collateral. To see the latest list of Certified B Corporations, view the B Corp Directory.
What are the required standards to maintain B Corporation Certification?
To be a Certified B Corp, a company is legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment and therefore, must meet a certain score on the B Impact Assessment, which measures a company’s impact on its workers, community, and environment.
The nonprofit company, B Lab, which serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good, manages initiatives such as: B Corp Certification, administration of the B Impact Management programs and software, and advocacy for governance structures like the benefit corporation. Learn more About B Lab.
Other Key Differences:
- Self-reported performance
- While many benefit corporations use the B Impact Assessment, benefit corporations do not need to reach a particular score, nor have their performance verified or audited by B Lab or anyone else
- Only available to corporations in 30 U.S. states and D.C.* (*Oregon and Maryland offer benefit LLC options)
- Requires state filing feeds from $70-$200
Certified B Corporations
- Legally required to achieve minimum verified score on B Impact Assessment
- Recertification required every three years against evolving standard
- B Lab is the certifying body and supporting 501c
- Available to every business regardless of corporate structure, state, or country of incorporation
- B Lab certification fees from $500 to $50,000/year, based on revenues