B Corp environmental requirements are driving more and more businesses to seek Green Small Business certification. More and more of our clients are using Green Small Business as a way of meeting the environmental issues raised in their B Impact Assessments. This short article provides a brief overview of what B Corp is all about and how Green Small Business can help.
What is B Corp?
The B Corp movement is huge and its momentum is growing. B Corps (‘certified B Corporations’ to be precise) are ‘businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose’. Big companies you will have heard of are B Corps (Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, Danone and more), as are a myriad of smaller companies that will not yet have crossed your path. The number of certified B Corps is growing at a rapid rate, as evidenced by the current warning of certification delays on the B Corp website. The movement is truly capturing the shift in business toward ‘people, planet and profit’.
What are B Corp environmental requirements?
B Corp certification can be achieved by businesses of any size, from start-ups to multinationals. The process of achieving it starts with the completion of the B Impact Assessment, an assessment which spans community, customers, workers, environment and governance. The B Corp environmental requirements are tailored to the size and type of business but would typically cover: transportation, the environmental impact of supply chains and the impact (positive or negative) of the company’s products and services. Businesses could be asked about whether they conduct environmental reviews/audits and how these are shared, what action they have taken to improve energy or resource efficiency, whether they have installed renewable energy generation etc.
How we help
The Green Small Business process is supporting a number of business to meet B Corp environmental requirements. Through conducting a light-touch but systematic review of the environmental impacts of a business, we identify where action needs to be taken and where priorities should lie. We then provide a tailored environmental policy that can be used to communicate environmental priorities to customers, staff and others. The policy is accompanied by a practical environmental action plan, which provides a clear and structured route for the business to deliver the policy and improve environmental performance. With the environmental policy and action plan in place, the business is then eligible for Green Small Business certification. This is a way of improving the environmental credentials of your business, which is helpful for B Corp certification but also increasingly essential for competing in today’s market.
Richard Hatfield, founder of e-commerce start-up Ventorq, outlined how Green Small Business was helping his business:
“As a small start-up, the requirements of B Corp can feel a bit overwhelming. We needed a simple but robust way of addressing our environmental impacts and identifying ways to improve. Green Small Business provided exactly what we needed. As well as helping us with our B Corp plans, Green Small Business certification helps to position Ventorq as a trustworthy and responsible business that does not place profit above ethics.”
Check out these examples of businesses that have already gained Green Small Business certification.