How Good.Lab Lives Its Values as a Certified B Corporation™

Since we first announced that we became a Certified B Corporation™ in 2022 we’ve been on a mission to create a more equitable and sustainable economy through our client work. Being a B Corp is an integral part of our identity at Good.Lab and the way we operate everyday. We pride ourselves on being a company motivated by more than financial return and being part of the B Corp movement to change our economic system. Of course, we’re building a business, however we want to live our values through our own ESG journey and invite 10,000 more companies along the path.

Becoming a B Corp and achieving our certification was more than a checkbox activity for us and likely for many of you out there weighing the value of this certification for your business.

In this blog, we’ll walk you through our journey to becoming a B Corp, what this certification means to us, the challenges we faced in becoming one, why we chose to be a B Corp over other accreditations, how it shapes our daily operations, and how it helps us fulfill our social and environmental commitments. We hope it helps you glean a bit more about what you can expect if your company endeavors on B Corp Certification.

Becoming A Certified B Corporation

B Corp Certification was created by B Lab, a not-for-profit started in 2006 with the goal of transforming the global economy into one that benefits all people and our environment. Getting certified isn’t easy and isn’t meant to be, either. The rigorous process involves sustainability professionals meticulously evaluating companies’ operations by asking a series of Operations and Impact Business Model questions through a B Impact Assessment.

 B Corp Operations and Impact Business Model Questions

The B Impact Assessment asks almost 200 questions split into Operations and Impact Business Model to get a holistic view of a company’s sustainability credentials. Here is why each is crucial:  

  1. Operations: This section evaluates the internal practices of a company, ranging from employee benefits to environmental footprint. The focus is on ensuring that the company’s day-to-day activities are aligned with B Corp’s ethical and sustainability standards.
  2. Impact Business Model: This part scrutinizes the company’s actual product or service, assessing the broader impact it has on society and the environment. It questions whether the core business activities contribute to social good or reduce environmental harm.

Companies that excel in both spheres demonstrate a truly integrated approach to social and environmental responsibility and long-term sustainability, making it more likely for them to achieve the certification.

B Impact Assessment themes and questions.

Companies need a combined score above 80 across all the categories of Governance, Workers, Community, Environment, and Customers to achieve B Certification. A median score for businesses who complete the assessment is 50.9, showing just how hard it is for companies to get the B Corp certification and the major achievement of Good.Lab getting our 81.3 passing score.

We are proud that our B Corp certification puts us in the company of ESG leaders across all business segments, and we’re determined to continue ‘eating our own cooking’ to improve our score.

Ted Grozier, Chief Sustainability Officer & Principal, Good.Lab
Good.Lab B Corp Score

Challenges in the B Corp Certification Process

Becoming a Certified B Corporation (B Corp) is a significant commitment reflecting a company’s dedication to social and environmental responsibility. While this certification can provide numerous benefits, there are several challenges that companies should prepare for as they evaluate certification:  

  1. Onerous ESG Data Requirements: B Corp certification demands a lot of ESG data collection in various aspects of the business under the three main groups:
    • Environmental Data: This includes data about the company’s environmental management and its impact on the air, climate, water, land, and biodiversity. This section recognizes companies that sell products or services with a positive environmental impact.
    • Governance Data: This section includes data about the company’s overall missions and how they treat social/environmental impact, ethics, and transparency.
    • Social Data: This includes data about the company’s workers, community, and customers. How they treat the financial, mental, and physical wellness of their employees. Whether they consider diversity, equity, and inclusion, manage their supply chain, and if they consider the stewardship of their customers with their products and services.
  2. Cultural and Organizational Misalignment: Achieving B Corp certification often requires a cultural shift and buy-in from company leadership. This can be challenging, particularly if there is resistance from certain stakeholders and conflicts of interest with other parts of the business.
  3. Ongoing Reporting and Certification Maintenance: The certification is not a one-off event but requires ongoing adherence to the standards and periodic recertification. Once certified, B Corps must continue meeting established standards and regularly report on their progress, requiring ongoing ESG data collection.
  4. Certification Costs: There are costs associated with the certification process itself, including application fees, which range from $2,000-$50,000 depending on the company’s size, and potential expenses for consultants or outside experts to guide the process. For some companies, the application fee and costs associated with ESG data collection might be a significant barrier.

The process of becoming and maintaining the status as a B Corp can be a challenging but worthwhile endeavor. It requires a deep and ongoing commitment to certain standards and principles, which may necessitate substantial changes in the business, and gives companies the credibility to say they are walking the walk and enables more engagement with consumers, employees other stakeholders.

B Corp versus other Sustainability Certifications and ESG Endeavors

B Corp Certification is widely regarded as a leading standard for companies committed to social and environmental responsibility. However, there are other certifications and standards that address more specific aspects of sustainability, ethics, and social responsibility. Here’s a look at some other highly-ranked business certifications:

  • SA8000 certification focuses specifically on social accountability and human rights in the workplace.
  • LEED Certification is for companies that want to certify their building projects as sustainable. (Good.Lab operates under a 100%-remote business model.)
  • Cradle to Cradle Certification emphasizes the sustainability of a product’s lifecycle, from raw material sourcing to end-of-life disposal or recycling.
  • Green Seal is an eco-label that signifies a commitment to environmental responsibility in product manufacturing.

Many companies are pursuing these certifications for their products and buildings, specifically for the major buying organizations they supply.  Companies like Amazon and Target prefer suppliers with certified sustainable products to ensure they are improving their own supply chain sustainability. However, B Corp certification is considered the gold standard of sustainability certification above all of these others because it is the most comprehensive of all certifications, evaluating a company’s entire social, environmental, and governance performance.

B Corp Certification also requires companies to formally change their governance model to ensure that they consider the interests of all stakeholders, not just shareholders. B Corps are required to publish regular detailed reports about their ESG performance, ensuring a high level of transparency and accountability. Finally, B Corps must undergo recertification every three years, ensuring that ESG is embedded deeply in the company.

In summary, B Corp Certification is often considered the gold standard because of its comprehensive, transparent, and continued improvement approach, making it a unique and powerful standard in the field of corporate responsibility.

How B Corp Certification Helps Us Live our Values at Good.Lab

Good.Lab team taking part in a beach clean up in San Diego
The Good.Lab Team at a beach cleanup in San Diego with the Surfrider Foundation

As an impact mission-driven and now B Corp Certified company, we always look for ways to live our values. Here are just some examples of how we live our commitment to minimizing our social and environmental impact:

  • Emissions Reductions: Despite having a negligible carbon footprint of 25.16 metric tons – approximately equivalent to the emissions of five U.S. passenger vehicles, most of which come from business travel, we remain steadfast in trying to reduce that number. We are very thoughtful about our daily offices and where we meet in person, ensuring our employees can travel with the least amount of emissions.
  • Volunteer Work: We make sure to take time to give back to the planet or community we are in. At our in-person offsite meetings, the latest of which took place in San Diego, the team took part in a beach clean-up. We also offer our employees quarterly time off to volunteer, where they get paid leave to do any volunteering they wish.
  • Philanthropic Endeavors: We are a 1% for the Planet company. We have given 1% of our gross receipts to charity from day one. Plus, we do a 3-to-1 match on donations up to $10,000 to a charity of our employee’s choosing.
  • Customer Work: Our work with our clients empowers them to improve their ESG performance is why we exist. It is where we can be most impactful. We are always iterating on our services and software to drive the biggest possible impact for our customers and our mission to bring 10,000 companies along on this journey.

Our B Corp Certification validates all this great work we have been doing and enables us to go to our stakeholders with them, knowing we are living our values.

How We Help Our Clients Certify As B Corps

After going through this process, we have become acquainted with what it takes to become a B Corp and have helped many of our clients lay the groundwork for their own efforts to go down this path. Here are three key steps to follow to get you on your way to becoming a Certified B Corp and how we can help:

  1. Understand the Requirements and Conduct an ESG Assessment: Familiarize yourself with the requirements of B Corp Certification by reviewing resources available on the B Lab website. Use B Labs’ free B impact assessment tool to assess your company’s current performance stands and identify areas that might need improvements to ensure B Corp Certification. We can help you determine what data to collect through our materiality assessment and benchmarking tool and aggregate all of that data on our platform.
  2. Engage With Key Stakeholders and Build Internal Support: Communicate the idea of pursuing B Corp Certification with key stakeholders within your organization, such as the C-suite board members and other employees, to get buy-in across the company. Create a cross-functional team across the company and develop goals and a timeline for pursuing certification, considering the areas identified for improvement in the self-assessment. Good.Lab’s experienced consultants can help you get alignment across all company stakeholders and help your executive team understand the benefits of B Corp Certification.
  3. Implement Initial Changes and Monitor Progress: Based on the self-assessment, select a few critical areas where changes can be made relatively easily that will have the most impact on B Corp Certification. Then, create a detailed action plan for implementing the necessary changes, including specific tasks, responsibilities, and deadlines. And monitor progress and address challenges toward final certification. Through baselining your current performance, our team of sustainability experts can help you build effective strategies to make the improvements you need to make to get certified and monitor your performance to ensure continued certification.

Beyond Profit: Good.Lab’s Social and Environmental Commitment

Reflecting on our first year as a Certified B Corporation has made us think even deeper about how we operate in our social and environmental commitments. It has helped us realize that although it the certification itself is a huge milestone, the real value was the journey to achieving this status and how it makes us think about how we operate as a company.

Becoming a Certified B Corporation is less about the badge of honor at the end and more about the transformative journey it sets u on. While the B Corp Certification is a significant achievement, the true value lies in the rigorous self-assessment and action it prompts, serving as a compass for making more sustainable, ethical, and impactful business decisions.

Lima Bossi, Chief Product Officer & Co-founder, Good.Lab

When we have to renew our certification three years after our certification was granted, we plan to further improve our score, set bold targets, and create new baselines to reduce our commitments. We are also determined to help our customers become Certified B Corp’s and contribute to their sustainable journey in any way we can.

If your company is looking to join a growing group of 6,000+ certified B Corps and verify your sustainability program. We can help you get there. Reach out to learn how!

Disclaimer: Good.Lab does not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice through this website. Our goal is to provide timely, research-informed material prepared by subject-matter experts and is for informational purposes only. All external references are linked directly in the text to trusted third-party sources.

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