Evolving the Standards for B Corp Certification: Why, What, and When

May 8, 2024

B Corp Certification Standards Evolve to Drive Continuous Impact Improvement

The Certified B Corporation community’s journey of continuous improvement includes the ongoing evolution of the standards for B Corp Certification. Since certification began in 2007, the standards have undergone revisions and are now in their sixth version. The latest evolution of the standards includes an overhaul of the existing structure and content — changes designed to raise the bar for businesses as they help address global challenges. 

Under the proposed standards, companies must demonstrate ongoing compliance with the outlined requirements and share progress on impact topic-specific plans and goals. The nine impact topics are designed to help companies deepen their social, environmental, and governance impact. 

As a recent article from B Lab Global noted, “B Corps are not claiming to be perfect companies, but instead are companies willing to measure their impacts, identify opportunities for improvement, and implement changes to drive incremental change over time. As such, globally, the B Corp movement is an embodiment of continuous improvement.”

B The Change compiled information from B Lab resources and events to outline why this standards revision is more transformative, what businesses can expect in the proposed standards, and when the updates are expected to affect them.

10 Things To Know About B Corps

Certifying as a B Corp is a major milestone and accomplishment — but it is just one part of a company’s ongoing impact improvement journey. This downloadable guide features information for people new to or curious about the Certified B Corporation community.


The Why: Charting a Course for Business Impact on Global Challenges

Two B Lab Global standards team members provided an update on the process and a timeline for the next steps at Champions Retreat 2024, the recent U.S. & Canadian B Corps gathering. Susmita Kamath, Standards Project Manager, said this evolution of the standards is more transformative than previous updates. “We launched this at the end of 2020 in response to the growing social and environmental crises that we are seeing across the world, with the intention of exploring the question, ‘What does leadership by businesses in this new world today look like?’” Kamath said.

Judy Rodrigues, Director of Standards, said the multi-year project has been a journey of evolution and collaboration. “It’s about listening and responding and making sure that we are creating something that’s impactful, clear, and attainable for what it means to be a B Corp and a leader in the marketplace as a force for good for people and the planet,” Rodrigues said.

The What: A Shift to Foundation Requirements and 9 Impact Topics

The proposed standards include foundation requirements and performance requirements. Rodrigues said the foundation requirements are designed to clarify what companies need at the beginning of the B Corp Certification process. Components of this include the legal requirement, eligibility, and risk assessments. “We want to have aspiring and existing B Corps understand they have to commit to the B Corp legal requirement, which is the stakeholder governance model, within a certain period of time,” she said. 

The foundation requirements also include determining whether a company has an impact business model and assessing how its model is performing. 

The performance requirements will apply to all B Corps and reflect a shift away from the 80-point minimum score on the B Impact Assessment. “We’re moving toward an approach where all B Corps will have to meet specific requirements across nine impact topics … and continuously improve upon their impact management across these environmental, social, and governance key topics,” Rodrigues said.

For each impact topic, companies will be expected to meet minimum requirements that are adjusted based on business characteristics such as size, sector, and location. These updates recognize that not all companies are starting from the same operating space and face different operational barriers, Rodrigues said. 

Learn more about each impact topic in these B Lab Global articles:

The proposed standards will include additional content to help support companies and provide a greater understanding of expectations and evaluation during B Corp Certification. Rodrigues said this includes compliance criteria, implementation guidance, and types of evidence needed during the verification process. 

The When: A Look at the Standards Development Target Timeline  

The second public consultation on the draft standards closed in late March and drew more than 1,000 responses from stakeholders around the world. B Lab Global aims to publish the finalized standards by the end of 2024. B Corps with a submission date in 2025 will recertify on the current standards. B Lab Global anticipates that businesses with a submission date after Jan. 1, 2026, will engage with the new standards as part of their recertification or certification.

Starting July 1, 2024, B Lab is asking most recertifying companies to submit their B Impact Assessment at least six months before their recertification due date. This new requirement is designed to help each company’s recertification process progress in a timely manner and ensure that certification is maintained in good standing.

Find more resources on B Corp Certification:

Watch the Champions Retreat 2024 Presentation

  • Stakeholder Economy

    ESG and B Corps: Speaking Up for Business as a Force for Good

    Read More
  • Person holding a computer tablet that shows a bar chart

    Business Strategy

    Impact Reports Map Progress and Opportunities for a Positive Difference

    Read More
  • B Corp Month

    Future-Proofing Business Through Impact Improvement

    Read More
  • Business Strategy

    B Consultants Help Build B Corp Community and Impact

    Read More

Sign Up for our B The Change Newsletter

Read stories on the B Corp Movement and people using business as a force for good. The B The Change Newsletter is sent weekly on Fridays.