In celebration of B Corp Month Lloyd Atkin, MD of green cleaning company Bio-D, shares his insights into the process of securing B Corp status.
Certified B Corporation (B Corp) describes itself as a movement of companies that are committed to changing how businesses operate, with those achieving the prestigious status meeting the highest standards of both social and environmental impact.
With only one in three businesses that apply for B Corp accreditation being successful, there are less than 7,000 companies that have secured the certification, with just 1,581 of these located in the UK.
Why Bio-D applied for B Corp certification
There is so much greenwashing in the cleaning industry, so securing B Corp status was a way for us to prove to our customers, partners and suppliers that we are what we say we are, that we are a sustainable cleaning brand through and through.
B Corp is prestigious, it’s the top of the top in sustainability within the industry. It’s a great way to prove that we are environmentally friendly, we’re not just about making a profit – we truly care about the planet.
The B Corp recognition process
The process can be long. After completing our initial B Impact Assessment (BIA) we had to wait our turn in the queue for a year due to the fierce demand for certification.
Then the real challenges started – as part of the auditing process we had many requests for supporting data on everything from Green Pensions to packaging design, and from raw material certification to what white appliances are used on site.
Every element of the business was examined, including our manufacturing processes, office operations and product ingredients – the depth of data required was both daunting and impressive and, again, emphasized the importance of the certification.
How long it took
Bio-D’s B Corp process began back in February 2020 and on 25 January 2022 the company signed the B Corp Agreement and officially became B Corp Certified.
Points to be aware of for companies considering applying
The application questions can differ depending upon the type of business; some are more relevant to manufacturers and some to an office environment, for example.
You are audited to the highest standards – no stone is left unturned during the application process.
Following certification, you have to submit an impact report and associated documents every year to renew the accreditation.
What next for Bio-D’s B Corp journey?
We are always pushing to improve our sustainability credentials and our B Corp journey is far from over. We are delighted that our B Corp score has increased by 5% over the past year; this is a step in the right direction to meet our target re-certification score of 95 by 2025.
To become B Corp certified, a business has to achieve a minimum score of 80 in the BIA. The average score for a business is 50.9.
We knew what we needed to work on as our previous BIA gave us ideas of where we needed to improve, so we were able to use this valuable information to increase our score.
Top tips for other businesses:
B Corp isn’t for the faint-hearted
Be prepared for the amount of data needed to prove and verify your efforts
Completing B Corp’s BIA can give you an idea of your potential score before you officially apply, so you can gauge how many improvements you may need to make before starting the official process
Make sure you have the business capacity to work on the application. Don’t start it at your busiest time of year, for example, as the application questions have deadlines which must be met
Don’t be put off – if you can withstand the scrutiny, believe in what you’re doing and want to be part of a prestigious global movement to help our planet, go for it!
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