By Lauren Diggle
The B Impact Assessment or ‘BIA’ is a free tool being used by over 100,000 businesses across the world to measure what matters most. It’s powerful and rigorous and jam-packed with case studies, and it can also be, well – a lot.
Measuring your company’s impact on its workers, community, environment, and customers is not a simple task, and nor should it be. We need more businesses thinking and acting deeply in line with care for people and the planet, and the BIA is a comprehensive tool designed to help you do just that. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be moments when it feels all too overwhelming.
B Lab Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand’s Certification Analyst, Lauren, is fluent in the language of the BIA. And while she says it’s often only small things that need clarifying and adjusting once a company submits its assessment, there are definitely things you can do to make sure your BIA is in tip-top shape when you press the big red button.
Here are five things to double check before submitting your BIA:
1. Are your categories correct?
Businesses are not one size fits all, so neither is the BIA. When you first create your BIA, you are asked to select the location, size and sector of your company to help point you towards the right assessment for your business. Companies with headquarters in Australia or Aotearoa New Zealand are automatically selected into the Developed– Global market. Then there’s size – determined by a company’s full-time equivalent (FTE) workforce.
Lastly, sector – there are five to choose from, which will then help you select your industry. The five sectors are: manufacturing; wholesale and retail; agricultural growers; services with minor environmental footprint (e.g. marcomms agencies); and Services with major environmental footprint (think: hotels, major institutions). It is important to check that you have selected the correct categories to avoid adjustments later in the process.
If you’re unsure which categories to choose, head to the BIA set up page on our B Corp Guide to check your assessment track and update if needed.
2. Have you checked the two living wage questions in the workers section?
There are two living wage questions under the workers section of the assessment and we encourage Australian and New Zealand companies to click into the ‘learn more’ button on each question for guidance on whether your company is able to meet the criteria provided. You can learn more about how to answer these living wage questions here.
3. Have you met the B Corp purpose and stakeholder governance requirements?
To meet the requirements for certification in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, businesses must update their constitution to include two clauses: the purpose statement and the stakeholder clause. To help you complete this, we have a handy video on how to update your constitution or you can head to our ‘How-To-Guide for Meeting the purpose and stakeholder governance requirements’ and scroll down to the appendix for template clauses that you can draw from.
Once you have completed this, you can head to the ‘mission lock’ question in your BIA and upload a copy of your amended company constitution or governing documents (see: Appendix 5 of the how-to-guide for guidance) and you’ll be one step closer to certification!
4. Is your company details page complete?
This is one of those ‘must-do’ parts of the BIA, and because it will also be the first page your analyst will look at during your review, it is important to understand and complete it in as much detail as possible.
To nail your company details, of course we’ve got another handy video on company details or you can simply log into your BIA, click on the ‘Settings’ tab on the left hand side and you will find it there.
5. Have you enabled notifications?
We get it – you’re bombarded with notifications left, right and centre throughout the day, so the thought of turning notifications ‘on’ might feel a bit daunting. But in terms of notifications you might actually *want* to receive, we think updates on your BIA are the good kind! Be sure to check your ‘team members’ section in the BIA and enable notifications for the correct people in your team to receive updates once you submit.
If the road to better business is a thousand (carbon offset) miles, then the BIA is your perfect first step. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be tripped up at times by its rigour and nuance. A big thank you to our Certification Analyst, Lauren Diggle, for her insights.
As always, B Lab is here to guide you on your certification journey from start to finish. Visit our comprehensive ‘How To Guide To Becoming A B Corp’ and take that first (or next) step to better business.
Lauren Diggle (she/her)
Lauren is B Lab AANZ’s Certification Analyst, and your ‘go-to’ for all things certification and verification. Having spent time working with Slow Food USA in Colorado, she became passionate about food and sustainability, pursuing a Master of Environment and learning about B Corps and the movement for better business. Starting as an intern back in 2018, Lauren has become a critical part of our certification team and she loves learning from businesses about what makes them B Corp worthy.