It’s important to identify an appropriate and consistent time period for your answers to the B Impact Assessment, as it provides a “snapshot” of a company’s social and environmental performance at a given point in time. Most qualitative questions assess the current policies and practices that are in place at a company, and therefore immediate improvements can increase a company’s score. For example, in the question “Local Purchasing and Hiring Policies” pictured below, a company could choose to formalize a written local purchasing commitment or a written preference for hiring local managers in order to improve their score in the question.
Question Applied at the Present Time:
Quantitative questions require a specific time period, rather than a particular snapshot in time, to assess. In order to make the reporting and management of these metrics more efficient for companies, the assessment asks for annual data from the most recent time period available. Financial questions like “% of Revenue Donated” are based on the company’s last fiscal year and are designed to rely on a company’s normal financial reporting periods for efficiency, while non-financial questions like “Attrition Rate” may refer to the last 12 months of operations instead to be more recent. For this reason, many companies use the BIA as an annual assessment tool aligned with their fiscal year end date.
Question Based on a Last Fiscal Year (Derived from Financials):
Question Based on Last Twelve Months (Not Derived from Financials):
When completing your assessment, it will be helpful for you to define the specific time periods you are using for each question. Identify the “current date” for which your current practices apply based on the date you started your assessment. Then, identify what time period is relevant for questions referring to the last twelve months—looking from the “current date” back to that same date one year ago—and the fiscal year to be used for financial questions—looking back to the fiscal year that closed on the most recent fiscal year end date.
Recognizing that the B Impact Assessment is completed over a period of time, and that all of these time periods are designed to provide an appropriate measure of a company’s “current” performance, some flexibility is allowed for time periods to shift minimally as the company progresses through the BIA. After significant periods of time have lapsed, however, it is recommended (or in the case of B Corp Certification, required) that companies recalibrate their responses in the BIA to ensure their answers are consistent and appropriate measures of current performance.
Naturally, because the BIA offers companies a “snapshot” of their social and environmental performance, over time a company’s score may fluctuate slightly due to normal changes in operations, even if they have not made any substantive changes to their impact management approach. You can think of this similarly to a student who takes a test multiple times—you wouldn’t expect them to score exactly the same each time, even if their fundamental knowledge of the subject remains the same.