What is a Site Review?
The Site Review process is a deeper level of verification which helps B Lab guarantee the credibility of our certification by further ensuring the validity of a Certified B Corp’s B Impact Assessment (BIA) answers. The Site Review is considered to be B Lab’s highest level of verification. The Site Review has been established by the B Lab Standards Advisory Council, in accordance with best practices for credible certifications. Site Reviews may be conducted virtually (via video call) or onsite (in-person) depending on the company size, location and other standards-related factors.
Why does our company have to go through a Site Review?
Every year, 10% of recertifying B Corps are selected to go through the Site Review process as part of their recertification. While a large percentage of the selected group of companies are picked randomly, others are selected based on a number of standards-related factors, including but not limited to, ownership structure, additional certification terms (established in a previous certification review), company size, disclosure questionnaire topics, industry and sector.
Most companies can expect to be selected for this review at least once in their tenure as a Certified B Corp. However, some B Corps with specific ownership structures have a requirement to go through the Site Review process every recertification term (3 years). For these companies, the Site Review is a requisite component of their certification requirements. Companies who are wholly-owned subsidiaries, majority-owned by $1B+ parent companies, public companies, or >$1B companies themselves, will have additional terms included in their certification agreement, which includes having a Site Review conducted at each recertification period. Additionally, companies with over USD500M in revenue who are aspiring to become Certified B Corps are required to have a Site Review conducted during their initial certification process.
Is the Site Review process conducted in addition to our recertification process?
The Site Review is typically incorporated into a company’s recertification process, and at its completion, will fulfill both the recertification and site review conditions required to maintain the company’s B Corp Certification. Companies selected for a Site Review will be contacted via email in the year prior to their recertification year with details and guidance for preparing for the Site Review process. Simultaneously, companies will receive automated email reminders regarding their recertification. The Site Review will serve as your company’s recertification for that term – as long as you follow the instructions delineated in the Site Review emails, you may disregard the automated email reminders regarding your company’s approaching recertification.
What is required of my company to prepare for a Site Review?
In the initial notification email your company receives about the Site Review, you will be asked to complete either of the following requirements to get the process started:
Complete the Global Scoping Template, attached below and in the initial email, with updated company ownership and related business entity information. This is particularly essential if your business has more than one (1) related or affiliated business entity.
Complete the Company Details page within the B Impact Assessment platform.
The updated company information shared through one of the above mechanisms will be reviewed and used to confirm the scope of your company’s business that needs to be included in the review process.
Once this initial review (scoping) is completed, B Lab will communicate to you the next steps for preparing for the Site Review process. Please keep in mind that although your company may have already begun its B Impact Assessment in preparation for recertification, finalizing and submitting the BIA will need to wait until the aforementioned scoping review is completed.
These are the general guidelines for preparing for your company’s Site Review, whether conducted virtually or in-person (onsite):
Ensure that your company’s B Corp Legal Requirement has been met prior to submitting the BIA for recertification.
Begin to update your B Impact Assessment, keeping in mind that finalizing and submitting the BIA will need to wait until the previously mentioned scoping review is completed.
Prepare to provide supporting documentation and further company data for a large amount of your assessment answers. This could be 20-50 questions, depending on your company size. The exact questions which require documentation will be determined prior to and during the Verification stage of the review process.
If selected for a Virtual Site Review: Participate in a virtual meeting with B Lab Business Sustainability Analysts (2.5-3 hrs). The Virtual Site Review will include interviews with the company’s employees and may include a virtual facilities tour.
If selected for an Onsite Review: Plan for and host an in-person meeting with B Lab Business Sustainability Analysts (½ - full day visit).
What is to be expected when planning for the Site Review meeting?
Have a functioning web camera and be able to conduct a virtual tour with a web camera.
Make employees available for the virtual employee interviews. Employees will be selected by B Lab based on a company employee roster, and interviews may be scheduled outside of the main Site Review meeting time.
Ensure that employees have a private space available in order for interviews to be conducted.
Sample Agenda for Virtual Site Review meeting:
Introductions & Overview presentation of Virtual Site Review Process (~15 min)
Assessment and Documentation Review (1-1.5 hr)
Employee Interviews (~60 min)
Virtual Facility Tour, if requested by B Lab (~15 min)
Wrap-up & Review of Next Steps (5 min)
Provide a private conference room with wifi/internet connection and slideshow presentation capabilities (monitor/screen/projector/etc.)
Make employees available for the employee interview component of the Site Review. Employees will be selected by B Lab based on a company employee roster, and interviews may be scheduled outside of the main Site Review meeting time.
Provide a private room for employee interviews to be conducted (could be the same as the conference room).
Provide access to the company’s facilities related to production, warehousing and/or wherever environmental practices at the company might occur (i.e. recycling, environmental management systems, energy and water efficiency systems, etc.)
Sample Agenda for Onsite Review visit:
The visit will be a half or full day visit depending on the Analysts’ recommendations.
Introductions & set-up (~30 min)
Overview of Site Review Process (~30 min)
Assessment and Documentation Review (1-2 hrs)
Employee Interviews (1-1.5hrs)
Facility Tour (30-60 min)
Wrap-up & Review of Next Steps (15-30 min)
All times listed are approximations.These agendas will vary depending on the company size, sector and industry and based on Analyst discretion.
What is the timeline for the Site Review process?
Companies will be contacted by B Lab in the year prior to their recertification year, regardless of the exact date in the following year when their recertification is due. We recommend reviewing the attached Site Review timeline to understand what the process timeline can look like (primarily for Virtual Site Reviews). The timeline for Onsite Reviews can be expected to be longer due to the travel planning required for an in-person visit.
Following the Site Review meeting, there are typically several weeks of follow-ups between the company and B Lab, and then 1-2 weeks to review the Site Review Report. From start to finish, most companies will need to be engaged in the Site Review process anywhere from 3-6 months.
Who from my company should participate in the Site Review meeting?
The B Corp Certification Lead at your company, who coordinates the updating of the B Impact Assessment and completion of other certification requirements, is asked to attend the full meeting (excluding the employee interview portion).
Any other representative from departments who helped complete sections of the assessment may also wish to attend the Assessment and Documentation Review portion of the meeting in order to answer questions related to the company’s assessment answers and related documentation provided.
Employees who are randomly selected for the employee interview section of the Site Review will only be required to attend for approximately 30 minutes, to be coordinated on the day of the meeting.
What does the Site Review cost?
For companies randomly selected for a Site review without any previously determined Site Review requirements of their certification, there is no additional cost for the Site Review. The cost of the Site Review is included in your annual B Corp Certification fee.
However, for companies for whom the Site Review is a required part of their certification, the Site Review is conducted at the expense of the company. This is outlined in the terms of the B Corp Agreement signed by all companies at the time of initial certification and at recertification. The Onsite Review fee ranges on average between $3000-$5000 USD, and includes a $2500 Verification fee* plus the cost of onsite travel for the Verification Team. B Lab always aims to minimize the cost of travel, as best as possible, by deploying Analysts from our closest business hubs in the U.S., Amsterdam, London, Melbourne, and Sao Paulo.
*Please note that Verification fees may vary by region.
What can be expected after the Site Review is conducted?
Upon completion of the Site Review process, if all certification requirements are met, your company will be recertified for another three year term and will receive a summary report detailing the results of the Site Review. Companies with a required Site Review in the terms of their certification can plan on going through the Site Review process again during each recertification period. B Corps who do not have the Site Review requirement as part of their certification terms will be removed from the list of companies that can be randomly selected for a Site Review for the next recertification term, unless the company’s certification terms change due to a material change in ownership. Review your company’s signed B Corp Agreement for guidelines related to changes in ownership.