After completing the B Impact Assessment, qualified companies interested in pursuing certification undergo a verification process with B Lab to determine if they meet the 80-point bar for Certification. 


This article explains the Verification Process Cohort, which typically applies to all small and medium businesses, and may also apply to larger companies depending on their structure. The Cohort process is intended to get you quickly and efficiently through the verification!


Verification Process Cohort

If your company is in a Verification Process Cohort, it means you are paired with companies of a similar size going through the certification process together on the same timeline with your Standards Analyst from B Lab staff. 


The verification process is central to the B Corp Certification and Community - it is our process to ensure that B Corps are stewards in creating a positive impact and meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance. Before the Verification process your company’s assessment score reflects a self-reported and unverified score. Our goal for this process is to arrive at a verified score that applies the standards according to their intent and consistently with how they have been applied across the B Corp community. This is meant both to preserve the credibility of the certification and to support companies in designing a road map of what they want to measure and improve upon.




Stage of Review Process

B Lab action items


Company action items


Deadlines


Companies pass through 3 stages to prepare for Verification with the Evaluation Team. 




Evaluation Queue




Complete Eligibility Documentation template & upload to corresponding Task 









Evaluation




Evaluation Team reviews documentation to confirm key aspects of your BIA. A more detailed description of this process can be found here


Complete other requests from the Evaluation team










Verification Queue


B Lab allocates your company to a verification cohort (structured process for review). Once allocated, the Cohort Field will indicate the Monday of the week your Verification starts. 


To be eligible to join a cohort, requested documentation (e.g. completed templates, income statement, handbook, Supplier Code of Conduct, if available) must be uploaded by the preceding Wednesday. 


Cohorts start each week





The cohort is a four-week process for verification with Standards Analysts:

Week 1 


Verification: 

- Desk Review 

- Standard Documentation Review


Your Standards Analysts creates the Verification Report.

In the Verification Report some questions will be marked for discussion and some questions will be marked for documentation**. 



Log in the Verification report and attend to all the items selected. 




Company Deadline:

One week from the day that the Standards Analyst created your Verification Report & sent Week 1 Communication

Send invitation for call in Week 2 (if needed) 


Schedule call, if needed, for Week 2


Week 2 

Verification:

- Operations & Impact Business Model*** Documentation Review

- Review Call, if needed

Review comments and documentation to questions marked in week 1 in the Verification Report and post follow-up questions on the Impact App (if needed)


Attend to all the requested follow up in the Verification report (see Week 1 deadline)


Company Deadline:

One week from the day that the Standards Analyst sent Week 2 communication

Conduct 30 to 90 min call (if needed)


Have 30 to 90 min call with your Standards Analyst, if required


Week 3

Verification:

- Final Assessment Check

Make adjustments to BIA based on follow-ups


Upload final follow-up comments or documentation 


Company Deadline:

3 days from the day that the Standards Analyst sent Week 3 communication 



Submit company’s assessment for the Internal peer review for quality check. This process may trigger further follow up requests and answer adjustments



Week 4


Verification:

- Completed

Review follow ups provided by the company and make final adjustments after internal peer review (if needed)





Post Verification

If the final verified score is above 80 points,  Send B Corp Agreement. 




- Sign B Corp Agreement & Declaration of Interdependence

- Pay Certification fee, if prepayment is required




Review Closed

Once Post Verification Steps are completed, you will receive a “welcome email”  which will conclude your certification process. 


- Complete Onboarding page in the platform

- Make announcement plans



Ongoing

Improvement 


If the final verified score is below 80 points, the review progresses to the
Improvement stage



 Reference the Improvement reports and resources within the App and re-Submit after your company has made improvements >80! 


Companies typically submit improvements for their standards analysts’ review 30-90 days after this stage has begun. 





Verification will happen within the B Impact Assessment through the Verification Report which you can find under Reports, on the left-hand panel. This is the subset of questions that will be discussed during the verification process. The questions selected are all high scoring or requiring particular attention.

** Types of supporting evidence:  

  • Marked for Discussion: questions in the Verification marked with a black square icon, meaning that verification is to be addressed providing comments. Comments should be rationales, explanations, clarifications, and examples of why answer options selected apply to the company. Please provide comments with information that you would feel comfortable in backing up with documentation if you were requested. Comments are to be specific to each of the answer options selected - use bullet points and refer to which answer option they are intended to support, following the scheme:

A#1:....

A#2:...

etc  

  • Marked for Documentation: questions in the Verification Report marked with a black cloud icon, meaning that verification is to be addressed via supporting documentation. Documents should be policies, reports, web links, ppt, agendas or even pictures of why answer options selected apply to the company. Only one document can be uploaded per comment - please leave multiple comments to upload multiple documents. Please indicate the pages of the document uploaded in which topics related to each answer option can be found and, if possible, provide a brief summary of what is stated in the document and why the document is relevant for the specific answer option selected. For these questions, additional Documentation Instructions appear in the comment section, please always use this to understand the document requirements and download templates when available.

***As you can see from your company’s Dashboard on the Impact App, in the B Impact Assessment you can find two different kinds of questions:

  • Questions related to Impact Business Model (IBM). The impact Business model covers how the company is designed to deliver an impact to stakeholders (doing impactful things)

  • Questions related to Operations. Operations are about day-to-day practices implemented (doing things impactfully)

Tips for a successful and efficient review process:

  • To check that you have been approved to join the cohort, please check your Reviews. The cohort field will indicate the Monday of the week the “Verification” stage begins for your company. You will be receiving an email from your Standards Analyst that week with more specific instructions. If no date is populated in the Cohort Field, this means we are still waiting for documentation from you before we can allocate you to a cohort. 
  • Once a cohort begins, please note you will be expected to provide documentation and comments directly in the Verification Report. Ensure that you can dedicate 4-6 hours for the review process each week of the cohort. If you will not be able to dedicate this time in the next month and would like to schedule your cohort for a future date, please leave a comment in the Task “Upload Standard Documentation.”
  • By the end of this process, all questions in the Verification Report will need a Green Checkmark, signifying that they have been fully verified.
  • In order to consider a question verified, each answer option selected needs to be verified. This means that supporting evidence in the form of comments or documentation has to be provided for each of the checkboxes selected within a question, not just one (or some) of them. Answer options for which no evidence/comment is provided will be deselected, assuming that the particular option does not fully apply to the company at this time. More information on the type of supporting evidence is described below.
  • Use our tools and resources in the B Impact Assessment to stay organized: Revisit This, Mark for Improvement, Learn, and Verification Report.
  • The extensive majority of the questions refers to policies, practices or measurements that are formal, explicit or quantifiable. This is a central feature to the movement: only policies that are formalized have accountability and remain in place over time (on the contrary it is possible that informal practices may never become a policy and get lost with the passing of time); only practices that apply to a large majority of employees are accessible; only numeric measurement can be studied over time. When the question refers to the majority, it is referring to +50% of employees, when the question refers to all, it is referring to 100% of employees. Questions with no specifications refer to +80% of employees.
  • During the verification process the company is not allowed to make adjustments to the answer options previously selected. If you realize that some of the answer options selected may not apply to your company today, you can leave a comment  below the specific question and we will be happy to make adjustments. This is often the case for practices that are very well established, and that the company is willing to embed in its DNA by creating a formal policy in the near future. For this reason, we invite you to take notes of such policies and to set a goal for the companyOn the contrary, if you spot a question in which you missed to tick one or more answer options, please leave a comment providing rationale or evidence in support of why you would like that specific answer option to be selected/adjusted. 
  • In order to consider a question verified, each answer option selected needs to be verified. This means that supporting evidence in the form of comments or documentation has to be provided for each of the checkboxes selected within a question, not just one (or some) of them. Answer options for which no evidence/comment is provided will be deselected, assuming that the particular option does not fully apply to the company at this time. More information on the type of supporting evidence is described below.
  • Not every question is expected to apply to all companies. It is normal for responses to be marked as No, Don’t Know, or Not applicable (N/A).
  • Be transparent about what documentation you have available. This can prevent unnecessary work, especially if you have a review score above 80 points. 
  • Certification is a rigorous process. It is not uncommon for companies to earn a reviewed score less than 80 on their first assessment. As a result, participation in this review cohort does not guarantee certification.
  • Have you read and understood your legal requirement for certification? While the legal requirement is not required to be completed until after certification (90 days to 2 years, depending on company’s incorporation type and jurisdiction), prepare for being able to sign the B Corp Agreement by reviewing your legal path here

 

If you have any questions, please send a ticket to our support team!


Thank you for your commitment in joining the B Corp community! We want to acknowledge that independent of the final result your company has taken important steps on the journey of measuring, comparing and improving your company’s social and environmental performance.