There are a few overarching principles that inform how the B Impact Assessment structure and content. The B Impact Assessment is:
Positive – The scored portion of the B Impact Assessment represents the positive performance of a company on its various stakeholders, with all companies beginning with a score of zero and earning points for the positive practices they have in place. . There are no negative points in the assessment. A separate un-weighted section, the Disclosure Questionnaire, is included in the B Impact Assessment to examine a business’s potentially negative attributes and outcomes.
Comprehensive – The assessment takes a holistic view of business impact by including indicators and best practices affecting all stakeholders and encompassing all aspects of a business's operations and business model. Because businesses have multiple paths to creating positive impact, the scoring system also provides impact area sub-scores as a means to highlight areas of high impact on particular stakeholders.
Objective – the assessment have been designed to be verifiable and based on best available research and best practices, as determined by an independent Standards Advisory Council. The B Impact Assessment also relies on relevant third-party certifications (Fair-Trade, USDA Organic, Cradle-to-Cradle, LEED, etc.) to leverage third party expertise and verification, and is intended to complement rather than substitute other certification and impact measurement frameworks.
Dynamic – Question content and their relative weightings are adaptive to the material issues based on size, sector, and geographic location. A company’s responses in the assessment may also enable and disable questions based on their applicability. This allows your company to appropriately focus on the most relevant and material opportunities to have an impact while maintaining standardization and comparability. In addition, the B Impact Assessment is updated every three years in order to accommodate new and innovative practices, respond to the feedback of its users, and more accurately assess the impact of all types of businesses.
Aspirational – Question content is designed to recognize the significant opportunities beyond current practices to drive impact business current business norms. Because positive social and environmental outcomes are far-reaching and multi-faceted (and come with opportunity costs), it is virtually impossible for a company to answer all questions positively, and high performance is frequently answering less than 50% of indicators affirmatively.
Educational – The assessment is intentionally designed to inform users about new ways to improve their performance and create reflection opportunities for their business. Questions often include supplemental resources such as implementation guides, real-world company examples, and explanations of both why certain indicators are impactful and how they can create value for the business.