It is common, and quite natural, for users to complete the BIA in a way that creates an inflated score. Doing so, however, limits the value of the BIA as a management and improvement tool, and creates significant challenges and inefficiencies in the verification process should a company be pursuing B Corp Certification. It is thus very important for a user to complete the assessment diligently and with an eye towards accuracy, honesty, and self-reflection.
Remember, the scoring of the BIA is designed so that no company is penalized for their answers in the BIA, but instead earns points for each positive practice captured. Furthermore, high performance still may represent earning only ~40% of points available.
As you go through the assessment, here are some tips that will help you conduct an accurate self-assessment and prepare for providing documentation during the B Corp Certification process:
Pay close attention to the detail and scope of the questions to understand which answer options best apply to your company. For more information on the scope of questions in the B Impact Assessment, click here.
Identify relevant teammates and data sources to help you complete specific questions or sections. Teams involved could include human resources, purchasing, etc. Documents could include handbooks and policies.
To help organize your data on key aspects of the BIA, use the template attached at the bottom. Most companies pursuing B Corp Certification will be asked to complete this spreadsheet, and it will help to complete it to help you go through the assessment.
Make use of the resources for each question, including instructions and definitions, to ensure you have a clear understanding of the question and how to answer.
When estimating your answers, answer conservatively. If a question is not relevant to your company, answer Not Applicable, Don’t Know or None of the Above.
Answer only based on current and past performance, do not answer based on plans that your company has in the future.
Select answer options only when you have evidence to support your answer. If a question includes the word "written" or "formal" in the question itself OR in any of the answer options, it requires that your company has some form of written policy in order to earn credit. For more information on how to access the list of required documents, visit this page.
Record notes and a rationale of why you selected an answer so that if asked about it, you will have the ability to recall quickly details about the answer.
Particularly with regard to Impact Business Models, which are the most common part of the B Impact Assessment to inflate scores:
Ensure that you are not completing multiple Impact Business Models for the same impact. For example, if purchasing from Fair Trade suppliers, do not opt into both the Supply Chain Poverty Alleviation IBM in Community and the Economic Opportunity IBM in the Customers section).
Limit the total number of Impact Business Models you opt into initially to one or two throughout the whole assessment. Most companies have between 0-2 IBMs, but many companies incorrectly opt in to many more. This will not only help you get a more accurate score, but will also be more efficient by reducing the total questions you’ll need to complete, and by removing potential confusion by seeing what might appear as repeat questions in each IBM. To learn more about Impact Business Models, see here.