Impact Business Model Documentation Tips

Modified on Sat, 17 Jun 2023 at 11:25 AM

This article provides tips for how to successfully document question responses for ‘Impact Business Models’ (IBMs). Documentation is requested during the review process to verify IBMs due to their score weighting. Documentation provides necessary evidence to ensure a company’s full impact is appropriately reflected.

For general information about IBMsuploading documentation, and general documentation guidelines please see the linked articles. Guidance on specific questions can be found at the question-level by clicking on ‘Learn’ or ‘Documentation Instructions’ when a question is marked for documentation.

About Documentation

  1. A question requires documentation for verification when it is marked with a cloud icon

  2. Comments should accompany all documents and are used to clarify which answer option/s the document verifies, what the document is, context that will be helpful to understand it, and references to page numbers where supporting information can be found. Comments, alone, are not considered sufficient documentation.

  3. Rely on documents already utilized by your company first. In some cases a question may provide a `Documentation Template` or the Verification Analysts may request the company complete a template. 

  4. Multi-pick questions, meaning questions that allow multiple answer options to be selected, require documentation for each selected answer option.

  5. If at any point in the process you realize that a question or IBM does not apply, please feel free to leave a comment stating this.

Please find below types of IBMs, a comprehensive list of IBMs in each Impact Area, types of questions that require documentation, suggestions of documentation to provide, and a linked document with screenshot examples.

Products and Services IBMs

Several IBMs, referred to as products and services IBMs, capture the financial significance of an impactful product or service within the company’s overall revenue. These IBMs are scored according to three types of questions, including ‘description’ questions, ‘revenue’ questions, and ‘outcomes’ questions. ‘Description’ questions and ‘revenue’ questions are called ‘calculated questions’ and scored through an internal back-end calculation.

Environment Products and Services IBMs

Customers Products and Services IBMs

-Environmental Education & Information

-Land/Wildlife Conservation

-Renewable or Cleaner-burning Energy

-Resource Conservation

-Toxin Reduction

-Arts, Media, and Culture

-Basic Services for the Underserved

-Economic Empowerment for the Underserved


-Health & Wellness Improvement

-Impact Improvement

-Infrastructure/Market Access Building

-Support for Underserved/Purpose-Driven Enterprises

Question Type


Example Documentation

‘Description’ Questions

Example: Health Product Description

Description questions show more specifically what the product or service is and how it creates impact. The most appropriate documentation for ‘description’ questions should demonstrate this information. In the case that multiple products/services fit the IBM description, please upload documentation for each.

-Product/service descriptions on the company’s website

- Business Description tab of the Eligibility Documentation

-Product or ingredient certifications

-Product labels

-Case studies about the company’s product/service

-Product/service presentations

‘Revenue’ Questions

Examples: Revenue from Art, Media, & Culture

Revenue questions assess the financial significance of the product/service applied in the description question. Documentation for ‘revenue’ questions should provide breakdowns of revenue streams that show the percent of the company’s revenue generated from a specific product/service. 

The revenue answer should correspond to the fiscal year referenced in the ‘Revenue Last Year’ question in the Governance section.

-Profit & Loss Statement

- Business Description tab of the Eligibility Documentation

-Revenue breakdown by product/service

-B Lab provided templates

‘Outcome’ Questions

Examples: Management of Impact Improvement, Management of Economic Opportunity/Empowerment, Outcome Measurement

‘Outcome’ questions follow ‘description’ and ‘revenue’ questions and assess the results of the product/service, and the extent to which they are measured and verified to be impactful. These questions need to apply to the specific product/service applied in the IBM. 

-Mission/theory of change statements

-Research papers

-Data reports

-Third-party certifications (i.e. Organic, Fair Trade, FSC)

-Case studies

-Customer or stakeholder surveys

‘Practices’ IBMs

‘Practices’ IBMs capture significant and impactful in-house programs, such as manufacturing processes, purchasing practices, or employment programs, but do not necessarily reflect a revenue generating product or service. These IBMs are made up of four types of questions, including ‘prerequisite’ (gating) questions, ‘practice’ questions, ‘percent’ questions, and ‘outcomes’ questions. ‘Practice’ questions and ‘percent’ questions are calculated questions, and scored through an internal back-end calculation. Screenshots of examples for each question type can be found here.

Workers ‘Practices’ IBMs

Community ‘Practices’ IBMs

Environment ‘Practices’ IBMs

-Worker Owned

-Workforce Development

-Designed to Give

-Local Economic Development

-Microfranchise/Microdistribution Poverty Alleviation

-National Economic Development

-Producer Cooperative

-Supply Chain Poverty Alleviation

-Environmentally Innovative Agriculture/Manufacturing/Wholesale/Retail Process

Question Type


Example Documentation

‘Prerequisite’ (Gating) Questions

Example: Wholesale Environmental Management

Prerequisite questions assess specific qualifying criteria for an IBM.

For example for a prospect company to qualify for the ‘Local Economic Development’ IBM, the company must  be locally and independently-owned.

Local IBM

-Cap table with owner location information 

Environmentally Innovative Process

-Environmental Management System measuring energy, water, GHG emissions, and waste with associated reductions goals and strategies

‘Practice’ Questions

Example: Training and Support for Underemployed Groups

Practice questions assess the primary IBM program or practice being applied to the IBM. Qualitative/practice questions should be documented with descriptions or examples of the answer option selected.

For example in the ‘Supply Chain’ IBM there is a practice question called ‘Support for Small-scale Suppliers’ that capture the types of training and capacity building that the company provides to its ‘small-scale’ suppliers. 

Workforce Development

-Program description

-Program reports

-Trainings and curricula

Designed to Give & Local Economic Development

-Formalized company policies and commitments

Supply Chain



-Program description

-Program reports

-Trainings and curricula

-Impact reports


-ESOP plan

‘Percent’ Questions

Example: % Underemployed Workers in Training

Percent questions assess the proportion of the business to which a program or practice applies. These questions are paired with ‘practice’ questions (see above).

For example in the ‘Supply Chain’ IBM the question that follows the ‘practice’ question ‘Support for Small-scale Suppliers’ is ‘% of Purchases from Supported Small-Scale Suppliers’. This question asks what % of the company’s suppliers, based on material costs, the selected practices apply.

Percent questions should be documented with numeric information that demonstrates the percent of the whole to which the program or practice answer selections apply (e.g. % of total spend, % of volume).

-Employee roster

-Spend breakdown by supplier

-Revenue breakdown by client

-B Lab provided templates

‘Outcome’ Questions

‘Outcome’ questions assess the results of the practice applied to the IBM, and the extent to which they are measured and proven to be impactful.


-Program outcome reports

-Mission/theory of change statements

-Research papers

-Data reports

-Case studies

-Customer or stakeholder surveys

Please see the attached PDF for ‘Practices’ IBM descriptions and specific documentation recommendations, additional information and definitions, and question type examples.

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