Originally published at: https://bcorporation.com.au/blog/five-reasons-to-use-a-b-consultant/
The B Corp movement recently hit an important milestone: 5,000 certified businesses. From humble beginnings over 15 years ago, this movement for people, planet and communities now spans 13 regional global partner organisations, 79 countries, 154 industries, over 400,000 workers, and millions of consumers. However, as demand for B Corp certification skyrockets, so too does the need for expert support to navigate the rigours of the certification process.
In 2020, B Lab Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand (AANZ) began a program to train ‘B Consultants’ to support more Aussie and Kiwi businesses to complete their B Impact Assessment (BIA), navigate B Impact Standards, purpose and stakeholder governance requirement and impact improvement opportunities.
Now in its third year, the B Consultants program has supported hundreds of businesses to improve their social and environmental impact. With a talented pool of over 30 B Consultants, more businesses are benefiting from the valuable insights into the process and possibilities of becoming a Certified B Corporation than ever before.
If you are considering becoming a B Corp, or are curious about how a B Consultant can support your business to walk the path to purpose, this one’s for you.
Five compelling reasons your business needs a B Consultant
1. Tailored support and industry-specific knowledge
Just as businesses are not one size fits all, nor is B Corp certification and neither are B Consultants. Through B Lab AANZ’s in-depth training program, B Consultants are equipped with the skills to help businesses navigate certification, no matter their location, size or sector.
They are considered to be topical and subject matter experts with deep and varied experience. Ranging from large-scale corporate advertising agencies to product-based micro-businesses and sustainability governance, B Consultants hail from a wide range of industries across businesses of all shapes and sizes.
This means that, by engaging a good fit for your business, you can access tailored and industry-specific support to achieve your impact improvement goals and access an accurate and evidence-based understanding of where your business is at, measured against the B Impact Standards.
2. Access to the B Lab brains trust
Each B Consultant has received extensive hands-on experience in leading companies through the B Corp certification process, supported by expert members of the B Lab AANZ team. They know the ins and outs of the BIA and they are ready and willing to help your business refine its thinking about how it serves as a force for good in the world.
They do this by ensuring you’re unlocking the most relevant parts of the BIA for your business, which can help you identify gaps and increase your positive impact on people, planet and communities.
“We want to see circular economy principles further engrained in business practices throughout the world. Involving a B Consultant makes the process a lot easier.”
3. Access to coaching, guidance and allyship
B Corp certification is a breeze, said no one ever. It’s a robust and rigorous process, and it needs to be in order to ensure that it retains its integrity, high standards and independence. That’s why engaging a B Consultant can be so powerful: they are your allies and dedicated supporters in what can be a challenging and complex journey to navigate.
Providing varying degrees of coaching and guidance through the certification process, engaging a B Consultant can provide your business with a sense of allyship and camaraderie; sharing insights into common challenges and learnings from across the movement. Furthermore, if your B Consultant is part of an existing B Corp, which many are – you can gain an invaluable touchpoint and advocate amongst the community that enables you to connect to the movement in a deeper, more meaningful and enriching way.
“We loved going through the B Impact Assessment ourselves in our own time and seeing what our impact was. When we had done as much as we could, we worked with a B Consultant to mould our application and scale up our impact!”
4. Support to improve your impact score
B Corp certification is not ‘set and forget’; it’s only the start of the better business journey. The certification process puts businesses on a path of continuous improvement, which isn’t just good business, it’s also an investment in smoothing the pathway to recertification in three years time.
From helping you access the resources you need to make the most out of your B Corp certification, to providing tailored guidance in setting the foundation for continuous improvement, the value of hiring a B Consultant is often realised long after you’ve achieved certification.
“As a micro-business, I felt I was too small to fit into the mould despite trying over several years. For me, it took working with a B Consultant to help me understand how this was not the case and to properly identify and account for the things I did well.
Once we did this, we immediately got over 100 points. I’d recommend getting some external help to keep you on track.”
— Stephanie Devine, CEO and Founder of The Very Good Bra
5. Make the process more engaging
One piece of advice that almost all B Corps give following their certification process is: bring others along on the journey with you. Getting buy-in from across the organisation is key in helping you collect the information you need to respond to the BIA and keep the train on the tracks during the verification process.
They have a knack of bringing the BIA to life and taking your team along for the ride, which saves you not only time (and money) in the long-run, but it allows for a much more engaging and enjoyable process.
“Even for the most experienced CEO, the process [of working with a B Consultant] can bring invaluable insights, and cement beliefs about becoming a B Corp. It unlocks riches that you didn’t even think were valuable.”
— B Consultant (unnamed)
As more and more businesses take on the challenge of transforming our global economic system to one that centres people, planet and communities, the success and continual improvement of the B Corp movement is all of our business.
Have you worked with a B Consultant and want to share your experience?
We’d love to hear from you!
By Shalini Samuel
Shalini Samuel is B Lab AANZ’s Certification and Training Lead and part of B Lab Global’s Regional Standards Advisory Group – Asia. With a background in sustainable finance and Environmental Social & Governance (ESG), Shalini also teaches corporate sustainability within Masters programs at Monash University. If you have any questions related to B Consultants or are curious about becoming a B Consultant, please contact Shalini here.