B Lab Europe announces Seismic as new B Corp partner to boost evaluations
The B Corp movement in Europe continues its stellar trajectory of growth, recently crossing the 1,000th B Corp milestone. In fact B Lab Europe, the not-for-profit behind B Corp Certification is experiencing the highest demand in the organisation’s history. The B Corp community grew by 63% in 2022, now with over 6,000 B Corps globally. In Europe, over 13,000 companies started using the B Impact Assessment. To read more on the B Impact Assessment, then check out B Lab’s blog here.
As more and more companies across Europe are pressing submit on their B Impact Assessment in pursuit of B Corp certification, the waiting time for a company to have their assessment independently evaluated and verified has also grown.
B Lab Europe has been searching for ways to address the extended waiting period companies are experiencing and has as a result entered into a strategic partnership with sustainability and B Corp experts, Seismic. As part of this arrangement, Seismic is providing B Lab with additional evaluation capacity to support the growing number of applications in the B Corp Certification process.
Joey van den Brink, Head of Certification at B Lab Europe says:
The value of B Corp lies in its rigour. Businesses have to meet high standards of social and environmental performance, so to ensure this is verified we require a thorough evaluation of the businesses who submit their assessment and the claims they make about their social and environmental performance. We need to balance this rigour with the unprecedented demand for certification and the need to accelerate business’ transition to a more equitable, inclusive and regenerative economy. As we continuously evolve our standards and tools globally, this new partnership is key to providing solutions that improve our processes.
B Lab Europe chose Seismic as their strategic partner due to their extensive experience advising organisations on the B Corp approach to impact management. They have over 11 B Leaders on their team and analysts based across Europe. B Leaders are experts trained by B Lab to lead people through B Corp certification. Analysts review the data submitted for certification in the B Impact Assessment (BIA). The partnership will see Seismic’s analysts dedicated to evaluating submitted BIAs to assess if the business meets the high standards required to certify. At Seismic we are passionate about supporting our clients to further their impact. Find out more about how we help businesses to make ESG progress through the B Corp framework, take a look at our B Corp Services here.
Paul Lewis, Seismic’s CEO and Cofounder, comments:
Our team of Sustainability Analysts are well versed in all things B Corp and their transition to B Corp Evaluation Analysts will be swift. As a proud B Corp we know first hand the joy of receiving that email confirming certification – so we are humbled to be asked by B Lab to provide additional capacity so more businesses have the opportunity to be recognised. Our company was founded on the principles of B Corp and I couldn’t be more delighted to contribute to the growth of this movement so close to our hearts through this collaboration with our colleagues at B Lab Europe.
How was Seismic selected as a partner?
B Lab Europe created an RfP process, with an open application for Evaluation Analysts as independent contractors where B Lab Europe received several interested proposals. This resulted in conversations around partnership opportunities which were discussed with a few applicants, and ultimately Seismic were selected for their extensive experience and concrete proposal.
How do you ensure there is no conflict of interest?
Seismic team members providing companies evaluation services will not proactively engage with the company or any of its representatives and vice versa – analysts who support a company in their certification journey will not be evaluating the same company. There will be two distinctly separate departments, as per contract, which also includes a signed declaration of confidentiality.
How does this partnership affect the rigour and integrity of B Corp certification?
Seismic’s analysts are responsible for conducting evaluation, the first phase of the certification process. Analysts will undergo five weeks of extensive training using the same materials to train our in-house analysts, followed by a period of mentoring with B Lab Europe’s expert analysts. Once the evaluation phase is complete, companies will then begin the verification process with B Lab’s analysts.
This is not the first partnership to address the demand for certification – in 2022, B Lab announced a partnership with Genashtim to improve its verification capacity, and the organization will continue to explore ways to improve our processes to meet the demands for certification.
What is the difference between evaluation and verification processes?
Evaluation is the initial screen – a step introduced to the certification process two years ago to ensure more quality submissions to the Certification & Verification team. Every company regardless of size needs to be evaluated to ensure they are on the correct certification track based on their company’s size, structure and complexity, flag any controversial industries, check legal requirements and impact business models.
Will this partnership speed up certification wait times?
Yes. Once the partnership is in effect in April after the training period, we expect to begin seeing a reduction in wait times and an increase in our ability to certify companies.
Seismic is an international team of impact experts on a mission to help businesses prosper by becoming increasingly impactful forces for good. In addition to their broad corporate sustainability experience, Seismic has developed world leading B Corp expertise, helping hundreds of companies leverage the B Corp framework to understand, improve, measure and communicate their impact.
About B Lab
B Lab is transforming the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet. A leader in economic systems change, our global network creates standards, policies, tools, and programs for business, and we certify companies—known as B Corps—who are leading the way. To date, our community includes 400,000 workers in over 6,000 B Corps across 80 countries and 155 industries, and more than 200,000 companies manage their impact with the B Impact Assessment and the SDG Action Manager. To learn more and join the movement, visit bcorporation.eu.