6 Oct 2023

The Challenges and Complexities of Certifying as a Large Company

By Harry Foreman
Citrus spread

As a large or complex business, understanding the scope of the B Corp process and how to obtain certification can feel daunting, but it shouldn’t deter organisations.

With huge impact opportunities across a range of areas, irrespective of certification, the B Corp framework provides a valuable tool to help your business understand, measure and improve its impact.

If you do decide to certify as a large or complex business, there might be a few challenges along the way. In this article, find out what challenges you can expect when pursuing certification, and how best to tackle them to ensure a successful approach.

Understanding how many BIAs to complete

For large and complex businesses, the approach to becoming a B Corp can look a little different to that of a smaller business. Usually, a company would set themselves up on the B Impact Assessment (BIA), B Lab’s online assessment tool, answer the questions relating to their social and environmental performance, and once they have scored above the 80 point threshold, hit submit and wait to be verified by B Lab. Simple!

For multinational businesses with complex organisational structures, however, multiple BIAs are often required to be completed, to measure and understand the different geographical aspects of the business.

The questions within the BIA are tailored depending on the number of employees and the market a company operates in. If your business operates in an office in the UK with 50 employees, and a factory in South America with 200 employees, each of these BIAs will have different questions to reflect the differing geographical market and employee size of your operations.

As such, understanding how many BIAs you need to complete is an essential first step to ensure a successful certification journey.

Collecting data

One of the core aspects of completing the BIA is collecting data that relates to a businesses’ social and environmental performance, particularly for employees, suppliers and facilities.

The BIA has a threshold a company must meet in order to score points for a business practice. For example, if you offer access to private healthcare, it must be offered to 80% of employees in order to select this. A similar principle applies to questions which relate to your suppliers and your facilities.

These thresholds require you to understand in detail where your practices are universal across the business, and where they differ by region, supplier or otherwise.

For large businesses translating their data and reports into the BIA, it can be a complex process and often expose data gaps which need addressing. As this data acts as a core part of tracking and measuring ongoing performance, it is important to identify the right teams and systems to enable accurate monitoring and data evidencing from the outset.


The BIA covers all aspects of your business, with the 5 Impact Pillars focusing on Governance, Workers, Community, Environment and Customers.

Completing the BIA for a large and complex business can be a time-consuming process, requiring consultations with individuals across different teams, to gain a holistic view of your current performance.

Therefore, identifying and co-ordinating the right team of people to support the certification is the first step a large business needs to take. It often takes time to understand who the right individual is and how they can secure the relevant data or provide expertise, alongside their day-to-day role.

For teams like Procurement, People and Operations, dedicated time to investigate what a business’ various operational practices are, if these practices meet B Corp thresholds, and coordinating global teams to understand the most accurate answer is a time consuming process. Balancing this need amongst other business objectives and team priorities can be challenging, and it’s best to think about and plan for this from the start.

Internal engagement

Taking your business through B Corp certification is an opportunity to unify your team, bringing to life your purpose, ambition and goals for the future, but for large businesses with many employees, this can feel challenging.

We often see businesses coming across barriers when it comes to internal engagement, not knowing how to make B Corp relevant for the variety of teams across different regions, particularly those not involved with the certification process.

Our communications experts help bring this to life across your organisation, making it an engaging experience for the entire company. With Impact Reporting, ESG literacy, tailored content and storytelling, your sustainability journey can be an engaging process for all, both internally and externally.

Join the B Corp movement with Seismic as your Sustainability Partner

Having worked with large companies across a range of sectors, such as Avon, innocent drinks and PZ Cussons, we find that the bigger the business, the bigger the challenge.

The certification process can be a great opportunity for organisations to engage employees, create positive impact globally and transform the way businesses corporate to become a united force for good.

Whilst certification might seem daunting, partnering with a sustainability advisor takes a lot of the heavy lifting off your hands. At Seismic, we get to know your business and its practices. We use our in-depth understanding of the BIA and its requirements to find out where your business lies on the B Corp spectrum and how you can achieve certification.

Get in touch with our B Corp team.