How to Apply for B Corp Certification

By now your business is at least a year old, and you would like to achieve B Corp Certification as the cherry on top. You’ve come to the right place! This article lays out how to apply for B Corp Certification in California, which we’re all too familiar with. Note: Not all states allow benefit corporations. 

Step # 1

The first step in B Corp Certification is to take the free online B Impact Assessment (BIA), which measures how your business interacts with various stakeholders and the environment. Of course, be as transparent with your answers to the BIA as possible. For a full report (which you’ll need for certification), the process can take 2-3 hours. So, be prepared!

Upon completing the BIA, your business will be given a score that denotes your social and environmental impact. The nonprofit granting B Corp Certifications, B Lab, only certifies corporations with scores of 80 or higher. But if your business doesn’t score higher than 80, not to worry! You can still re-apply after following the recommendations that will accompany your BIA results.

Step # 2

The second step in B Corp Certification is to comply with certain legal requirements. The highest level of change involves the mindset of the corporation, meaning that the goal of corporate actions must now be conscientious of all stakeholders, including the community and the environment.

Paperwork wise, you will need to change your business’s entity structure to a “benefit corporation” under California law. If your business is currently an LLC, you will have to convert to a benefit corporation; if your business is currently a corporation, you will need to adjust some of your paperwork to become a benefit corporation. We know, this part can be icky. Therefore, this step likely requires your lawyer to get involved to make the required legal changes for your business.

Step # 3

The third step in B Corp Certification is to verify your business’s BIA score and to be transparent with it. By now you read our article breaking down the benefit corporation, so you know that the name of the game is transparency. Your Impact Report (which is essentially a summary of your BIA) must be made public every year to remain compliant. But don’t worry, this isn’t as burdensome as it sounds! In addition, you will need to retake and recertify your BIA score every 3 years to remain compliant.

Step # 4

The final step in B Corp Certification is to sign your agreement with B Lab (see Step # 2 for more on the required agreement) and pay the annual fee applicable to your revenue level. For example, corporations with annual sales between $0 – $149,000 pay an annual $500 certification fee, and corporations with annual sales between $150,000 – $1,900,000 pay an annual $1,000 certification fee.


B Corp Certification can be a bit tedious, but the benefits are many. Certification means your business is stamped with a “socially-conscious” seal of approval that does good for the world and good for you. Reach out to if you need help beginning the process!

By: Zachary Avina – 08/10/18

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Photo by John Jennings