What is B Corp and what does it yield?

What does B Corp mean and why is becoming a B Corp a big goal for StartDock?

5 min
Thom Wernke

Traditionally, companies are praised or judged on the sum: 'Turnover - Costs = Profit / Loss'. However, in a world that has to deal with themes such as climate change, inequality of opportunity and discrimination, there is a movement that believes that this equation is not correct (anymore). StartDock is part of this vision and wants to actively do something about it. In StartDock's vision, companies take something from our world/society and produce CO2, and so, logically, companies should also give something back.

StartDock has set itself the goal (as part of the B corp trajectory) to be able to say as soon as possible that it will be the first coworking space that rents out our office spaces, workplaces and meeting rooms CO2-neutral, fossil-free and / or sustainable. StartDock also wants to be able to demonstrate the CO2 footprint of our rental.

The embodiment of this movement is called B Lab, this is a non-profit network that transforms the global economy for the benefit of people, communities and the planet. B Lab was started in 2006, with the idea that we only have one world, without a plan B. To save that world from the threat of climate change, companies need to behave differently. The philosophy has a new kind of economy as a plan B, by certifying companies that meet high standards in terms of social performance, environmental performance, liability and transparency as B Corp.

Certifying your company as a B Corp is a means, but the goal is to change the economic system. B Lab creates norms, policies, tools and programs that change the behavior, culture and structural underpinnings of capitalism. B Corps are therefore ‘for profit’ companies, which meet the high standard of a B Lab.

What does StartDock's process look like to become a B Corp?

StartDock is currently in the early stages of becoming a B Corp. With the fine guidance of Move to Impact, we set in motion step by step the movement to become a 'business as a force for good'. If you as a company would be interested in this, you can start the process of becoming a B Corp for free. The entire B Corp process consists of the following steps:

1. Completing the B Impact Assessment (BIA) for the 0-measurement

The B Lab certification takes place via the B Impact Assessment (BIA) and touches on the themes 'People, Planet & Profit'. In total there are 200 points to be achieved, but in the first fill-in exercise no company will come close to these 200 points. The assessment can be found via this link. The assessment consists of five main categories:

  • Community (Diversity, inclusivity, economic impact, support of charities, stimulation of civic engagement, logistics chain etc.)
  • Workers (Financial security, health, well-being, education, discrimination, satisfaction, etc.)
  • Environment (Air, climate, water, energy, waste, education, etc.)
  • Governance (Administrative interweaving of objectives B Lab)
  • Customers (Educating customers, helping those who need help, providing benefits for mission-driven customers, etc.)

By answering the question and from the BIA, a 0-measurement is scored. StartDock scored 40.7 points on this baseline measurement. In figure 1 you can see how it was pre-built for StartDock. As you can see, there is still a lot of progress to be made in the themes of 'Governance' and 'Environment' in order to qualify for B Corp.

Figure 1: The score of StartDock's 0 measurement

2. Improving the impact of StartDock

In step two, from the scored 0 measurement, it is examined where the company can gain extra 'points' to improve on the five main categories above. The BIA makes it clear which issues generate many points (and therefore make a positive impact).

To be certified as a B Corp, an organization must earn at least 80 points. The certification is a fairly strict process, so StartDock is going to try to get to 90-100 points at the time we sign upand at B Lab for the actual certification. An example of a number of important steps that StartDock will take in the coming months:

  • Amending our articles of association, with provisions in which we as a company commit ourselves to the standards of B Lab;
  • Approaching the landlords of our four locations, with a concrete list of possible sustainability’s of our coworking spaces;
  • Improving the separation and reduction of all our waste streams (paper, glass, toxic, coffee grounds, organic waste, E-waste).
  • Implementation of policies to encourage diversity, inclusiveness and wealth accumulation;
  • Shaping and implementing a more sustainable, ecological and responsible purchasing policy;
  • Introducing a tool to measure and improve the well-being of all our colleagues.

3. Sign up for B Lab

Once we have accumulated more than 90 points, we will apply to B Lab for the certification. From that moment on, the B Impact Assessment is 'frozen', and we have to wait for a B Lab employee to come by to assess our BIA and determine the actual number of points for our entry as a B Corp.

Every three years, a follow-up to the certification is done, whereby you as a B Corp have to make visible improvements in the intervening time.

Why do you want to become a B Corp as a company?

StartDock believes that B Lab's philosophy will be the future: Every company will have to account quantitatively for the social and environmental policy that is being pursued in the future. We want to be ahead of this, and will start working on this now. In addition to feeling the responsibility, it is also fun to do good! A number of advantages that come with becoming/being a B Corp entails:

  • Reducing the impact on people and the environment
    Who is happy to pollute the environment, discriminate against people (often unconsciously) or consume unnecessary resources? We believe that conscious and responsible behavior makes everyone happy, so the biggest advantage is the pleasure you get as a company with customers and colleagues from being a better company for people and the environment;
  • Credibility
    As a B Corp you have a high degree of credibility, because of the value of the B Corp certificate and the strict handling of the standards by B Lab. The degree of transparency and the large number of questions from the B Impact Assessment mean that people know that the B Corp attaches valid value to people and society;
  • Recruitment
    Future generations are increasingly focusing on the extent to which companies take responsibility for people and the environment. By taking responsibility for this, we believe you will be a more attractive company to work for;
  • Consumers find sustainability increasingly important
    StartDock is a for-profit company and so profitability is important to us. By dealing well with our planet and the people in and around our company, we hope to be an attractive organization to rent a workplace, office space or meeting room or to provide products and services for suppliers;
  • Community
    The B Corps group is growing rapidly, with global brands such as Ben&Jerry's, Rituals, Patagonia and Nespresso leading the way,followed by a very large group of start-ups and scaleups. By becoming a B Corp yourself, you become part of this growing community of companies.

Would you like to know more about our B Corp process, share ideas with us or visit one of our locations? Please contact our Impact Officer via impact@startdock.nl or via 085-130 8310.

Get into contact

Get pricing and avalibility