Benefit Corporations & Certified B Corps
Benefit corporations and Certified B Corporations are often confused. They share much in common and are complementary, but have a few important differences.
Benefit corporations and Certified B Corporations are both leaders of a global movement to use business as a force for good. Both meet higher standards of accountability and transparency. Both create the opportunity to unlock our full human potential and creativity to use the power of business for the higher purpose of solving society's most challenging problems.
|What's the Difference?|
|Issue||Benefit Corporations||Certified B Corporations|
|Accountability||Directors required to consider impact on all stakeholders||Same|
|Transparency||Must publish public report of overall social and environmental performance assessed against a third party standard*||Same|
|Performance||Self-reported||Must achieve minimum verified score on B Impact Assessment|
|Recertification required every two years against evolving standard|
|Availability||Available for corporations only in 30 U.S. states and D.C.**||Available to every business regardless of corporate structure, state, or country of incorporation|
|Cost||State filing fees from $70-$200||B Lab certification fees from $500 to $50,000/year, based on revenues|
|Role of B Lab||Developed Model Legislation, works for its passage and use, offers free reporting tool to meet transparency requirements; No role in oversight||Certifying body and supporting 501c3, offering access to Certified B Corporation logo, portfolio of services, and vibrant community of practice among B Corps; To learn more about B Corp certification, visit www.bcorporation.net.|
* Delaware benefit corps are not required to report publicly or against a third party standard
** Oregon and Maryland offer benefit LLC options
The benefit corporation structure is useful on its own, whether or not a company decides to pursue certification, but here is how the benefit corporation structure relates to B Corp certification:
- The best way for corporations to meet the legal requirement for B Corp certification is to use the benefit corporation legal structure.
- For corporations in some states, notably Delaware, using the benefit corp structure is the only way to meet the legal requirement for B Corp certification.
- Kickstarter, Method, Plum Organics, Farmigo, King Arthur Flour, Klean Kanteen, Greyston Bakery, and Sun Light & Power are some examples of Certified B Corporations that have met their legal requirement for certification by using the benefit corporation structure.
- Patagonia, AltSchool, Turnstile Tours, American Prison Data Systems, Gilded Rogue Enterprises, Evox Television, and Urbane & Gallant are some examples of benefit corporations that subsequently became Certified B Corporations because they felt the certification had additional value.
- B Lab, the nonprofit that certifies B Corps and that developed the benefit corporation structure, also offers benefit corporations a free reporting tool to meet their statutory transparency requirements using the B Impact Assessment.
- While many benefit corporations use the B Impact Assessment to create a free benefit report, benefit corporations do not need to reach a particular score, nor have their performance verified or audited by B Lab, or anyone else.