How Do I Pick a Third Party Standard?
In most states, benefit corporations are required to publish an annual benefit report that includes an assessment of the company's overall social and environmental performance against a third party standard. This is also true in Colorado and is considered a best practice in Delaware. This transparency requirement is intended to help the benefit corporation, its directors, its shareholders, and the general public determine whether the benefit corporation has met its statutory corporate purpose create general public benefit.
In most states, a third party standard is defined as "a standard for defining, reporting, and assessing overall corporate social and environmental performance" that must be comprehensive, independent, credible, and transparent. To see the in depth definition of third party standard you can read the model legislation.
- Government has no role in determining whether a selected third party standard is acceptable or whether the benefit corporation has met its benefit corporation purpose to create a material positive impact;
- Benefit corporations are not required to adopt a specific third party standard; and
- Benefit corporations are not required to be audited or certified by any third party standards organization.
List of standards:
The below list is not intended to be exhaustive and B Lab does not take any position on whether any third party standard listed (or not listed) below should be deemed acceptable. It is up to the benefit corporation, its directors, and ultimately its shareholders, to determine whether any particular third party standard meets the statutory criteria.
In addition to those third party standards listed below, more than 100 'raters' of corporate sustainability practices are listed in the 'Rate the Raters' report published by the research and consulting firm SustainAbility. This list is available for free here.
If you are aware of a third party standard that meets the statutory criteria that you think should be included on this list, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
B Impact Assessment
Governed by B Lab
The B Impact Assessment is a free, comprehensive, and transparent tool for assessing overall corporate social and environmental performance. Learn more about using the B Impact Assessment to generate benefit reports.
Ceres Roadmap to Sustainability
Governed by Ceres
The Roadmap is designed to provide a comprehensive platform for sustainable business strategy and for accelerating best practices and performance.
Food Alliance Certified
Governed by Food Alliance
Food Alliance provides comprehensive third-party certification for social and environmental responsibility in agriculture and the food industry.
Global Reporting Initiative
Governed by Global Reporting Initiative
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is a network-based organization that produces a comprehensive sustainability reporting framework that is widely used around the world.
Good Guide Company Ratings
Governed by GoodGuide, Inc.
GoodGuide's mission is to provide authoritative information about the health, environmental and social performance of products and companies.
Green America Business Network
Governed by Green America
Green America rates companies on their social and environmental impact. http://www.greenamerica.org
Green Seal Business Certification
Governed by Green Seal
Certifying goods and services that meet the highest standards of environmental quality and performance.
Governed by ISO International
ISO 26000 will distil a globally relevant understanding of what social responsibility is and what organizations need to do to operate in a socially responsible way.
People4Earth Business Framework
Governed by People4Earth
People 4 Earth is a global non-profit organization improving the well-being of people and the health of our planet by providing a Sustainability Accounting and Management System and framework for products and services.
Governed by Underwriters Laboratories
Sustainability Quotient (UL/SQ) is a comprehensive enterprise-level sustainability program to facilitate the integration of corporate sustainability best practices in enterprises that is built upon 3rd party verifiable standards such as UL 880.
Sustainable Farm Certification
Governed by Sustainable Agriculture Network
The Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) promotes efficient and productive agriculture, biodiversity conservation and sustainable community development by creating social and environmental standards.