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So You Want to Be a B Corp: Here’s the Whys and Wherefores

12 March 2021

The B Impact Assessment parameters, and the benefits of the B-Corp certification process

Intesa has set out on the road to B Corp status. How does one become a B Corp? What benefits does this certification carry with it? Find out in this article.

Business is a kind of technology, the fruit of man’s imagination. Capitalism is also an invention of mankind, one that has accompanied us to the present day. Now, though, it is proving to be both inadequate and unsustainable for our future. If business is a human invention, that means the rules of the game can be changed.

This is the presumption underlying “B Corp”, a movement made up of companies who incorporate a dual mission into their business practice: profit along with a commitment to society and the environment. On a regulatory level, Italy was the first country in the world to promulgate a law recognising benefit corporations (in 2016), as well as being one of the leading hubs for B Corps across the globe. How does one become a B Corp?

Steps to Become a B Corp: the B Impact Assessment

The first step toward becoming a B Corp is tackling the B Impact Assessment (BIA). The BIA is a 200-part questionnaire developed by B Lab, the American nonprofit entity that has been promoting the B Corp movement across the world. The BIA is available for free online, and measures the company’s initial (or “baseline) impact.

The BIA is divided into five areas:

Governance: the area gauging the company’s overall mission, the significance it places on ethics, and corporate transparency, as well as its capacity to integrate a social- and environmental-impact assessment into its everyday business decisions.
– People: the area wherein the company’s commitment to worker (meaning employee and independent contractor / associate) wellness is measured, by reviewing compensation, benefit, and personal- and professional-development policy and practice.
Community: the area in which the company’s commitment towards its surrounding community is measured. This section includes questions on diversity and inclusion, on services and investments for the community, and the company’s impact as measured through its effect on its own supply chain.
Environment: which measures environmental management in a holistic way, from the energy efficiency of its buildings and the warehouses onsite at headquarters to the use of resources, from energy consumption to energy emissions.
Customers: the area that measures the impact of its products and services on end-users.

The Findings of the B Impact Assessment

The Impact Assessment generates three “outputs”:

1) A score that ranges from 0-200 points. At 80 points, a company reaches “total break even”, meaning the point at which an “extractive” kind of company (meaning one that absorbs more valuable resources than it returns) to a company that is “regenerative” (which generates more value than it absorbs).
2) An impact profile: a chart depicting the company’s positive impact within those areas the BIA measures, which is important for purposes of identifying the areas in which the company is able to generate value, and those where there’s room for improvement.
3) A measurement of its contribution in terms of SDG (Sustainable Development Goals), objectives established by the UN to be reached by 2030 for the purpose of ensuring prosperity for everyone in the future.

Only 3% of companies who take the BIA are able to secure B Corp certification.

Why Become a B Corp

We have had the opportunity to share with you the reasons that led Intesa to undertake a B Impact Assessment and about how this journey has raised awareness within the company in terms of our mission, values, and objectives. That said, B Certification carries with it additional benefits in terms of business operations and productivity: it allows companies to set themselves apart in the market, boost their earnings, and build greater buy-in amongst investors, suppliers, and customers.

Intesa intends to be a company that incorporates positive social and environmental objectives into its own business strategy, along with its economic and financial objectives. Generating profit as the very system in which we operate is regenerating, producing a positive impact on society, people, and Nature.

Nadia Rendina, Deputy CMO, Head of Marketing & Communications at Intesa put it like this: “The current climate has shown us how resilience can become a strength for all of us. We have come to understand that stopgap measures are not enough, we need to change our way of living. Sustainability must become a part of our everyday lives”.

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