Altor Wealth Management, which has held its B Corp status since 2020, will be re-certifying when the time comes, says Pitcher. “Given the work involved and the positive change it has driven in our business, we can confirm that it is far from a marketing gimmick,” he adds.
Indeed, Griffith at Habito recalls his initial reservations about the process. “For anyone who might view B Corp status as a ‘marketing gimmick’, I admit I initially feared it could be the same; that it might look good, and help drive some trust and credibility, but that it doesn’t really prove anything.
"I had reservations that the process would be answering a few questions to get a sticker for the website. But this couldn’t be further from the truth – it takes a lot of hard work to get and stay certified and is something you truly have to earn, by delivering meaningful positive impacts to the world and people around you.”
Companies undertaking the B Corp certification process are graded on areas relating to governance, workers, community, environment and customers using a points system, explains Faulkner at EQ Investors.
The first step is to complete an impact assessment consisting of around 200 questions, which include what percentage of management is from underrepresented populations, and what percentage of full-time workers are reimbursed for continuing education opportunities.
Before B Corp status can be achieved, companies must score at least 80 points in the assessment, which is reviewed by a B Lab standards analyst.
Supporting evidence is requested, with companies pursuing certification also subject to background checks of public records, news sources, and search engines for company names, brands, executives/founders, and other relevant topics.
“It’s a painstaking process to go through, a bit of a beast to be honest," says Faulkner. "But the assessment also highlights a company’s weaknesses, offering a roadmap to more positive and sustainable business practices.”
Pitcher also says that being a B Corp in financial services is about considering the broader impact of the company's actions. “We have to be humble in financial services and admit that, while worthwhile, our activities are largely about making the wealthiest fraction of society even wealthier.
“Being a B Corp means that added to this is a desire to have a broader, more positive effect. This might be through diverse recruitment, ethical allocation of capital, minimising carbon impacts through the whole supply chain or supporting charities to help the most vulnerable.”
Chloe Cheung is a senior features writer at FTAdviser