B Corp Registrations Double As Certificate Scope Widens

Laura Mullenders is the B Corp Country Coordinator at IMS Luxembourg, the B Corp point of contact for the country (Photo © Emmanuel Claude)

Luxembourgish companies with a B Corp certification, indicative of a positive social and environmental impact, have risen from 5 in 2022 to 12 in 2024. A new set of requirements now also means more involvement for IMS Luxembourg, the point of contact in the grand duchy.

March marks Benefit Corporation Month, aimed at spreading awareness about businesses being environmentally and socially conscious. The movement, which started in the US, has now grown in popularity in Europe and Luxembourg.

Companies wishing to obtain the certification or those undergoing compulsory recertification will now have to satisfy new requirements. The increased scope will include 10 topics, up from 5 and will cover the likes of justice equity diversity & inclusion, worker engagement, fair wages and more. This won’t be applicable before 2025, giving businesses time to go up one level.

“We always say that becoming a B Corp is the beginning of a journey. We tell them to celebrate the first year, to tell the internal and external stakeholders. And after the first year already, they should get started on working on recertification. And when a company wants to become a B Corp, it is already in a state of mind that it won’t stop and rest after being certified.”

Laura Mullenders, B Corp Country Coordinator at IMS Luxembourg

To obtain the certification, companies must file a B Impact Assessment, a tool that can also be used as an internal impact management device separately and free of charge. Businesses that wish to receive the B Corp label must provide independent analysts with proof, such as certificates for carbon compensation.

Voluntary involvement

B Corp certification is entirely voluntary, which can be seen as an indication of truthful engagement by the companies. At the same time, the administrative weight of applying and recertifying can be a turn-off for some smaller companies.

“You have to have a certain maturity, but also self-reflection because it requires a lot of energy. It is for everyone, regardless of size or economic sector. But it can be quite a burden if a company is not mature enough for that.”

Laura Mullenders, B Corp Country Coordinator at IMS Luxembourg.

The company with the fewest employees in Luxembourg to have received the B Corp certification is A Beautiful Green, a consulting agency specialising in corporate sustainability. This is perhaps an outlier, as businesses engaged in sustainability, circularity, or ESG will more likely be drawn to the label because it covers major characteristics of their activity.

Some surface-level understanding

Another one of the hurdles for the movement, according to Mullenders, is the surface-level view that B Corp is only limited to certification. Entrepreneurs get access to networking events where they can share best practices with other like-minded people. One example is the B Corp bootcamp, set up by IMS Luxembourg in 2023, which saw 20 non-certified companies go through a series of modules and visit or hear from businesses that have obtained the label.

As the movement grows, the danger of greenwashing is increasing by virtue of simply having more people interested in B Corp. Recertification and an increased scope are certainly good tools to ensure truthful engagement. It remains to be seen how the B Corp wave will evolve in Luxembourg, as the number of certified businesses continues to rise.

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