What is a third party standard used in Benefit corporations?
Baked into the Benefit corporation (in each of the seven states which have passed the new legal structure) is a commitment to transparency. This includes the requirement that they publish an annual benefit report that assesses performance against a third party standard.In this context, a third party standard is litmus test by which a company’s social and environmental impact is defined, reported, and assessed. The third party standard is an independent standard that vows to be comprehensive, independent, and credible – in addition to being transparent.
A look at three third party standards:
- B Corporation – B Lab, the organization behind the B Corp standard, has proven a champion of third party business standards and state legislation. Their Impact Assessment questionnaire provides the framework, and responses are then weighted to determine whether or not a company has the capacity and ability to be become certified as a B Corp
- ULE 880 – This manufacturer standard has a rigorous 1000-point scoring system and looks comprehensively across company governance and the web of relationships between suppliers, customers, employees, and the natural world. The prerequisites approach is reminiscent of LEED rating systems, and should feel comfortable to those who have worked with green building certification. For the service sector, the ULE 881 standard is said to be underway. TriplePundit reviewed the standard in it’s infancy.
- GreenSeal – Less known than its product standards is the fact that GreenSeal has a standard for product manufacturers themselves. ‘GS-C1′ features a Bronze/Silver/Gold certfication structure and clear requirements for policies and actions across an array of CSR issues. It puts teeth behind a GRI-like framework.