To become a Certified B Corporation, a company generally must be in operation for at least 12 months. However, startups that can’t meet this requirement can obtain temporary “Certification Pending” status.
Certification Pending status signals to customers, employees, investors, and partners that the company has met the legal requirements of B Corp Certification and is on the path to becoming fully certified. It also authorizes the company to use the B Lab’s Certification Pending logo, which is reproduced on the right.
Certificate Pending status is valid for 12 months from issuance. The company may then apply for full certification as soon as the Company has been in operation for at least 12 months.
Pending status does not mean the company will qualify for certification at the end of the 12-month period. The company must have a verified B Impact Assessment score that meets B Lab’s score requirements when it applies for full certification. If the company cannot achieve B Lab’s requirements by the end of the 12-month pending period, a one-time 90-day extension may be requested at no cost.
To earn temporary Certification Pending designation, the following requirements must be met:
1.1. The company must not have been in business for more than 12 months.
1.2. The company must meet B Lab’s legal requirement concerning its corporate formation:
1.2.1. If the company is a corporation formed in California or Delaware, the company must be a benefit corporation. Alternatively, corporations in California (or other states which allow them) may choose to be a Social Purpose Corporation, but must include additional language in their Charter.
1.2.2. Corporations formed in other states or territories of the U.S. can find the B Lab requirements applicable to their state at: https://www.bcorporation.net/become-a-b-corp/how-to-become-a-b-corp/legal-roadmap/corporation-legal-roadmap
1.2.3. If the company is an LLC, LLP, or LP, it must amend its LLC agreement or partnership agreement to include the B Corp principles outlined by B Lab, located at the link above.
Note that amendment of a corporation's charter or partnership / operating agreement will almost certaintly require the consent of the company's shareholders and managers, so it is important to consult your company's legal documents to ensure proper procedure is followed.
Steps To Receive Certification Pending Status
2.1. Structure Your Startup’s Legal Entity to Meet B Lab Requirements, as outlined above.
2.2. Complete a Prospective B Impact Assessment. This Assessment should be prospective, meaning it should reflect the positive impact the company intends to have 12 months from the date of earning the pending status.
2.2.1. The Assessment can be found at:
2.3. Become familiar with the performance requirements for full certification by reading “Guidance on Meeting the Performance Requirement for B Corp Certification.”
2.3.1. The Guidelines can be found at:
2.4. Sign a Pending Certification Term Sheet, which includes acceptance of the limited rights to IP and limited access to B Lab’s services and support during the 12-month term. the term sheet can be found here: https://www.bcorporation.net/sites/default/files/documents/term_sheets/B_Corp_Term_Sheet-Pending_Certification%202014.pdf
2.5. Pay a $500.00 Pending Certification fee to B Lab.
2.6. Plan and begin conducting business operations in a way that optimizes your B Impact score and ensures certification once the company is fully eligible.
Additional information concerning the Pending designation may be found at: https://www.bcorporation.net/become-a-b-corp/how-to-become-a-b-corp/steps-start-ups