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What are the Impact Business Models (IBMs) that are referred to in the assessment matrix?

Introduction

A unique quality of the B Corp process and its B Impact Assessment resource is that it is focused on - and concerned with - both its operational and its strategic intent.

This strategic component we call "Impact Business Models" or IBMs.

IBMs are strategic choices that are designed to create positive social and/or environmental impacts beyond the operational sustainability of a business.

They are focused on specific outcomes - internal or external - that are more intentional and intensive than the operational concerns.

One of looking at it is that they are, in part, the organisation's reason for being. So, operational questions are about a company's day to day practices, IBMs are about the company's design.

Rarity

As IBMs are strategic choices unique to the company, they are not widespread and relatively rare in their uptake. And they are hard to earn because they are what separates the average B Corp from the high scoring ones.

Most companies receive 0 - 2 IBMs, 1 of which will be the Governance IBM earned by adopting the legal component that creates accountability for all stakeholders.

You should not rely on IBM points to certify. You should be aiming to certify regardless of any achievable IBM points.

Characteristics

All IBMs have five characteristics. They are:

Specific

Not done by chance. Focused on benefiting a particular. group of stakeholders with a particular, positive outcome.

Material

Focused on a significant positive impact on a particular stakeholder. It is a focused, material part of the business, not a minor concern.

Verifiable

Not an informal process or policy. Needs to be proven by the company's materials.

Lasting

Not a consequence of the company's current circumstances. Difficult to alter in the short/near term. Designed to always be a part of the business.

Extraordinary

Unusual, rare and unique. Most companies do not have one. Not found in a traditional business.

Examples

Worker-Owned

Ownership models that empower employees

Customer benefiting products & services

Products/services designed to create social benefit

Environment benefiting products & services

Products/services designed to restore and conserve the natural environment

Workforce development

Hiring and training for chronically unemployed populations

Supply chain poverty alleviation

Supply chain strategies that reduce poverty

Local economic development

Strengthen local economies through procurement, ownership, customers, charitable giving

National economic development

Strengthen national economic development via privatisation or import substitution

Producer cooperative

Supplier owned structures that empower suppliers through decision making and profit distribution

Designed to give

Charitable giving business models that donate 20%+ of profits to charity

Designed to conserve

Environmental practices that redesign traditional processes to conserve natural resources

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  1. John Featherby

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