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What Is The Set-Up Process?

B Lab recommends that companies go through a setup process prior to getting started with certification.

We don't charge for helping with this because we think a business should have confirmation of eligibility and clarity on what is required before we begin proper. With complex or larger businesses, in particular, this process also provides valuable information for a client's internal discussions on whether or not to proceed.

The Set-Up Process ensures the time and effort in pursuing certification is derisked and well-positioned. Mostly, it is in reference to how the B Impact Assessment (BIA) should be applied to your business. In short, to ensure you have confirmation:

  1. You are eligible for certification
  2. You are set up on the correct track within the B Impact Assessment, as sometimes B Lab's view on what track you should be on differs from yours
  3. You are/are not required to answer any addenda within the BIA
  4. You have direct confirmation from B Lab regarding the approach to take if you sit on the threshold between two options, eg your size.
  5. You are/are not required to follow any additional requirements; these usually relate to disclosures concerning controversial issues within your sector

This process is also worth doing if you don't intend to certify but you do intend to invest a lot of time into using the B Impact Assessment or SDG Action Manager as a primary application and benchmarking tool.

For Simple Contexts

For some companies with a single entity operating within a single sector, this is very straightforward and no additional documentation is required.

For Complex/Larger Contexts

For companies where there are multiple entities involved or some additional layers of complexity, we take clients through  B Lab's Discovery Questionnaire process.

What is the Discovery Questionnaire (DQ) Process?

The Questionnaire

The DQ is a short form with a range of questions to ascertain the complexity and sensitivity of an organisation. Most BIA users don't even know a DQ exists, let alone see it. The only companies who see the DQ at this stage are those tick all of the following:

  1. Have someone involved who knows it exists so can help derisk the way forward.
  2. Have sufficient interest in certifying that makes it worthwhile filling it in.
  3. Are in a slightly more complex scenario, which generally means financial service firms, multinationals operating across multiple jurisdictions or companies in more controversial markets.

Access: The Discovery Questionnaire

An Organisational Chart

The DQ should be accompanied by an Org Chart to help B Lab visualise and understand your structure and the answers contained within the DQ.

It should show the relationships held between subsidiaries, sister companies and related entities.


On average, it is a two-week turnaround from submission of the DQ to B Lab.

What We Need

To expedite the process on your behalf we will need:

  1. The DQ form completed
  2. An Org Chart
  3. Your total number of employees
  4. Confirmation (for GDPR etc) that you are happy to discuss your situation with B Lab. This can either be in the form of an email we can forward on or by adding us into your team within the settings of the BIA, if you have already opened an account.

And we are, of course, happy to sign any relevant NDAs, if required.

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  1. John Featherby

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