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What are some good tips for managing the verification stage?

B Lab analysts are stretched for time. They also feel that if you are legitimately doing the things you say you are, then the evidence shouldn't (generally speaking) be too difficult to illustrate. For these two reasons, they will want to avoid getting into lengthy discussions on particular questions.

As such, we recommend you work on a rule of thumb that you will get one chance to respond to their queries before they make a decision on whether or not your activity is clearly demonstrated. Whilst this isn't a hard and fast rule, it does help focus the mind on how well set out your evidence should be each time.

Here are some thoughts to help you do that well.

1 Point Plus & IBMs

These are higher risk questions for B Lab so if you need to be wise about time allocation, allocate your extra diligence to these. Before you spend a lot of time on the IBMs, be really confident that they legitimately apply. One litmus test is to ask yourself is "How clearly can I demonstrate this IBM exists via direct costs or revenues?" The answer should be: clearly.

Include Notes

When you are uploading documentation to the BIA, provide some commentary on how and why that particular document verifies the answer to the question.

Include Page Numbers

If you are uploading long or complex documents, include relevant page numbers and reference points for the evidence.

Comment Changes

Where the response is changed, it is important to include a comment to alet the analyst to what the answer should be ahead of time.

Primary Sources

Wherever possible, use the primary source as the source of proof: financial statements, policy documents etc, as opposed to secondary interpretations.

Raw Data

Where calculations are required, use the raw data.

Provide Policies

Where there are questions about policies, engaging in activities won't suffice. It needs to be policies that are documented and available to the stakeholders.

Credible Sources

Where external metrics are being used (eg local socio-economic stats) use as credible a source as possible.

Every Selection

Consider the fact that the proof needs to cover off all the answers provided in the answers, not just one of them.

All Data Points

Check the proof covers off all the data required to answer the question. Eg. if it's a percentage question, it needs all the data required to calculate the percentage.

Consider Redaction

Redaction is acceptable if needed to protect sensitive information, such as employee identities. Irrelevant sensitive information does not need to be submitted and all documents will be purged at the time of recertification or within 3 years of the working assessment.

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  1. John Featherby

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