A "B Impact Assessment" Success Guide
by Marybeth Alexander

A "B Impact Assessment" Success Guide

Have you ever felt that your company is more than just a profit-driven entity? Like us at KnowledgeOwl, you might admire businesses that not only succeed financially, but also enrich the world for their customers, employees, and the wider community. Maybe, like us, you aspire to be one of those companies.

From the outset, my vision for KnowledgeOwl was to create a force for good through a for-profit model. Inspired by companies with alternative business strategies and values, we aimed to prioritize more than just financial gain.

In our journey, one tool that has been invaluable is KnowledgeOwl itself. It’s been instrumental in organizing and managing the extensive documentation needed for the B Impact Assessment, a comprehensive online questionnaire that assesses a company's social and environmental impact.

Let's dive into how the B Impact Assessment can be a roadmap for companies aspiring to be forces for good and how KnowledgeOwl can help any organization seeking to measure and enhance its positive impact.

Understanding the B Impact Assessment

The B Impact Assessment is a detailed online questionnaire that helps businesses evaluate various impact areas (governance, workers, community, environment, and customers). By engaging with the B Impact Assessment, you'll be able to:

  • Answer comprehensive questions about your impact standards.
  • Learn and implement credible best practices.
  • Benchmark against industry peers.
  • Set and pursue continual impact improvement goals.
  • Find new ways to pursue business as a force for good.

Impact Areas

This assessment requires companies to provide documentation and evidence of responsible practices in the following five areas:


  • Corporate accountability and transparency.
  • Mission and engagement with stakeholders.
  • Ethical business practices.

Examples: policies for ethics and transparency, stakeholder engagement activities, mission alignment in business decisions.


  • Employee compensation and benefits.
  • Work environment and job flexibility.
  • Training and education opportunities.

Examples: fair wage policies, health benefits, professional development programs, employee feedback mechanisms.


  • Local and global community engagement.
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Supplier and distributor relationships.

Examples: community service initiatives, diversity and inclusion policies, fair trade practices, support for local businesses.


  • Sustainable environmental practices.
  • Resource use and energy efficiency.
  • Impact of products and services on the environment.

Examples: recycling programs, energy-efficient office practices, eco-friendly product design, carbon footprint reduction efforts.


  • Product/service quality and safety.
  • Customer privacy and data security.
  • Positive impact on customers.

Examples: customer satisfaction policies, data protection measures, products/services that create social or environmental benefits.

Accessing the B Impact Assessment

And guess what? The B Impact Assessment, a requirement for B Corp certification, is a free tool available to anyone who wants to benchmark and improve their business practices.

You can use the B Impact Assessment to measure your social and environmental impact even if you never plan to submit for approval to officially join the B Corp Movement.

You can sign up for an account and get started today.

Getting Started with the B Impact Assessment

After you’ve created a free B Impact Assessment account, you can begin to answer some basic questions about your company. Your answers will determine the specific track your company will follow throughout the assessment. Don’t fret over these initial answers; they can be adjusted later.

Once you’ve determined your company’s track, you'll access the B Impact Assessment online portal. I strongly recommend using the online portal to complete the assessment because it offers valuable tools and resources that you miss with the PDF or Excel versions.

The online portal shines by allowing real-time tracking of your progress and score. Each question comes with details like point values, options to bookmark or set as a goal, additional learning resources, and feedback mechanisms. You can also compare your score against other businesses, which provides valuable context.

I advise doing a swift initial run-through of the assessment. At this stage, don’t worry about documentation or public comments; focus on understanding the scope of the assessment and gauging where you stand.

During this first pass, use the Bookmark feature to quickly flag questions for later review. The Set Goal function is more detailed, allowing you to set due dates and receive reminders, but consider bookmarking for initial explorations.

Finishing this first round provides you with an initial score and, more importantly, insights into potential improvement opportunities. The portal offers reports like the Bookmark Report, which consolidates your flagged items, and an Improvement Report, which suggests possible next steps.

Even if you stop after this preliminary assessment, you'll have gained substantial insights into enhancing your company's social and environmental impact.

Enhancing Submission Quality with KnowledgeOwl

If you aim to officially submit an application to become a Certified B Corporation, prepare for an in-depth analysis of your business that requires substantiating your practices with solid evidence. Documentation is crucial here, ranging from HR policies to environmental reports and community engagement records. In some instances, you may need to create new documentation.

A well-organized knowledge base can elevate the quality of your B Corp application by ensuring that your assessment responses are backed by readily accessible, concrete evidence. This is not only beneficial for initial certification, but also for long-term B Corp status maintenance, because it makes recertification updates more manageable. By consolidating your B Impact documentation in a centralized knowledge base, you make it easily accessible for the entire team, fostering an environment of transparency and collective responsibility.

Here, KnowledgeOwl is an indispensable asset. It serves as a centralized repository for all crucial documents, streamlining the collection and organization process.

Beyond certification, KnowledgeOwl also enables the sharing of company-wide policies, procedures, and documentation. For instance, our own company knowledge base includes cultural documents, our employee handbook, various team policies, and much more.

Here are some of KnowledgeOwl's features that can help organize and store your documentation:

  • Secure Cloud Storage: All of your important documents are safely stored and accessible from anywhere, fostering a seamless collaboration and review process among team members.
  • Categories for Organization and Navigation: Customize your knowledge base structure to align with the B Impact Assessment or any format that suits you and your readers.
  • Tagging for Organization: Tags can be used to add metadata to articles, facilitating the grouping of articles by tags, such as tagging responsible individuals or tracking statuses. 
  • Article Status: Utilize KnowledgeOwl’s built-in article statuses to monitor your progress. Set articles (i.e. B Impact Assessment questions) to Draft or Review, and later update their status to Published as they are completed.
  • File Library: KnowledgeOwl's robust file library supports various file types and allows for embedding or linking within articles, streamlining documentation management for the B Impact Assessment.
  • PDF Export: Easily export your online policies and procedures to PDF, combining the benefits of searchable online documents with downloadable files for assessment validation.

Tracking Changes Over Time

Another key advantage to a centralized knowledge base like KnowledgeOwl is the ease of updating documents and tracking changes over time. This is especially useful for businesses pursuing B Corp certification, as it supports continuous improvement and adaptation. KnowledgeOwl’s robust version control maintains a clear record of your company's progress towards greater social and environmental responsibility.

Here are some ways KnowledgeOwl can assist in updating and tracking changes:

  • Versions: Create and manage new versions of articles, allowing for updates without immediate publication and a history log of changes.
  • Needs Review status: Set articles to automatically change to the Needs Review status, prompting regular updates and ensuring documentation stays current.
  • Comments: Collect feedback on documentation to refine your policies and procedures, enhancing accuracy and effectiveness over time.

How KnowledgeOwl used KnowledgeOwl for its B Impact Assessment

As we embarked on our B Corp certification, leveraging KnowledgeOwl was a natural choice. We integrated all new documentation from the B Impact Assessment into our existing internal knowledge base. This streamlined our certification process and made it easy to share our sustainability practices across the organization, promoting a transparent and responsible culture.

With KnowledgeOwl, we centralized everything from our mission statement and values to revised employee policies like Virtual Office Stewardship and our Stakeholder Policy. The platform makes it easy to keep our information current, and we're confident it will aid us in maintaining our B Corp status in future assessments.

We believe KnowledgeOwl can be a transformative tool for other companies aiming to become B Corps by helping them manage all of the necessary documentation throughout the certification process and beyond.

Beyond the Assessment: Ongoing Documentation and Improvement

Completing the B Impact Assessment or achieving B Corp certification is not the end of the journey; rather, those steps come from a commitment to an ongoing process of improvement. The dynamic nature of business and the evolving standards of B Corp certification require a mindset that embraces continuous improvement. Regularly revisiting your practices, reassessing your impact, and striving for higher standards are integral to being a business as a force for good, as well as for maintaining and enhancing your B Corp certification.

Leveraging Assessment Results for Business Improvement

The insights gained from the B Impact Assessment are helpful for driving improvements in your business. These results provide a clear picture of where your business excels and where there is room for growth. Use this feedback to set new goals and create actionable plans in areas such as environmental sustainability, employee wellbeing, and community engagement. This proactive approach ensures that your business meets and exceeds the evolving standards of social and environmental performance.

At KnowledgeOwl, we have decided to complete and report on the B Impact Assessment on an annual basis. Our B Corp Birthday happens to be in December, which is always a good time for reflection and planning. This process allows us to keep our documentation up-to-date and identify areas to focus on improving in the upcoming year. While we may only complete the B Impact Assessment once per year, we are regularly updating our knowledge base throughout the year, and we encourage you to do so as well. 😊

Keeping Your Knowledge Base Current

An up-to-date knowledge base is a crucial asset in the process of continual improvement. As your business introduces new initiatives, policies, or achieves new milestones, updating this information in KnowledgeOwl facilitates internal transparency and prepares you for the recertification process by ensuring that all relevant information is readily accessible.

For example, KnowledgeOwl has a program called 2% for People and Planet, and we document its policies and results in our internal knowledge base. Through this program, we commit 1% of our revenue to the planet and 1% of our profit to people. Each month, a different member of the KnowledgeOwl team is able to choose a local or global cause for the company to donate to. We keep track of all of our monthly donations in this document, which will allow us to easily calculate and measure our impact when it's time to complete our next B Impact Assessment.

Policies and programs change all the time, and keeping them updated maintains the relevance and effectiveness of your organization's processes. Additionally, it's a time-saving gift to your future self; consider it an investment in efficiency and ease for the days ahead!

KO for Good Discount

As a Certified B Corp, we love working with other businesses who are doing good in the world.

That's why we offer KO for Good Discount to provide discounted subscriptions for nonprofits, B Corps, and other purpose-driven organizations. If you want to use KnowledgeOwl, we want to help, so feel free to reach out!

For more information on B Corporations and the B Impact Assessment, visit B Lab’s official website and the B Impact Assessment page. Embark on your journey towards becoming a force for good, and let KnowledgeOwl be your guide and companion in this transformative endeavor.

Try KnowledgeOwl for free and let us know how we can help. Hoot! 🦉

Marybeth Alexander

Marybeth is the Knowledge Goddess and Chief Executive Owl at KnowledgeOwl. Connect with her on LinkedIn

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