B Lab (Hong Kong & Macau) is here to assist businesses dedicated to the balance of profit and purpose.

Understanding Eligibility and Certification Pathways

In this section, you will learn about which category of certification pathways your company falls into.

In general, all for-profit companies can apply for the B Corporation Certification. Companies with operational year less than 1 year will go for the Pending B Corporation first. The certification pathways vary depending on the size, revenue and organization structure of your company.

Therefore, you are advised to check which of the following categories your company would fall into. Here you can have an idea about which pathway your company may fall into and the related certification process. Final decision to be decided by B Lab depending on company’s organization structure.

Small Enterprises

A small enterprise’s profile is described as follows:

  • With an annual revenue < $5M USD, and
  • Employs less than 50 full-time employees

To find out more, download the Small Enterprise Guide or contact B Lab (HK & Macau).

Small-Medium Enterprises

A small-medium enterprise’s profile is described as follows:

  • With an annual revenue > $5M USD, or
  • Employs between 50 to 250 full-time employees

To find out more, download the Small-Medium Enterprise Guide or contact B Lab (HK & Macau).

Medium Enterprises

A medium enterprise’s profile is described as follows:

  • With an annual revenue > $100M USD, or
  • Employs > 250 full time employees

To find out more, download the Medium Enterprise Guide or contact B Lab (HK & Macau).

Large Enterprises

A large enterprise is either an eligible private or a public company:

  • With an annual revenue > $100M USD, and
  • With 10 or more subsidiaries operating in multiple countries

    OR

  • With an annual revenue > $1B USD

To find out more, download the Large Enterprise Guide or contact B Lab (HK & Macau).

B Movement Builders

Companies with an annual revenue of more than $5B USD would be considered as an eligible B Movement Builder. Please note that all subsidiaries must also follow the Large Enterprises pathway, regardless of size.

Click here to find out more about B Movement Builders or contact B Lab (HK & Macau).

Pending B Corp

Pending B Corps are for companies, especially for those who have operated less than 12 months or still in small scale,  to apply before proceeding for B Corps certification.

Achieving the status signals to public that the companies are adopting stakeholder governance and managing their social and environmental performance with the B Impact Assessment, a rigorous tool driving for using business as a force for good. It provides a valuable B Corps framework to guide the development of companies and allows more time to improve and prepare for the full verification process of B Corp Certification.  (Here is how B Lab defines the start of operation)

To become a Pending B Corp, companies are required to:

  • Meet the B Corp legal requirement: amend the company’s Article of Association according to the suggested language so as to legally commit to stakeholder governance. Here is more explanation.
  • Complete and submit a prospective B Impact Assessment: working through the B Impact Assessment (BIA) to understand B Corp standards and identify the right policies and practices the company has implemented or going to develop to reach minimum 80 scores. The prospective B Impact Assessment does not need to be verified by B Lab, so the company will not receive a verified score.  As Pending B Corp status is finite,  it needs to execute what has been answered in the BIA for the application of Certified B Corps before the status expired.  
  • Sign the Pending B Corp agreement and pay a one-time fee of US$500: this covers a 12-month period and is renewable for additional one year at the same fee.  Being a Pending B corp, the company can use the Pending B Corp logo publicly and join the B Corp community.

Related Entities

For a subsidiary, or companies have a Subsidiary, Franchise, Division, or other affiliated entities, here are addition information apart from Certification Guide.  Please contact us for queries.

Certification Fee

How much does it cost to be a Certified B Corporation?

B Impact Assessment (BIA) is a complementary platform for all companies to self-access their social and environmental impact and set the improvement road map. A company applying for the Certified B Corporation will be charged a non-refundable submission fee of US$350 at the time it submits its BIA for verification. The purpose of the submission fee is to enable B Lab to focus its resource on committed applicants. The submission fee can be used to offset the annual certification fee once the company is certified.

Certified B Corporations pay an annual certification fee, which licenses them to use intellectual property like the Certified B Corp logo. The Certification fees are calculated according to the revenue of the company.

Pricing in US Dollars:

Company Annual Revenue Annual Certification
Fee
less than $1M $1,000
$1M to < $2M $1,250
$2M to < $3M $1,500
$5M to < $10M $2,500
$10M to < $20M $5,000
$20M to < $50M $10,000
$50M to < $75M $15,000
$75M to < $100M $20,000
$100M to < $250M * $25,000
$250M to < $500M * $30,000
$500M to < $750M * $37,500
$750M to < $1B * $45,000
$1 B+ Refer to Large Enterprise Certification Approach
Company Annual Revenue Annual Certification
Fee
less than $1M $1,000
$1M to < $2M $1,250
$2M to < $3M $1,500
$5M to < $10M $2,500
$10M to < $20M $5,000
$20M to < $50M $10,000
$50M to < $75M $15,000
$75M to < $100M $20,000
$100M to < $250M * $25,000
$250M to < $500M * $30,000
$500M to < $750M * $37,500
$750M to < $1B * $45,000
$1 B+ Refer to Large Enterprise Certification Approach

* Apart from annual revenue US$1B+, companies with annual revenue above US$100M and 10 or more subsidaries operating in multiple countries will also fall under the Large Enterprise Certification Approach. More detail, including related cost and annual fee, is available in the guide. Please contact us to discuss your case in detail.

What does my annual certification fee cover?

Price for certification varies according to the size of your company and based on principles of inclusivity, transparency, and fairness.

In general, B Lab costs are broken into four groups:

  • Verification and standards: Much of the annual fee you pay goes to cover costs associated with verification including expenses related to our standards review staff as well as to maintaining and developing the standards underpinning the certification.
  • Technology platforms: In addition to the certification we offer the B Impact Assessment as a free tool for companies to measure and improve their impact. These fees support the ongoing development and improvement of this tool alongside the B Hive, B Analytics, and our back office administration platforms.
  • Licensing fees: This is what you pay us to license the growing ‘B’ brand on your products, services, and marketing platforms and to support efforts to grow brand awareness.
  • Local and global movement building: Local and global movement building: Depending on the size of your company, the surplus from your fee goes to cover costs associated with growth and engagement efforts in service to a growing global movement.

As a non-profit organization, your certification fees cover a portion of B Lab’s operating expenses.

What is the B Corp Legal Requirement?

There are three key pillars to the B Corp Certification process: completing the B Impact Assessment (“BIA”), meeting the B Corp Legal Requirement, and passing the verification process administered by B Lab.

To meet the B Corp Legal Requirement is essentially taking a step to integrate stakeholder consideration into the governance structure of the business, and how to achieve this varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

It may be met either by adopting the Benefit Corporation legal form where such legal form is available (e.g. in 36 states and District of Columbia in the United States), or amending the constitutional or governing documents of an entity to include language that legally commits the business to consider stakeholders’ interests, where such language has been drafted and approved by B Lab for that particular jurisdiction (e.g. in United Kingdom, Australia, and now Hong Kong).

The B Corp Legal Requirement for Hong Kong (“HK Legal Requirement”) comes into effect on January 1, 2021, and is applicable to all existing or prospective B Corps that are in the legal form of a company or partnership. You may view the suggested language here as approved by B Lab to be integrated in the constitutional or governing documents of a company (i.e. articles of association).

For the avoidance of any doubt, there is no Hong Kong legislative process for this HK Legal Requirement to become part of any Hong Kong legislation.  Adopting this HK Legal Requirement is not required under Hong Kong law or regulations, but is only required by B Lab for Hong Kong B Corps as part of B Corp Certification.

For more details on the background of the suggested language, and the suggested language for partnerships and limited partnerships, please refer to the document titled Explanatory Note – B Corp Legal Requirement for Hong Kong”.

Why is the HK Legal Requirement Important?

The HK Legal Requirement is now expected for Hong Kong entities wishing to obtain B Corp Certification, and it is important because it is intended to align internally the “mission lock” of the B Corp by integrating stakeholder consideration in the constitutional or governing documents of the entity. This is related to meeting the “governance” aspect of the BIA for the B Corp Certification, and demonstrates a B Corp’s commitment towards considering interests of stakeholders (workers, environment, customers and community).

The HK Legal Requirement covers two key aspects:

  1. To make clear from the outset that it is an object of the company, through its business and operations, to create a material positive impact on society and environment.
  2. Each director is expected and empowered to take into account the interests of stakeholders other than the shareholders or members, to act in the way he or she considers, in good faith, most likely to achieve the objects of the company, including or being to create material positive impact on society and environment.  In this regard the HK Legal Requirement further clarifies and provides for the manner and extent to which environmental and social factors can be taken into account.

How to Meet the HK Legal Requirement?

An existing company seeking B Corp Certification would need to amend its articles of association by special resolution (i.e. a resolution passed by a majority of at least 75% of members) to include the language of the HK Legal Requirement.

A new company seeking B Corp Certification should include the language in its articles when the company is incorporated.

A partnership or limited partnership would need to include the suggested language in its partnership agreement or deed of partnership, and if a partnership or limited partnership does not have a written governing document, it is required to adopt one in order to include the suggested language for B Corp Certification.

Adopting the HK Legal Requirement has important legal implications. Legal advice should be sought to fully understand these implications as specific to the legal form and also with respect to the specific business activities and operations of the entity, besides any legal assistance in amending the constitutional or governing documents of the entity.  Some key aspects to consider are (using company as example):

  • The implications of the HK Legal Requirement should be properly communicated with or between all shareholders and directors of the company, as the HK Legal Requirement involves key provisions in the contract between the shareholders and the company (i.e. the articles of association) and regarding directors’ duties as explained above.
  • Fulfilling the commitment as set out in the suggested language would require the B Corp to have proper governance structure and system in place, such as board diversity to anti-discrimination policy to a high standard of decision-making process to ensure stakeholders’ interests are considered consistent with the adopted object.
  • An existing or prospective B Corp may also need to confirm whether any consents by or notices to any authorities or any third party or any other actions are required in relation to an amendment of the articles of association.

Extended Reading:

Having more questions about meeting legal requirement in Hong Kong? Click here to view Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the topic.

To find out more about legal requirement, use the online Legal Requirement Tool to see how your company can ensure meeting the stakeholder governance standards.

To find out more about the suggested language, please refer to the document titled “Explanatory Note – B Corp Legal Requirement for Hong Kong”.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How does the B Corp Legal Requirement relate to the Hong Kong legislation or law?

There is no specific legal form for Benefit Corporation in Hong Kong, and for the avoidance of any doubt, there is no Hong Kong legislative process for the B Corp Legal Requirement to become part of any Hong Kong legislation. 

Adopting the B Corp Legal Requirement is not a requirement under the law or regulations of Hong Kong, but a requirement by B Lab for Hong Kong’s business entities that wish to certify as B Corp, to amend the constitutional or governing documents to include suggested language developed with B Lab that incorporates stakeholder consideration into the objects and governance of the entities.

Does a business need to consult local authorities about the B Corp Legal Requirement before adopting it?

As set out in Q1, the B Corp Legal Requirement is not a requirement under Hong Kong law or regulations, nor is it prescribed by any local authorities in Hong Kong. The B Corp Legal Requirement is only required by B Lab for Hong Kong B Corps as part of B Corp Certification. There may however be entities that may be subject to regulation or oversight by certain government authorities that should consider and confirm whether the prior approval of the relevant authorities is required before amending the constitutional or governing documents to adopt the B Corp Legal Requirement.

If you have questions as to whether your business entity or legal form is eligible for B Corp Certification or generally how you may be able to meet the B Corp Legal Requirement, please consult with B Lab (Hong Kong & Macau) and seek appropriate legal advice.

Who should be involved for a company to adopt the B Corp Legal Requirement?

To adopt the B Corp Legal Requirement, both shareholders and directors must be involved and should fully understand the implications of adopting the B Corp Legal Requirement.

In terms of process, the articles of association must be drafted or amended (amendments must be by special resolution passed by a majority of at least 75% of shareholders) to include the language of the B Corp Legal Requirement.

An existing or prospective B Corp may also need to confirm whether it is required to obtain any consent from, or give notice to, any third party (e.g. banks, or local government authorities as mentioned in Q2) in relation to amending its articles of association.

It is important to note while the B Corp Legal Requirement is a reflection of the entity’s commitment to incorporate stakeholder consideration into its objects and governance, to fulfill such commitment takes more than adopting the B Corp Legal Requirement – it would require potentially new or updated policies and processes to be put in place and the general strengthening of governance for the organisation.  It is an exercise that may need to involve the whole company in its business and operations.

Is the Hong Kong subsidiary of a Certified B Corp, whether this is a foreign or Hong Kong parent company, required to adopt the B Corp Legal Requirement for Hong Kong?

It depends. Relevant factors include whether the subsidiary is wholly owned by the Certified B Corp parent company, whether the parent company included this subsidiary in its B Corp certification portfolio of companies, and whether the parent company had to meet B Corp Legal Requirement in the jurisdiction where it is set up and certified as B Corp. Please consult with B Lab (Hong Kong & Macau) if you are a subsidiary company of a Certified B Corp.

What are the risk implications financially or legally to the HK B Corp Legal Requirement?

The B Corp Legal Requirement involves key provisions in the contract between the shareholders (i.e. the articles of association) and regarding directors’ duties, therefore the implications of the B Corp Legal Requirement for shareholders and directors to commit to considering stakeholders’ interests should be properly communicated with or between all shareholders and directors of the company, although the HK Legal Requirement is not intended to create new rights for any other persons to bring claims against the company or the directors.

Using company as example:

The HK Legal Requirement commits the company towards achieving a positive material impact on society and environment, taken as a whole, and to consider stakeholders’ interest in achieving the company’s objects. Further, the suggested language of the HK Legal Requirement requires that directors have regard to the factors and stakeholders’ interests such as those set out in para (2) of the suggested language of the HK Legal Requirement, as part of the directors’ duties.

It is important to note that the HK Legal Requirement is related to meeting the “governance” requirements of the BIA, and as a step that a company takes to demonstrate its commitment to considering stakeholders’ interests. By becoming a B Corp a company may be making a public pledge to consider stakeholders’ interest, and may potentially be exposed to reputational risk if it does not take this pledge seriously.  Upon adopting the HK Legal Requirement, the company may require new or updated policies and processes to be put in place in its governance and in its business and operations to further its commitment.

As a B Corp commits towards achieving a positive material impact on society and environment and in this regard to consider stakeholders’ interests besides interests of shareholders, a B Corp may possibly be more appealing or less appealing to specific or different types of investors, lenders, customers, suppliers etc..

The above comments are only general in nature (and not in the nature of any financial or legal advice). The risk exposure (financial or legal risks) will vary depending on the specific business activities or circumstances of each entity.

Who could I contact to seek legal advice about the B Corp Legal Requirement?

Adopting the B Corp Legal Requirement has important legal implications. You should seek legal advice prior to adopting the B Corp Legal Requirement.

You may contact B Lab (Hong Kong & Macau) for suggested law firms if required.

What is the timeline for meeting the B Corp Legal Requirement in Hong Kong?

Regarding timelines for meeting the Legal Requirement, in general, companies with less than 50 employees must meet the Legal Requirement prior to certifying. For companies with 50 or more employees, the Legal Requirement must be met within 2 years of certifying.  Even though it is not a must to meet the Legal Requirement prior to submission of application, it is encouraged to do so if possible as it enables the companies to achieve the Mission Lock IBM under Governance.

    What is B Impact Assessment (BIA)?

    The B Impact Assessment is a holistic assessment of a company’s social and environmental performance. It is a framework that evaluates a company’s business impact on all of its stakeholders. 

    To become a certified B corp, regardless of your company’s size, you can access the B Impact Assessment online. This is an essential step for companies aspiring to be part of the B Corp movement. The assessment tool can be used as a management tool by all business owners, regardless of seeking a B Corp certification or not.

    Assess and Improve Along the Way

    Participating in the B Impact Assessment is an ongoing, rigorous growing process for your company to become a certified B Corp. The Assessment evaluates your company’s practices and outputs with questions across five categories – namely governance, workers, community, the environment and customers.

    Receiving a minimum verified score of 80 points on the assessment is the first step towards B Corp Certification. We encourage companies to keep improving their score till reaching the threshold and even after certified to grow companies’ impact.

    To start with, register for the free and confidential B Impact Assessment. and gather your supporting documentation and data, and get ready to begin your assessment.

    Click here to know more about the background of the B Impact Assessment.

    Criteria of Assessment

    Using the B Impact Assessment tool, you will answer a series of questions that examine your company’s impact on the following five categories: governance, workers, community, environment, and customers.

    Sample questions asked in the BIA assessment based on each category:

    Governance

    • What practices does your company have in place to promote ethical decision-making and prevent corruption?
    • Does your company solicit from your external stakeholders (customers, community members, suppliers, or nonprofit organizations) feedback about your company’s social and environmental performance?

    Workers

    • Does your company pay a living wage to employees (including part-time and temporary employees) and independent contractors?
    • How does your company provide training opportunities to employees for professional development?

    Community

    • Does your company provide employees with diversity, equity, and inclusions training?
    • How does your company take part in civic engagement?

    Environment

    • Does your company monitor, record, and reduce your greenhouse gas emissions?
    • Does the company have a company-wide recovery and recycling program?

    Customers

    • Does your company have a formal, publicly available policy on data privacy?
    • Does your company have a formal program to incorporate customer testing and feedback into product or service design?

    Improve Your Score Along the Way

    Scores will be granted according to your response answers. There is a session of Disclosure Questionnaire which you need to complete also. When you’re over the 80-point benchmark, you are ready to submit your B Impact Assessment to apply for the B Corp Certification. We recommend the companies to continue improving the scores in the process.

    The B Impact Assessment platform constantly updates the latest standards and provides free tools, such as customized improvement reports, practice guides and case studies, to help you identify, track, and learn about improvement opportunities and best practices over time.

    Begin Your B Impact Assessment

    Enter into the Verification Phase and Become Certified

    What happens after submitting the assessment?

    Your submitted B Impact Assessment will be reviewed by the B Lab Standards Trust Team. The purpose is to verify the company’s social and environmental performance to reach a verified score. The verification process is undertaken with a high level of transparency, with the following procedures, from entering the Evaluation Queue to the Post Verification Phase, administered by B Lab.

    1. Evaluation Queue → B Lab has received your submission.
    2. Evaluation → B Lab has begun to evaluate your Assessment.
    3. Verification Queue → Evaluation has been completed! B Lab is waiting for team capacity to become available.
    4. Verification → Here we go. B Lab is actively verifying your Assessment with you.
    5. Improvement → B Lab has recommended updating some answers or increasing your score before entering Verification again.
    6. Post Verification → Just a few more items to button up.

    Remarks

    • Your will get notification in the B Impact Assessment platform on required actions, such as upload supporting documents to selected answers or further explain more detail.
    • In general, B Lab will schedule a review call with you during the verification process to understand more about your responses to the assessment.
    • The length of the verification process will depend on your company’s size and complexity and the availability of the company’s team and B Lab staff. It is a rigorous process. It is not uncommon that the score is reduced during the process and additional improvements are required to pursue the certification.

    After completing verification, what are the final steps of getting certified?

    If the verified score maintains to be above 80, your company will reach the post verification stage and is required to sign the B Corp Declaration of Interdependence and pay the first annual certification fee. Afterwards, your company will be certified as a B Corporation. Otherwise, your company will be assigned to an improvement stage to improve the score.

    Once certified, each B Corp can show its company profile and its Impact Score transparent on the B Corp Directory, allowing the public to see the areas in which specific companies excel and compare B Corps’ scores against the performance of the mainstream business.

    Prepare for B Corp Recertification in Every 3 Years

    Certification Maintenance and Quality Control

    To remain the B Corp status, B Corps must recertify every three years — and meet the requirements of a continuously evolving B Impact Assessment. To meet and stay above the 80-point minimum score, companies are encouraged to keep improving their practices.

    Click here to find out about recertification procedures and recertification FAQ

    An Overview

    B Corp Certification is a designation that a business is meeting high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on the environment, people and society. It provides a solid framework for businesses to build a plan of continuous improvement.

    The pathway to becoming a Certified B Corporation will vary depending on your company’s size and complexity. This guideline will walk you through the procedure in the following major areas:

    1. Check Eligibility and Certification Pathways
    2. Pay Certification Fee
    3. Meet the Legal Requirements
    4. Complete B Impact Assessment with a score of 80 or above
    5. Enter into Verification and Certification
    6. Prepare for Recertification

    B Lab (Hong Kong & Macau) is here to assist businesses dedicated to the balance of profit and purpose.