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B Corp Handbook Instructor’s Guide Go Further

Each section includes a series of in-class and out-of-class assignments of varying lengths to encourage students to engage in more depth with the Handbook by conducting research, working on individual and group projects, putting together presentations, and composing formal essays. These assignments are designed to challenge students to show command of the material presented, to think critically and independently about this material from different perspectives, and to develop and defend their own point of view on the issues.

Section 1: Overivew

Case Discussions

B Lab, “B Lab: Can it scale business as a force for good?”, Christoper Marquis, Matthew Lee, 6/15/2015

B Lab, “B Lab: Building a New Sector of the Economy”, Christoper Marquis, Andrew Klaber, Bobbi Thomason, September 9,2010; Revision Date: September 28, 2011

EcoLibrium Profile

ECO2LIBRIUM (ECO2) is a private company with operations in the Kakamega region of Western Kenya, Africa. After reading the interview in the Handbook, develop a one-page executive summary for EcoLibrium and outline the value proposition for companies in emerging markets like Kenya to pursue B Corp certification.

EcoLibrium B Impact Assessment

  • Individual assignment outside of class
  • 1 hour

Word Cloud

Create a word cloud from five of the articles listed below. Identify and interpret any trends, specifically regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) that you find.

  • Individual assignment outside of class
  • 2 – 3 hours

Investor Pitch

After reviewing the list of investors and B Corps on page 29, pick one of the B Corps features and develop a pitch for the corresponding investment fund based on researching both parties.

  • Research outside of class and 60 second pitch in class
  • Teams of 2 – 3 students
  • 3 – 4 hours


Introduce and define the UNSDGs; generate a chart that lists each of the 17 UNSDGs and generate a list of 5-10 (or as many as you can) initiatives that companies can implement that would be consistent with the B Corp Mission and identify the specific UNSDG(s) that they drive progress towards.

  • In class project
  • 30 minutes

B Corp Interview

Explore the B Corp Directory to find certified B Corps in your area. Select one company to conduct a brief 30 minute interview. Questions might include: Why did you decide to become a certified B Corp? What were some of the challenges associated with obtaining the certification? Who would you identify as your stakeholders? How have your stakeholders responded? Are you planning to re-certify? Why or why not?

Write up a brief profile of the company.

  • Individual or projects outside of class
  • 2 – 3 hours

View section 1 summary, discussion prompts, activities and resources

Section 2: Benefits of Becoming a B Corp

Case Discussions

To B or not to B? The Journey of “Coding Autism” Toward the B Corp Certification Ballesteros-Sola, Morgan Stickney, Yvette Trejo. Entrepreneurship Education & Pedagogy. Volume 1 Issue 2, April 2018. “This case is based on Coding Autism, a limited liability company founded in April 2017 and located in Westlake Village (California). The case features the decision process followed by the cofounder, Oliver Thornton regarding the opportunity to seek B Corp certification.”

Positively deviant: Identity work through B Corporation certification, Matthew G.Grimes, JoelGehman, KeCaoDespite, Journal of Business Venturing, Volume 33, Issue 2, March 2018, Pages 130-148. “Despite widespread and growing public interest in sustainability certifications, many social entrepreneurs have opted not to obtain such certification. Drawing on recent studies highlighting the salience of both gender and context in shaping differences among social enterprises, we develop an identity-based framework for explaining heterogeneity in the adoption of sustainability certification.”

Inclusive Economy Challenge

The Inclusive Economy Challenge is a call to action for the community of Certified B Corporations to improve our collective impact and move toward a more inclusive economy. B Corps sign on to participate by committing to making at least three measurable improvements from the Inclusive Economy Metric Set developed out of the B Impact Assessment. Identify a B Corp that has participated in the Inclusive Economy Challenge and write a reflection based on the results of the Inclusive Economy Challenge.

  • Individual outside of class
  • 1-3 hours

B Corp Stakeholder Engagement Interview

Explore the B Corp Directory to find certified B Corps in your area. Select one company to conduct a brief 30 minute interview. Questions might include: Does being B Corp certified help you attract and retain employees? Do you find it provides an opportunity for differentiation in your industry? Have you used the assessment as a roadmap to benchmark and improve your social and environmental performance? Has certification helped you protect your company’s mission over time? Has it strengthened your brand awareness? Are you more likely to do business with other B Corps compared to traditional companies? Write up a brief profile of the company based on the responses.

  • Individual or group projects outside of class
  • 2-3 hours

Decertification Article

Well-recognized brands like Warby Parker, Etsy, and The Honest Company have recently given up their B Corp certification. Select a B Corp that has decertified and write an article outlining the factors influencing that strategic decision.

  • Individual outside of class
  • 2-3 hours

Living Wage

Calculate the living wage in your area then write an article with relevant information about your interpretation of your findings

  • Individual or group projects outside of class
  • 3-4 hours

View section 2 summary, discussion prompts, activities and resources

Section 3: The B Impact Assessment

Case Discussions

B Lab: Can it Scale Business as a Force for Good?, Harvard Business Publishing, Christopher Marquis, Matthew Lee, Jun 14, 2015 ($7.46) More than 30,000 companies use the B Impact Assessment to measure, compare, and improve the impact they have on their workers, communities, and environment. Challenge your students to think about tangible metrics for business success beyond Profit & Loss.

Case studies of impact measurement using the B Impact Assessment, These frequently updated page contains mini cases studies spotlight how businesses have used the B Impact Assessment to improve their overall impact

Quick Impact Assessment

Identify a local company and conduct a quick assessment based on publicly available information.

  • Individual or group projects outside of class
  • 2-3 hours

DEI Assessment

Work with a local company to conduct a diversity, equity and inclusion assessment (See Appendix B: Sample Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Surveys p 195)

  • Group project outside of class
  • 6-8 hours

AIM2Flourish Assignment

AIM2Flourish is a global initiative that aims to steer future business leaders towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) and a flourishing world for all. Supported by the global learning platform, business students around the world are using Appreciative Inquiry (strength-based interviews) and the UNSDGs as a lens to search out and report on world-changing business innovations. Select one of the B Corp 2018 “Best for the World” Honorees to conduct an AIM2Flourish interview and submit to the platform.

  • Individual or group assignment outside of class
  • 4 – 6 hours

UNSDG Alignment

Map the alignment between the sections of the B Impact Assessment and the UN Sustainable Development Goals and describe how policies and practices measured in the BIA could drive progress on the UNSDGs. See Appendix B for a key that annotates the UNSDG# that is impacted by considering these policies and practices.

  • Group project outside of class
  • 6-9 hours

View section 3 summary, discussion prompts, activities and resources

Section 4: The Quick Start Guide

Case Discussions

Transcend Coffee: Local Sustainability Challenges in a Global Industry, Joel Gehman, Nicole Neufeld, Dasha Smirnow, Siddharth Agrawal, Danielle Sandberg, Manav Deol, Ivey Publishing, July 20, 2016.

Poppy Barley: Weighing the Costs and Benefits of Sustainability Certification, Joel Gehman, Greg Dobbelsteyn, Peter Loginov, Aimee Van Dam, Brittnay Verstraete, Leanne Hedberg, Ivey Publishing, July 20, 2018.

Better World Books, Michael L. Norton, Fiona Wilson, Jill Avery, Thomas Steenburgh, Harvard Business Publishing Education, September 22, 2010; Revision: April 20, 2012.

Team Charter

Create a sample team charter than includes objectives, accountability expectations, etc.

  • Group project outside of class
  • 1 – 3 hours


Create sample project timeline from B Corp interest to certification to lifetime improvements

  • Individual or group projects outside of class
  • 3 – 4 hours

BIA Team

Identify the characteristics of an ideal core project team that ensure diversity, equity and inclusion

  • Individual or group projects inside or outside of class
  • 30 minutes – 2 hours

View section 4 summary, discussion prompts, activities and resources