Global Impact Investing Rating System
August 2012 Update—Since last we spoke with Andrew Kassoy, co-founder of B-Lab, in June of 2010, the organization has been in a state of rapid evolution. When we spoke with Kassoy B-Lab had certified a total of 275 firms as B-Corporations with revenues totaling $1.25 billion. Since that time the number of certified companies has grown to 574 firms generating $3.35 billion in revenues. Sixty industries are now represented among certified B-Corporations, up from 54.
B-Lab has also enjoyed a number of legislative successes over the past two years. For example, the passage of the AB 361 Benefit Corporation Bill in California, authorizing and regulating the creation of new B-Corporations, has helped B-Lab gain additional partners. Similar laws that enable the formation of B-Corporations have been introduced in several other states. In the past four years Hawaii, Maryland, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, and Virginia have all passed B-Corporation laws, while legislation was introduced in three additional states. These pieces of legislation define B-Corporations, and set standards that firms must employ in order to be recognized as such by state governments.
The release of the Global Impact Investing Rating System (GIIRS) in the fall of 2011 was a major step forward in assessing an entity’s effect on all stakeholders. The implementation of this system answers the impact investing community’s call for a set of standardized measurements that would help guide mission-aligned capital to worthy causes. GIIRS rankings allow for a degree of standardization to take place in the impact investment and mission-aligned capital space. Any firm can now request and pay for a GIIRS assessment, and a score of at least 80 makes a business eligible for qualification as a B-Corporation. —Evan Lozier. Evan is the Capital Institute’s Summer 2012 intern.