“A standard with a rating system can help hold the line on social impact and differentiate those who are truly making a difference from those who are simply telling a story."

- Antony Bugg-Levine, Rockefeller Foundation


GIIRS Governance

The B Impact Rating System, the central governance tool of B Lab, is an assessment tool that measures companies' and funds' social and environmental performance in the impact areas of governance, workers, community, and the environment. The B Impact Rating System is used to both certify companies as B Corporations and issue GIIRS ratings. B Lab has developed the following governance mechanisms to ensure the quality and independence of the B Impact Ratings System over time.

As a standards-based organization, B Lab follows international best practices and guidelines for standards development to ensure the highest levels of effectiveness, fairness and credibility of the B Impact Rating System. A new version of the B Impact Rating System is released once every two years. The first version (V1.0) of the Developed Markets (DM) assessment was released on October 19, 2007 and V2.0 followed in January 2010 with two addenda focused on the green building and financial services industries. V3.0 was introduced in July 2011 and includes an assessment designed for companies in Emerging Markets (EM). Version 3.0 features integration with the IRIS taxonomy and the ability to rate a fund portfolio.

All content and weightings of the ratings system are governed by an independent Standards Advisory Council (SAC) made up of 18-20 members, each respected in the field for their wisdom and each with deep industry or stakeholder expertise. SAC membership is designed to have representation from individuals and organizations that both are materially impacted by the standards and have deep expertise in topics relevant to the ratings system. SAC membership application is open to the public via B Lab's website each term and all members and their affiliations are also made transparent. To see a current list of GIIRS SAC and Advisory Committee members visit: http://giirs.org/about-giirs/giirs-team

Prior to the release of each new version of the assessment B Lab conducts both a private beta and 30-day public comment period to ensure that B Lab's stakeholders are being recognized in the standards development process and the general public has the ability to review and provide input on proposed standards.

As part of its continuous standards development improvement effort, in 2012 B Lab was announced as an ISEAL Affiliate. The ISEAL Alliance is the global association for social and environmental standards. ISEAL develops guidance and helps strengthen the effectiveness and impact of established and emerging voluntary standard systems.

Governance Structure 


Body Role
Standards Advisory Council (SAC)     

Standards Advisory Councils (SACs) are independent governance bodies that develop and update the GIIRS assessments. Each SAC is comprised of industry leaders from sustainable enterprise, impact investing, government and academia. The Emerging Market and Developed Market SACs have authority over the content and weightings of the B Impact Ratings System. Recommendations from SACs require a two-thirds majority vote by the B Lab Board of Directors to overturn.

Industry Working Groups

Industry Working Groups are ad hoc committees comprised of industry leaders that advise the Standards Advisory Council on the development of industry specific addenda to the B Impact Ratings System. Previous working groups have focused on real estate, health & safety, and financial services. Recommendations from the Industry Working Groups require a two-thirds majority vote from the relevant SAC(s) to overturn.

Joint SAC

The Joint SAC is comprised of members of the Emerging SAC and Developed Market SAC appointed by their peers. The Joint SAC meets on an as needed basis to harmonize decisions made by the two SACs regarding the content, structure, and weightings of the assessment.

GIIRS Advisory Committee

The GIIRS Advisory Committee advises GIIRS management on product development, fundraising, and adoption.

 B Lab Board of Directors

The responsibilities of B Lab's Board of Directors include:

1. Overseeing strategy, budget and operations of B Lab & GIIRS, including oversight of management, compensation, and development,

2: Play a leadership role in forming the Standards Advisory Councils and GIIRS Advisory Committee, provide oversight of their activities, and amend/approve their recommendations, and

3: Assist in identifying and cultivating potential philanthropic donors/investors to ensure funding of B Lab's operations prior to sustainability via licensing and ratings incomes. Only entity with fi duciary duty.