A public?complaint process, used to identify possible instances of misconduct or misrepresentation by Certified B Corporations, is an essential complement to the review and verification process in maintaining the integrity and value of B Corp Certification. Inquiries and complaints about Certified B Corporations by concerned stakeholders are always welcome, and are reviewed through a formal process to determine if any actions regarding a company’s eligibility for the certification are appropriate.?
To learn more about the review and verification for Certified B Corporations, as well as the certification requirements, please see this page.
B Lab will investigate any material, credible, and specific claims against a current B Corporation that falls in one of the two following categories:
- Intentional misrepresentation of practices, policies, or outcomes claimed within the B Impact Assessment, including the B Impact Assessment?Disclosure Questionnaire.
- Breaches of the B Corp Community's core values as expressed in the B Corporation?Declaration of Interdependence.
Among the types of cases that B Lab generally will not independently investigate include:
- Complaints regarding individual customer service issues, such as order refunds or shipping delays
- Complaints that are pending legal action and/or include accusations of illegal acts without a formal legal resolution
- Complaints that are not directly tied to a currently Certified B Corporation
- Complaints regarding a company not having a specific practice that is included in the B Impact Assessment, but not required, for B Corp Certification (i.e. a company not having a supplier code of conduct, or not having organic products), unless the company has claimed that they have that practice
- Complaints that themselves include illegal actions and/or threats
In many instances, there may be other mechanisms available for interested parties to raise complaints or resolve disputes with a company, including direct interaction with the company themselves, third party organizations like the Better Business Bureau, or legal mechanisms through the appropriate regulatory agencies or the court of law.?
If you believe a complaint falls within the above parameters, or are unsure, please submit a formal inquiry by taking the steps described below.
After reviewing the information on this page, please submit a complaint by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.?
In your message, please provide the following:?
- Your name and contact information
- The specific details of your complaint
- Why the complaint is relevant for B Lab specifically to examine
- Any additional context, including public records or evidence that are relevant to the issue
- Any supporting documentation and/or the details of any legal action taken./span>
- A subject line formatted as follows: Complaint Re: [Company Name]
Please note that all complaints are kept confidential and contact information is requested for follow up purposes only. We will seek the permission of any complainant before reaching out to a company regarding the issue.
Our team will review the information provided and follow up with complainants if an initial review is necessary. We also welcome any feedback on how we can continue to improve our standards.
If the complaint is within the above parameters and a precedent has not already been established regarding how similar cases should be addressed, B Lab will conduct a full investigation and present the results to its independent Standards Advisory Council.?
B Lab aims to have all initial reviews of complaints concluded within 90 days from receipt, and if a Standards Advisory Council review is necessary, to have a decision concluded within another 90 days. While these timeframes are not always as swift as stakeholders desire, it is important to ensure a thorough and objective process and arrive at a fair decision regarding the issue. ? ?
B Lab does not comment on the details of complaints that are still in process. The resolution may include a determination that a complaint does not fall within the parameters of the complaint process above.?
Resolution of Complaints
Issues that fall within the parameters of the complaint process are resolved in one of the four following ways:
- Company's B Corp Certification is revoked
- Company is placed on probation, with specific remedies required to maintain the certification
- Certification is upheld, with disclosure made transparent on B Corp public profile
- Certification is upheld
The decision of the Standards Advisory Council regarding the complaint may be appealed by the company directly to B Lab's Board of Directors. The resolution of such appeal by the Board of Directors is binding.
When resolution of a complaint involves the creation of a model for how similar complaints will be addressed going forward, those models are posted on the Controversial Issues page.
In cases where legal or regulatory action is possible, B Lab’s complaint process relies on the outcomes of those judgments and does not conduct independent investigations as a means of preventing interference in other legal procedures and relying on the judgments of processes best suited to them. While B Lab is not able to pursue a formal investigation in some instances, B Lab will maintain a record of all issues to the extent legally allowed for ongoing monitoring, should it be appropriate to open an investigation at a later date. ?Any complaint can be reopened for further action should new information arise that warrants it.?