Can B Corp certification anchor sustainability in SMEs?

Bruna Carvalho, Arnim Wiek, Barry Ness

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


B Corp certification is considered a viable instrument to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in adopting sustainable practices. However, there is a lack of evidence to what extent this instrument can anchor sustainability at the core of SMEs. This study investigates the B Corp certification process of a SME, a craft brewery in southern Sweden, regarding the extent to which it helped infusing sustainability into the business’ mission, practices, corporate form, certificates, and capacities. Results show that the B Impact Assessment, as part of the certification process, positively influenced the business’ mission, practices, and capacities. Limited influence on social commitment and adoption of a sustainable corporate form can be explained through regulatory context and time required for deep organizational change. To enhance the effectiveness of B Corp certification, we recommend making it even more adaptable to different geographical and social contexts and increase focus on impact business models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCorporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management
StateAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • business sustainability
  • capacity building for sustainability
  • impact business models
  • sustainability certification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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