Certification and Accreditation: Policy Case Study on Inclusive Business

Thursday, 8 September, 2016


The policy instrument of a legal certification (also called accreditation) shares many qualities with the mission-oriented legal structure policy instrument developed in a separate policy note.  Legal structures and certifications both serve as tools to distinguish a business for its special character and contributions to society. They thereby create a basis for the provision of direct support, either financial or non-financial or both.

However, while the mission-oriented legal structure may serve to create a new type of a business organization that balances both economic and social/environmental benefits, certification can provide more flexibility, allowing any legal entity to apply to be considered for the special status as long as certain criteria are met. 

What is the objective and purpose of certification?

The primary objective of most legal certifications is the development of a stable conceptual definition based on criteria that confirm the unique mission of the business. Fulfilment of these criteria may lay the groundwork for other business support mechanisms that ultimately help the business improve the lives of those living at the BoP.  Legal certifications are often considered less intensive than a mission-oriented legal structure in that it allows the business owner to determine the legal form that best suits the company’s objectives. Certification may also place fewer demands on the implementing government.

Read the full policy case study (pdf).