B Corporations: the companies that are a force for good
Social, economic and environmental awareness has reached an all-time high across the globe. The realisation that things need to change has acted as a catalyst for the public to call for more transparency from businesses as well as dedication to do more to help combat global issues and support non-shareholding stakeholders, including their employees, the local community, and the environment.
Prompted by this public demand, the B Corp movement was born. Founded in 2006 the nonprofit organisation, B Lab, became the global authority to certify companies and businesses as B Corporations.
In 2008 high-profile US companies include Ben & Jerry’s, Etsy, and Patagonia gave the B Corp movement the kickstart it needed. There are now 2,595 companies signed up as B Corps across 60 countries and 150 industries.
In the UK alone there are now 160 Certified B Corporations. Propercorn, Pukka, and Obrigado are just a few you might have heard of that have pledged to ensure that their environmental and social performance is equal in importance as the financial success of the company.
SO, WHAT EXACTLY IS A B CORP?
If a company is, or is looking to become a B Corp, it must must meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose as outlined by B Lab. That’s a mouthful of a sentence, we know.
What this basically boils down to is that these companies must work to reduced inequality, lower levels of poverty, create a healthier environment, build stronger communities, and create more high quality jobs. They must also use the profits and growth of the company to create a positive impact through their employees, surrounding communities and the environment. Essentially, B Corps are driving a global movement whereby business is used as a force for good.
Scored out of 200, each B Corp is assessed on governance, impact, workers, environment and customers, to come to a total which represents their Overall B Impact Score. To become a Certified B Corp, the company must achieve a minimum verified score of 80 points. Companies are able to improve their score and earn further points if their business model can be shown to be creating a positive social and environmental impact.
All in all, becoming a Certified B Corp Corporation seems like the right way to go. The movement is growing rapidly, so here’s hoping more companies will join the B Corp team to become a force for good in the world.
Most Certified B Corps will carry a Certified B Corp logo on their website but you can find a comprehensive list of all Certified B Corporations on the B Lab website.
Obrigado's coconuts are grown on a sustainable farm in Bahia Brazil, where the trees take up only 30% of the land, the other 70% is untouched primeval forest. Working towards being a zero-waste company, Obrigado's sister company, Frysk Industrial turns the dry coconut husk into biodegradable anti-erosion blankets used to optimise the process of recuperating degraded patches of land. Caring for the community, Obrigado started Instituto Gente, a foundation that supports education and cultural projects for the local people of Pedra Grande.
Becoming a Certified B Corp in January 2018 was validation that the brand is growing in the right way. It also provided the brand with more motivation to do more to build an even better business - for the team, the planet, and the people within it.
Pukka's main aim is to connect people, plants and the planet through the power of organic and fairly traded herbs. Pukka is commitment to meeting higher standards of transparency, accountability and performance. All of Pukka's teas as certified as Fairtrade and 100% of the herbs sourced for their teas and supplements are certified organic by the Soil Association. Pukka also gives 1% of its turnover to support environmental causes and their operations have been certified as carbon neutral.
Ella's Kitchen announced it's B Corp status on the business's tenth anniversary, celebrating their founding mission: to improve children's lives through developing healthy relationships with food. Over the years Ella's Kitchen has partnered with charities including Save the Children, have worked to tackle rising rates of obesity and diabetes in the UK, and provided personal development and progression opportunities, and a range of benefits to employees to ensure healthy, happy teams.
Since the launch in 1997 Cook has worked to become a company that was good for shareholders while also nourishing relationships with everyone who comes into contact with it – employees, communities, suppliers and customers. Being a Certified B Corp since 2014, Cook has improved their Impact Score year upon year through consistently working towards equality of opportunity, a healthy environment, and strong communities.