B Corps – a blog post for the uninitiated

17th January, 2019

By Andrew James

In a conversation with the Founder of his favourite clothing brand at the weekend ‘B Corps’ were mentioned to my colleague.  The theme of the conversation was our breakfast briefing of earlier that week – ‘Going Green is good business’.

My colleague was not aware of ‘B Corps’, so for those who also might not be, using the information from the UK’s B Corps website, we are going to tell you a little bit about them and what they do.

What are B Corps?

B Corporations are for-profit companies who voluntarily meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and sustainability. B Corp certification in the UK is managed by B Lab UK, a non-profit, UK registered charity.

B Corps are aiming to make a real difference by voluntarily holding themselves to higher levels of transparency and accountability, offering a different way to do business.

The ‘B’ stands for benefit – that the company prioritises the benefit to all stakeholders including its workers, as well as the community, and the environment.

It is a globally recognised certification and accreditation, similar in concept to Fair Trade or Soil Association. Achieving B Corp status is a detailed affair, involving a comprehensive and rigorous assessment process, including interviews with the key people behind the brand and a critique of the business across every stage of the operations.

Since B Corp originated in the USA nearly a decade ago, momentum has been growing globally. There are now over 2,400 B Corp certified businesses in more than 50 countries across the globe in more than 130 industries, with one unifying goal: redefining success in business.

Companies who achieve B Corp status have legally committed to a new standard of business: a triple bottom line, in which they must maximise benefits to the environment and society as well as the stakeholders from employees to suppliers.

B Corp accreditation binds a business to continuous evaluation and improvement in every area of the business; from product design, to the working conditions along every point of the supply chain.

Every two years, a business must seek re-certification and continue to meet the B Corp evaluation criteria, as well as produce an annual B Corps statement outlining what it is they are up to that they will be fundamental to our community.

More information

I am already planning a follow up event to our ‘Going Green is good business’ breakfast briefing and I am minded to have ‘B Corps’ on the agenda.  In the interim, those interested in finding out more can look at the bcorporation.uk website as well as an interesting article on Reuters website.

 

 

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