B Corps are companies which are committed to changing the way that business operates. They believe that success is as much about people and planet as it is about profit.
The 215 UK organisations which have earnt B Corp certification have demonstrated the highest possible standards of social and environmental performance. This enables them to confidently back up claims made to employees, customers or stakeholders that they really are doing things differently.
Actions speak louder than words and a growing number of brands – including Innocent, Abel & Cole and Ella’s Kitchen – have put themselves through rigorous testing to become a part of this community.
So, if your company works for more than profit, or if you are advising a client on how to demonstrate its impact on society, here’s what you need to know about becoming B Corp certified:
1) Don’t underestimate the process: Nothing worth having is easy and B Corp certification certainly isn’t. The ‘B Impact Assessment’ covers five key impact areas including governance, workers, community, environment and customers. And this is far more than a tick box exercise. The assessors require evidence that responsible practices are being followed through – whether that is worker compensation, diversity or corporate transparency. Before getting started, make sure you get time commitment from the right people and look into any changes needed to your legal structure.
2) Bring the team with you: Employees engaged in the programme are more likely to spread the word and get behind ongoing improvement efforts to be a more responsible business. Aligning B Corp accreditation to your company’s values and mission will help to make it more meaningful and celebrated. It needs to be clear that this is not a one-off exercise. It is shaping the company’s identity and will have an impact on everything from recruitment to marketing.
3) Keep collaborating: B Corps have an online forum to share knowledge and inspire others. And the directory is a great place to find purpose-driven partners. Much of the hard work of vetting them as a likeminded partner or supplier has already been done for you.
4) Use it as a competitive differentiator: Research has shown that UK B Corps are growing 28 times faster than the national economic growth of 0.5%. Purpose does not sit in isolation from profit, and we should not shy away from the fact that certification is good for business. It helps companies to attract new audiences and talent, driving better results for stakeholders and shareholders.
5) Know that this is just the start: Being a B Corp is not just about the initial validation. It is about continuing to improve as a purpose-driven organisation. The B Corp team continues to recommend goals and timelines to improve performance. It’s not all about being the best. It’s about making the change.
In an industry which is constantly speaking about the power of purpose, it’s time for more of us to get behind the movement. Currently, just five PR agencies have earnt the accreditation.
B Corp provides independent validation that we are a purpose-driven organisation, and it supports our ongoing mission to have a positive impact on the world around us. It is a powerful statement that we practice what we preach.