The B Corp movement is rapidly growing, with 7,000+ businesses globally and 1,500+ of those in the UK, plus 240,000+ businesses using the framework to create a robust ESG strategy. In this rapidly evolving movement, many organisations are wondering what B Corp really means, and how to get started.
In this article, hear from Seismic’s B Corp expert, Cofounder and Chief Impact Officer, Amy Bourbeau, on the What, Why and How of B Corp. Plus, hear from B Corp leaders: Katie Richards, Head of Impact and Sustainability at Lily’s Kitchen; Jack Scott, Cofounder & CMO at Dash Water, and Stef Allegrini, Marketing and Partnerships Manager at Climate17, sharing their experiences and insights on their B Corp journeys.
What Is B Corp?
B Corp is a number of things that enables your business to meet the highest standards of environmental and social performance. Used as a framework, and a certification, it is:
- A management tool: At the foundation of B Corp is the B Impact Assessment (BIA), a free, online tool that provides a framework for your organisation to measure, understand and improve its sustainability performance across five impact areas: Governance, Workers, Community, Environment and Customers.
- A certification: as it is most widely known, B Corp is a certification that demonstrates your company meets the highest standards of social and environmental performance. It enables your organisation to hold yourselves to account. It shows you meet verified high standards, allowing you to share with your stakeholders that you’re doing what you say you are.
- A movement: B Corp changes the way we do business, encouraging us to use it as a force for good. The movement believes that profit and shareholders should be valued alongside the planet.
- A community: The B Corp community is a collaborative, inspiring and engaging space, bringing together business leaders united by a shared view of finding a better way to do business. With B Socials, summits, social media forums and working groups, the community is a unique and welcoming space to get involved in.
“Ultimately, if we do consider and prioritise people and planet, most of the time that leads to higher profit anyway, so it’s really a win win scenario.” Amy Bourbeau, Cofounder and Chief Impact Officer, Seismic
The Benefits Of B Corp
The benefits of B Corp are continually evolving, with employees, business owners and investors seeing the value in the framework and certification for the growth, impact and health of a business. Here are 6 reasons why so many businesses are getting on board:
- Recruitment: 70% of candidates recruited by B Corps mention it in their interview process
- Investors: 44% of B Corps found certification helped attract investors
- Equity: 70% of B Corps seeking equity finance secured all (or more than) required vs 56% of the wider SME population
- Customers: 76% of people think business has a responsibility to people and planet
- Resilience: 88% of research shows solid ESG practices result in better operational performance
- Growth: 15% growth rate for B Corps vs the national average of 1% between 2018 and 2021
The Certification Process
Companies seeking certification will need to undergo the following process:
1. Meet the standards
Performance requirement: Complete the B Impact Assessment (BIA) and reach the 80 point threshold. At Seismic, we recommend aiming for at least 85.
Legal requirement: Amend your company’s Articles of Association to commit to considering stakeholders in all decisions and actions made on your company’s behalf.
Submit & Queue: When you have reached 80+ points, submit your assessment to B Lab. There is no time limit on your assessment submission, but there is a queue time to get verified, which currently stands at 4-6 months.
Verification: Your Standards Analyst at B Lab will review verbal and uploaded evidence, and confirm your verified score.
Becoming a B Corp!: When verified at 80+ points, finalise your public B Corp profile, pay your first annual certification fee, and celebrate!
Recertification: Go through recertification every 3 years in order to maintain your certification.
But the work doesn’t stop here. It’s just the beginning. It’s really important to make sure that you then embed B Corp into your day-to-day workings as a business. You can make that fun and valuable and beneficial to your organisation.
Practical Advice From Experienced B Corps
Three B Corp leaders share how they have approached their impact journey, with advice for businesses wondering how to get started.
Dash Water was founded in 2017 with the mission to reduce food waste and create healthy, delicious soft drinks using wonky and unwanted fruit. Their journey started with going deeper into sustainability and increasing their accountability. They certified in 2020, and partnered with Seismic on their recent recertification.
Climate17 is a specialist talent acquisition services agency for organisations within the Renewable Energy and Sustainability sector. Having partnered with Seismic on their B Corp journey, they recently certified with an impressive score of 117.6 points – an outstanding achievement. B corp allows them to ‘really and truly show they are making a difference, practically.’
Lily’s Kitchen makes proper food for pets. They were actually a founding UK B Corp back in 2015 and are just gearing up for their third recertification. As a long-standing partner of Seismic, B Corp has become synonymous with their values as a business, where their employees experience B Corp as a crucial element of the brand and why they work there.
Transformation Over Certification
Katie Richards, Head of Impact and Sustainability at Lily’s Kitchen urges businesses to view the B Corp journey as a business change process, rather than focusing on certification. Having to gear up to it again every three years is challenging, so building it into individual roles and responsibilities across the business means you get the majority of your points in those small actions, every day.
Jack Scott, Cofounder and CMO at Dash Water suggests looking at B Corp as a way to improve your business, not a wall of questions to face. Dash looked to some amazing B Corp pioneers, like Lily’s Kitchen and innocent drinks, who are all about making a holistic, positive impact, not focusing on being good in just one area. The BIA provides a great framework for holistic improvement.
Stef Allegrini, Marketing and Partnerships Manager at Climate17, asserted that B Corp is a process, not about an end line. Better yourself gradually and focus on continuous improvement. Don’t expect too much from the start, and it’s not about getting a badge at the end. Don’t be daunted by the journey, take it step by step, one thing at a time, not trying to jump into all of it at once.
Watch The Recording
If you missed the Breakfast Briefing, you can watch the recording below. Seismic’s monthly Breakfast Briefings aim to inform, educate and inspire our community. Sign up for our monthly newsletter to receive invites to upcoming events.
Your B Corp Partner
As your partner for change, Seismic’s experts will help you understand what B Corp means for your company and how you can approach it in a meaningful and impactful way. We will get to know your business, find out where it lies on the B Corp spectrum and how you can achieve certification. Become an increasingly impactful force for good, and get in touch with our B Corp team.