29 Jun 2023

How B Corps in the Food & Drink Industry are Driving Sustainable Change

By Seismic
Citrus spread

Seismic are a team of B Corp experts, Net Zero advisors, communications consultants and sustainability strategists who are here to help businesses lead the shift. We work with many outstanding teams and brands, including a number of companies within the food and drink industry.

While a significant number of UK B Corps from this industry are thriving, they represent only 3% of the entire UK food and drink sector. This highlights the immense potential for innovation and early adoption among brands seeking to make a difference.

Now is the perfect time to join this transformative community and position your brand as a leader in the space.

Stats highlighting the opportunity in Food & Drink

Business Benefits of Becoming a B Corp

Certifying as a B Corp involves businesses embracing greater accountability and nurturing their impact, embedding a commitment to “change for good” within their values and mission. 

  • Answers consumer demands – According to the Edelman Trust Barometer consumers want to buy from or advocate for brands that align with their values and beliefs. 
  • Attracts new retailers – as the movement grows, more retailers are getting on board and helping with messaging. More B Corps = more awareness. This becomes a self-fulfilling circle as the consumer and retailers demand more. 
  • Attracts top talent – more than 70% of people want to work for purpose-driven companies whose values align with theirs. And they’re six times more likely to stay in the company.
  • Fosters collaboration and innovation – It enables the opportunity to work with more stakeholders and a larger community, through B Lab and other collectives/working groups.
  • Attracts investors and preferential financing – 70% of B Corps seeking equity financing have secured all of their required amount vs 56% of the wider SME population.
  • Fuels growthThe average B Corp grew at 26%, compared to the national average of 5% between 2017 and 2021, and similarly between 2018 and 2021. The headcount growth was 14% for B corps, compared to only 1% for the national average.
Examples of retailers showcasing B Corp brands

Popular retailers including Ocado, Waitrose and WHSmith are responding to consumer demand by showcasing B Corp brands on their online and in-person shelves

B Corps leading the way

Good practices are embedded into their business models

  • DASH Water partners with mission-aligned charities, furthering their goal of fighting food waste. 
  • Tony’s Chocolonely and innocent joined hundreds of other businesses who are pushing to challenge ‘business as usual’ through the Better Business Act.
  • innocent drinks include ESG performance in their company scorecard, which lines up with bonuses.
  • Ella’s Kitchen uses the B Impact Assessment to engage and support suppliers’ sustainability journeys. Some suppliers, like Delafruit, have gone on to earn B Corp certification themselves.

The real B Corp impact

Two certified B Corps, who are major players in the food and drink sector, share how B Corp plays a significant part in their business. 

Tony’s Chocolonely exists to make 100% slave-free the norm in chocolate; not just their own chocolate, but all chocolate, worldwide. They describe themselves as an impact company that makes chocolate, not the other way around. They’ve been certified B Corp since 2013, which means they’ve now been certified for a decade. In their most recent recertification, they earned an impressive 125 points.

innocent drinks exists to make natural, delicious food and drink that helps people and the planet to live well and die old, and they’ve always pushed themselves to do business the right way. Seismic has been working with them since 2017 when they first said they wanted to become a B Corp. They were certified in 2018 and have since recertified with a score of 105.2, becoming one of just a few B Corps in the world who are both a $1bn brand and have a score of over 100. 

Both brands believe that the B Corp status reinforces people’s desire to know companies are truly doing something good. It helps galvanise the truth. Through the rigorous verification process by B Lab, the non-profit behind B Corp certification, essentially ‘checking their homework’, there is a guarantee of no greenwashing. There are standardised markers that B Corps have to meet and continue to exceed for the right reasons. Additionally, both confirmed that being a B Corp has supported their respective companies with collaborations, relationships, growth and recruitment. 

 34% of consumers are aware of the B Corp movement and what it stands for.

Tony's chocolate bar

Developing a mindset for continuous improvement

Emilie Stephenson, Head of Force for Good UK at innocent drinks, says their team of ‘B Keepers’ is crucial to embedding purpose into every aspect of the business. They’re passionate people across every discipline of the business, who are accountable for supporting the B Corp recertification process and integration of purposeful business practices into their respective departments. They are given the responsibility of generating ideas for change and constantly evolving the way things are done, keeping B Corp values at the heart of everything the business does. 

Vlora Salihi, Head of Sales for UK and Ireland at Tony’s Chocolonely believes that the B Corp framework makes it easy to stay on target and embed good practices into everything they do, while also helping them stay aware of their blind spots. 

One standout example of continuous improvement is Tony’s Mission Lock, a new initiative and a world-first. They have embedded legal structures that will maintain the good work being done, regardless of any possible change of leadership. There are three mission guardians who protect the company’s mission indefinitely. There are hopes that other companies will follow suit and a guide is being produced on the principles of the Mission Lock specifically to support other businesses interested in doing the same. Now, none of the good work being done at Tony’s could ever be undone.

B Corp advice from the experts

innocent drinks

Just get started. It’s a lot of work, so gather friends at work to get a team working on the framework little by little. Asking yourself questions like ‘How can my workers be in a better position?’ is an example of tangible work that can be changed quickly. Start small with things like maternity policies and employee rights, the governance stuff can come later

Emilie Stephenson

Head of Force for Good UK, innocent drinks

Tony’s Chocolonely

B Corp is about the journey to certification. Aiming for progress in your blind spots can support your revised business structure. Find patience and involve as many people as possible in the process. There is power in the collective mind.

Vlora Salihi

Baroness du Choco aka Head of Sales UK & IE, Tony's Chocolonely

Your B Corp partner

Seismic can support you get started and proceed with your B Corp journey. We can be your partner for change, with an exceptional talent to make the complex simple. If you’d like support in progressing your with a B Impact Assessment, get in touch.

Watch the recording

If you missed the breakfast briefing, you can watch the recording below. Seismic holds monthly breakfast briefings to inform and inspire our community. Sign up for our monthly newsletter to receive invites to upcoming Seismic Breakfast Briefings.