With ‘Behind the B’ campaign launching this month, we want to do our bit to raise awareness of this powerful, game-changing initiative. Having worked towards and proudly achieved B Corp status ourselves, we know what a big deal it is. But it’s important consumers and other businesses understand it too.
This is the launch of our Behind the B series of blogs where we’ll be explaining B Corp, celebrating our people on International Women’s Day, highlighting what B Corp means in practice inside our business and then sharing what we’ve learnt.
You may have spotted the logo on products you’ve bought, and you may have wondered what it’s all about.
So here goes. B Corp, uncovered.
B Lab, behind B Corp, is a non-profit network transforming the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet.
B Corporation is a movement, a force dedicated to bringing about positive change. It’s global. It’s revolutionary. And it’s making a difference every single day.
The aim is to empower and encourage businesses to use their resources to become a force for good in the world. And this is done through instilling B Corp principles into business values and all aspects of operations.
When you see ‘B Corp’ as a logo displayed on a business’s website or product, it means something huge and hard earnt. It means the business has proven itself to deliver on the exceptional and far-reaching aims of B Corp. It’s a weighty, meaningful, highly sought-after accreditation that takes considerable dedication, effort, and resources to achieve. And achieving it is just the beginning. B Corp businesses must maintain their positive impact because B Corp is not awarded or kept lightly. It quite rightly requires continued commitment and demonstration of high ethical and environmental standards.
What is the purpose of B Corp?
B Corp comes from the recognition that governments and third sector organisations like charities and pressure groups can’t change the global economy by themselves.
Businesses lie at the core of the global economy therefore their engagement, influence, and action are vital.
They reach into communities, give people livelihoods, make profits, and have fans in the form of customers and clients. This gives businesses a great responsibility, but also considerable opportunity and power.
If they want to and are motivated to do the right thing, the global business community really can be a force for good.
So, B Corp created a prestigious Certification programme, where businesses would aspire and work towards certain standards, empowered and supported by the movement. Their reputations and brands would improve as a result, especially in a world where consumers care more than ever about a business’s actions, behaviours, values, purpose, and impact.
What are B Corp standards exactly?
The standards involved in B Corp Certification are broad, deep, and ambitious. When applying for the certification, businesses will go through an Impact Assessment based on these five areas;
How do you make sure your company’s governance considers all stakeholders?
Governance relates to how a company is managed, and the impact assessment will look at whether B Corp’s standards are a priority and embedded in its management of, and relationships with, its stakeholders. Business stakeholders include anyone affected by the activity of the company including investors, boards, employees, suppliers, customers, and communities where they are based and have operations or facilities.
How is your company having a positive impact in your customers’ lives?
This criterion is immensely important because it’s the customer who is buying the product or service. So, it stands to reason that they should be benefiting. However, this is not always the case, and B Corp applicants will need to demonstrate just how customers will benefit. This may relate to the features of the product or service itself, how it offers innovation and improves wellbeing, but also in the business’s treatment and relationship with its customers, that they are valued and listened to.
Why is your company giving back and contributing positively to the community?
Very few businesses could grow and succeed without the help and support of certain communities. B Corp has high expectations for businesses giving back. This may be overseas communities working on manufacturing or production in the supply chain. It may be the local population of people and workers. It might be charitable giving and active support for certain causes, especially if any are affected by the business’s work. It is down to businesses to understand the impact of their work on communities and make their wellbeing a priority. This means taking proactive steps to ensure any impact and relationships with communities are protective and positive.
How is your company prioritising and taking care of the planet?
B Corp has the planet at the very core of its mission. After all, if we don’t protect the planet, there will be no business in the future. If businesses turn a blind eye to their environmental responsibilities, it will be difficult to ever reverse the damage being done in terms of climate change, pollution, and the global landfill issue. B Corp wants to ensure businesses use their power, tools of innovation, and resources to make sure they leave a positive footprint on the environment, not a negative one. This means making operations, products, and supply chains sustainable. Reducing waste. Reducing emissions and the carbon footprint. Working with all their stakeholders to push better environmental standards and practice and leading by example.
How is your company taking care of your workers, improving their lives and wellbeing?
Employers have responsibility for their employees, and the B Corp Impact Assessment will expect evidence of how this is being done effectively and proactively. Looking after workers’ wellbeing improves engagement, productivity, and business reputations – but it’s also the right thing to do.
It’s not a case of a tick box exercise. Businesses who do this well will highlight how they go above and beyond, integrating wellbeing into their culture. This may cover pay and reward, communication, making mental health a priority, work life balance, safe and enjoyable work settings, learning and development, and more.
What impact does B Corp make?
You may be wondering what difference this all makes. Well nationally, and globally, it makes a huge difference. Because when communities and workers are looked after, when the environment becomes a priority in decisions, when customers and stakeholders’ wellbeing lie at the heart of a brand’s purpose, positive things happen, and poor practices become less prevalent.
When brands become less focused on themselves and more focused on how their impact, legacy, and profits can do good in the world, they themselves are more likely to engage with consumers and succeed.
Getting the B Corp accreditation, and the reputation that goes with it, gives an incentive to put every part of your business under the microscope and work out how as a business you can do better. It drives innovation and creativity. How can you make your business more sustainable? Where can you cut down on waste? What else can you do to look after your employees? How does your business impact communities and what ways can you find to get close to them, support them, improve their world?
If you imagine a time where every business was signed up and dedicated to B Corp standards, just imagine the powerful, positive impact that could bring to people around the world and how it could address the big challenges for the planet.
Behind the B – a chance to celebrate
For the businesses who have worked hard, allocated resources, and demonstrated how they do all of these wonderful things, the ‘Behind the B’ campaign is a well-deserved celebration. These businesses have also been willing to be transparent, opening their operations and values up to detailed scrutiny.
It’s important that their customers and those who aren’t yet their customers know and understand just what this means.
So now, when you consider buying from a B Corp business, you’ll know that you yourself are making a difference. Because you have supported a brand that has been proven to hold themselves accountable to exceptional global standards. A business that really is the bee’s knees.
Follow our blogs throughout March where we’ll talk about what B Corp means to our fabulous team, communities, suppliers, and customers, what we’ve learnt from the process, and how if you have a business, you can achieve this fantastic accreditation too.