It can be difficult to figure out how to take the business world by storm. But UK B Corporations, or B Corps for short, are doing just that! Understanding what this movement is and how it may be beneficial for your business could give you reason to believe that it is a concept worth planning into your business structure.
Many certified B Corps are household brand names - Propercorn, Toms, Ben & Jerry’s, Alpro and The Body Shop, to name a few. But what do they have in common? Put plainly, they value people and the environment - giving as much consideration to their social and environmental impact as they do their financial returns.
What is a UK B Corp?
“Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.”
The B Corp movement is suggested to be ‘the future of business’. Providing an ever-relevant mission to create a community of businesses that value their capacity for positive change, rather than being solely driven by profit is visionary in the business world - particularly bearing in mind the ever-expanding environmental consciousness of people worldwide.
Who can become a B Corp?
You may be thinking that your small or start-up business may not be able to become a part of this movement alongside some of the aforementioned big businesses. However, commitment to the environment and society is increasingly on everyone’s agenda and often, being a small business can be the best place to start. Start-up businesses are in the best possible position to gain B Corp status because if the business is running lawfully, ethically and sustainably, your business will already align to the B Corp values. So, a huge infrastructural upheaval to qualify as a B Corp shouldn’t be necessary as it may be with a larger corporation.
In addition to this, many consumer goods organisations are investing in B Corp organisations. Namely, Danone is aiming to become the world’s largest B Corp, currently with 11 certified subsidiaries. Moreover, Unilever has also become involved in the movement as it owns five B Corp brands including Ben & Jerry’s. If you want to plan for your business to excel and work alongside some of the biggest brands in the world, this could be a great first step.
If you are a start-up, Pending B Corp status may be the best initial root to take for your business as you may have doubts about your available time, available funds and a change of focus from solely profit. Pending B Corp status is only available to companies that have been operating for less than 12 months and is designed the set a path out for early stage companies to make their commitment count.
Why should you consider certifying as a B Corp?
Becoming a UK B Corp has many benefits, but arguably the clearest and most commendable one is that as a business you will show that you are fully transparent, accountable and profitable. This type of credible business reputation can only affect your current and future clients, customers and investors positively.
Did you know?
- 60% of consumers are more likely to buy a product if the business itself has clear social or environmental impacts.
- 35% of certified UK companies said that being a B Corp has helped them to attract new audiences since joining up.
The B Corp status is attractive to so many businesses because it shows that a business cares and recognises the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the planet, which all businesses should be considering anyway! Many see this type of status as an opportunity to also achieve a competitive advantage and improve saleability, as investors look to bring diversity into their portfolios.
Therefore, as well as playing a part in benefiting the wider world, becoming a B Corp makes business sense.
How do you become a B Corp?
In short, certified B Corp status is verified and awarded by the not-for-profit B Lab through an online assessment and a phone interview, on top of documentation to validate claims about company commitment to positive social and environmental change. Each business must get a set score overall against a set of social and environmental standards. Following this, certification must be renewed every three years and there is an annual fee, which scales with revenue and starts at £500.
When certified, you are legally required to make decisions based on the B Corp mission objectives and not exclusively profit maximisation. This is an important and necessary change in mindset for many businesses on top of the cost and time needed for accreditation, meaning your business must be prepared for this.
However, if you are willing to get involved, there’s a lot to be gained. As well as having certification, you would be a part of a powerful network of businesses that can help you to understand how to make your business even better.
In need of advice?
If you are interested in creating a business plan that will consider all aspects of your unique business to help you thrive moving forward, whether this involves investing in official stamps of approval such as B Corp certification or not, we can help. Do not hesitate to contact us via the form on the right or by calling us on 01604 420 420.