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Purpose with profit boosts business resilience during Covid

September 17, 2020 | Posted by Amy

Purpose and profit

We believe our resilience as a business is due to an unwavering commitment to sustainability and the B Corp community.

The past few months have been enough to shake every business to its core. Dire economic warnings have become part of the daily news cycle as firms deal with the impact of Coronavirus. Small and medium sized businesses like ours are the most vulnerable as they lack cash reserves, struggle to continue paying staff or loans and keep their supply chains moving.

Last month it was officially declared that the UK economy is in recession. At Red-Inc we’ve been here before – our founder, Adam Huttly, set the business up in 2008 at the height of the last global economic recession.

Despite the difficult timing, we weathered the storm of the 2008 recession and we’ve grown a loyal base of customers. In this latest crisis, despite significant financial, logistical and staffing challenges, we’ve continued to grow the business too.

We believe our resilience is due to our unwavering commitment to sustainability. Since day one, we’ve always teamed strong values and our sense of purpose with the pursuit of profit. We treat our social and environmental impact as a primary measure of success, and we prioritise our purpose even in cases where it may not drive profitability.

Being part of the B Corp community is at the heart of our strategy to be a force for good. In 2017 we became the UK’s first B Corp certified office supplies company and we haven’t looked back.

Research shows that in normal times, B Corp businesses grow 28 times faster than the average business. This is because B Corps meet demand from purpose-led consumers while attracting and retaining the best talent to work for them. They also cut through to consumers wary of greenwash and empty commitments from other brands.

This translates to greater resilience during hard economic times too. Research from asset manager BlackRock shows that companies with a commitment to social purpose and sustainability have been more resilient during the Covid-19 market crash. Investment funds tracking the performance of companies with better ratings on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues lost less money than those including worse performers in 94% of cases during the crisis, according to BlackRock’s research.

 

We’ve demonstrated our commitment to being a purposeful business over the last few months by:

  • Switching to supply safety products most needed by customers in the crisis such as anti-bacterial cleaning products and home working products
  • Making all payments due to our suppliers to support their cash flow
  • Making sure our staff have all the personal equipment they need to protect themselves, sending PPE to their homes where needed
  • Giving staff new equipment like laptops and ergonomic chairs so they can work safely at home, and creating a safe environment for staff members that choose to work from the office
  • Supporting charity clients with pro-bono printed materials so they can continue to generate interest and support for their cause

Now we’re looking ahead to see how we can keep demonstrating our commitment to social and environmental impact.

We’re in the process of completing our B Corp recertification, which is mandatory for all B Corps every three years. We’re continuing to supply our amazing client base from the big corporates through to purpose-led companies and charities, including WWF-UK and fellow B Corps Ella’s Kitchen and Innocent. Just 2 of 1000’s that are balancing purpose with profit.

We’re incredibly grateful to team up with clients who understand that to recover from this crisis, and build a healthier future for us all, we must prioritise long-term social and environmental impact, over short-term cash returns.