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What is a B Corp?

May 9, 2019 | Posted by Amy

B Corporation logo

Where profit meets purpose – unscrambling the word B Corp.

Everywhere we go people ask us the question..”What is a B Corp ?”. Although many have now heard of this growing movement there is still some confusion as to what this really means.

Here we have had a go at unscrambling the word B Corp and have laid out some easy facts and figures. Plus some net benefits!

In a nutshell

B-corps are for-profit organisations that believe in using the power of business to create a better world around them. They exist to create value for non-shareholding stakeholders such as employees, customers, the community and the environment.

Becoming certified

B Corps are transparent about their operating practices. They are required to amend their Articles of Association to meet the B Corp UK Legal requirements. So unless you are in this for the right reason you may not be willing to go that far.

To become certified, applicants must undergo a rigorous assessment. Which means demonstrating they meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability.  Re-certification happens every two years and  the assessment is updated biannually to ensure that B Corps are spearheading on what “ doing good” looks like in the modern world.

What does it mean to Red-Inc?

So why, you might ask is a stationery company so bothered about becoming a B Corp? After all, they just sell pens and paper. Isn’t this just another accreditation – why all the fuss and noise ?

In real terms, yes why bother. It doesn’t actually change anything in terms of why we exist as a company. Why go to all that trouble and expense and all that painstaking work and hours of staff’s time just to get a badge? And there’s no getting away from it,  the drawback to doing more good stuff is increased costs, which can be a complex issue for an SME.

Ultimately for us and many businesses we want transparency, and we need authentic verification that what we say is true. Marketeers are good and it’s easy to be misled by clever tactics, neat website and false claims. Being a B Corp is great accolade that we are doing what we say we are doing, allowing us to build relationships that are based on trust and honesty.

Going through the B Impact assessment is also an efficient way to report on your social and environmental performance without the onerous CSR costs.

How it can help?

Being a B Corp helps us in so many ways to grow and innovate.  It has enabled us to learn from leading companies and share our experiences. It equips us with the tools to achieve more and do better.

There are regular B Corp events for businesses and you get access to an abundance of information and opportunities. Each year everyone gathers together at the annual retreat which is a great time to share knowledge and be inspired by each others’ successes.

With more and more people wanting to work for ethical businesses, a B Corp certification demonstrates to the world around you that you’re committed to being a force for good. A recent survey conducted by Net Impact states that  80% of millennial’s want to work for a company with a clear environmental and social purpose. Half said they would not consider working for a business with no values.

Key Points 

Collaboration- Together we have a stronger impact to create positive change.

Help solving real social and environmental issues

Due diligence at its best

From startup to multinational

If you are not sure where to start with becoming a greener company, one that is more sustainable and more conscious of the community, then the impact assessment is the perfect road-map for your journey. It will show you the efforts you need to go to take responsibility for your broader impact.

If you are a start up it’s a really useful tool to lay down some solid foundations to your business, and will guide you along and teach you. If its sizeable impact you’re looking for, just read about the work Danone are doing globally…it seems there are no excuses not to start the ball rolling today.

We can all do better

No one’s perfect, but let’s all try to be better…

We will be the first to admit we don’t know it all and also need help and guidance in areas such as governance, how to ensure our equality and diversity policy is up to date. But that’s what being a B Corp is all about – using the B Impact Assessment to benchmark and improve our performance as we grow.

Some of our issues and problems are self-explanatory, like transport emissions and packaging. Others we need help with and indeed to simply identify that they exist in the first place.

And don’t think this is easy or that we ‘sit back on our laurels’!  Every day B Corps are busy solving real commercial issues. From packaging to transport to health and welfare issues. Check out some of the brands and their missions here B CORP

Feel inspired ?

Finally, a small thing that can keep you feeling motivated is having a really inspiring social media feed. The B Corp twitter page delights us, educates us and helps share the great news stories that the B Corp community is doing, day in day out….  @redincltd @BCorpUK