Posted by Laura Williams
16th March, 2021

Insights how to become a b corp Insights how to become a b corp

How and why to become a B Corp

It’s B Corp month and our partner agency Beyond has started its journey towards achieving B Corp status – it’s an exciting journey to be part of!

But what exactly does it mean, and what is a B Corp? We spoke with Chief Creative Officer, James Rutter of B Corp and prepared meals brand COOK, and consultant & B Lab Ambassador, John Featherby about what it means to be a part of the B Corp family – a new wave of brands using business as a force for good.

"We envision a global economy that uses business as a force for good." — B Corp

What is a B Corp?

There are currently over 3,500 Certified B Corporations in more than 70 countries, and 360 of those are based in the UK. B Corp certified businesses strive not only for profits, but for the improvement of the world around them, including employees, customers, society and the environment.

The B Corp Certificate of Interdependence states:

  • That we must be the change we seek in the world.
  • That all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered.
  • That, through their products, practices, and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all.
  • To do so requires that we act with the understanding that we are each dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations.

B Corps are incredibly transparent about their practices and are held to a high standard of third-party validation, public transparency, and legal accountability. B Corp brands are recertified every three years and continuously strive to meet new goals for the greater good of the world. If they fail to meet the set B Corp criteria, then they lose their B Corp status. And the criteria are continuously evolving, making sure that B Corps are always at the forefront of what good business should be.

"Don’t do it just because you think you’ll get a nice logo." — James Rutter, COOK

How do you become a B Corp?

COOK became of the UK’s first B Corps in 2013. Using 100% renewable electricity in its shops and kitchens, donating over 1 million free meals to school kids in Malawi, supporting local community events with 30% off their food and setting up a number of successful social impact initiatives such as its Kindness Project, are just some of the many reasons as to why COOK is leading the way for purpose-led brands in the UK.

“Don’t do it because you think you’ll get a nice logo,” says James Rutter in a recent Brand Talks podcast. “If you feel that connection and you see that it’s going to be really hard, it’s going to be really painful and it’s going to be a ball-ache – and you still want to do it, then do it,” says James.

The process is long and hard, and it requires a fully committed team who are truly passionate about using business as a purpose for good. Put simply, it’s not for green washers who are looking to attract more customers or simply add another shiny ‘do-good label’ to their website.

In order to achieve B Corp certification, your business must be assessed by B Lab and meet the required standards. There are three steps to the process:

  1. Complete the B Impact Assessment. Your business will need to score at least 80 out of a maximum 200.
  2. Make sure you meet the legal requirements and work on what amendments you can make if you don’t currently.
  3. Sign the B Corp Declaration of Interdependence and Term Sheet, making your status official.

Don’t forget, once you’ve achieved B Corp status, you must continue to maintain policies and/or implement new policies to keep hold of that status.

“This is an incredible time to be alive… To have the opportunity to really recreate the economy like this!” — John Featherby, B Lab and Shoremount.

Who can become a B Corp?

Any for-profit company that’s been operating for at least 12 months, can apply to become a B Corp. There is no minimum or maximum size, nor any particular industry requirements.

If you haven’t yet been trading for 12 months but you want to show your commitment, you can apply for B Corp Pending status.

“At Beyond, we work with marketing managers and founders of purpose-led brands to help them clearly position their business as a force for good. Embarking on a B Corp journey is an incredibly powerful way of digging deep into your brand policies, and the B Impact Assessment is an amazing resource of support and ideas on how to take your business a step further.” Andy, Director at Beyond.

What are the benefits of being a B Corp?

The number one benefit of becoming a B Corp in the unified knowledge that as a team, you are working together to help your business flourish, and benefit the world around you — you’re a force for good. B Corp status also demonstrates to your stakeholders, employees, customers and prospects that you’re committed to playing your part in building a brighter future for the world.

“There is a huge amount of evidence to say that if you’re a young company it helps attract investment,” said John Featherby in a recent Brand Talks podcast on how to become a B Corp.

B Corp is a united community of businesses that share a common goal and look to help each other grow, succeed and build a better future.

“This is an incredible time to be alive… To have the opportunity really to recreate the economy like this,” said John.

Are you a B Corp or thinking about becoming one? Get in touch — we’d love to know where you're at on your journey!