Four Things To Consider When Planning Your B Corp Journey

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Four Things To Consider When Planning Your B Corp Journey

18th March 2024 | from Revo

Recently, Revo hosted a webinar: ‘Charting a Purposeful Path: A Dialogue with B Corp Members on the Journey to Sustainability?’ attracting more than 60 participants.  The session was moderated by Vivienne King, head of real estate social impact at The Good Economy, and sought to explore the importance of B Corp to businesses in the retail-focused real estate community.

Almost 2,000 UK businesses are now certified B Corps with over 60,000 employees, although in the wider context of some 5.5 million businesses nationally, the potential for attracting new members is clearly enormous.

James Kelly of B Lab UK pointed out that nearly four out of five (78%) of people “believe that business should have a legal responsibility to the planet and people, alongside maximising profits.” Robin Heap, CEO and founder of Zest, suggested that retail – just like any other sector – needs to be aligned with the aims of the planet and the environment and embody those concepts which people in the community want to embrace.

Mark Robinson, co-founder of Ellandi, observed that B Corp membership is effectively a long-term investment that does not gives short-term returns. It is not a particularly straightforward certification to achieve; however, for those organisations prepared to go through the process, it is a clear way of demonstrating commitment to ‘social value’, for example when bidding for contracts.

Chris Keates Lewis, senior director of HR and operations at TFT, felt that B Corp offers “a massively collaborative space” for engaging with like-minded firms and leaders across different areas of ESG.  B Corp membership has helped TFT to consolidate and build upon some of its best practice in areas such as diversity and inclusivity, and to work closely with industry bodies to improve standards more widely.

Vivienne King told participants that she was pleased to hear the “authenticity” of the journey they were experiencing – or had already made.  From participants’ feedback, the route to certification is not a journey that organisations would choose to embark upon unless they were already broadly supportive of B Corp’s vision.  As Gina Colley, architect and associate director at Threesixty Architecture, said: “You don’t become a B Corp and then change your values; you already have these values in the first place.”

The webinar sought to establish advice for other businesses planning to become B Corp certified.  Four key takeaways from the session:

  1. Robin Heap, Zest: “B Corp is very considered and mature…” – although the initial B Corp survey for company information can take several hours to complete, it helps you to appreciate exactly what is required to improve your working environment, offering a ‘blueprint’ to set yourself by and make your business operate in a better way than before.
  2. Chris Keates Lewis, TFT: “B Corp triggers new thinking in the business… it takes you way beyond what you’ve achieved to date.” – Chris has seen B Corp certification galvanise talent within TFT and beyond to treat business as a force for good.  The fact that certification is so rigorous and wide-ranging means that those shared values are backed up by evidence, data and a plan for continuous improvement.
  3. Mark Robinson, Ellandi: “If you know ‘the why’, you’ll know why.” – B Corp certification is unlikely to get devalued simply because more organisations get involved in the future.  What is important is for a business to stick to its values and adhere to these values even when tough decisions have to be made.
  4. Gina Colley, Threesixty Architecture: “Collective action through B Corp is critical.” – it took Gina’s practice 18 months to become B Corp certified but the investment in time and resources has resulted in the establishment of a structure and methodology in the organisation which allows continuous improvement and led to a 30 per cent decrease in its carbon footprint since 2019.

A link to the webinar can be found HERE!

Revo is planning to host similar webinars in the future as a way for member organisations to share their experiences of B Corp and help inspire UK businesses to understand why becoming B Corp certified could be one of the best decisions they will ever make.

(Image: B Lab Europe, 2024)