BCORP IN LEADERSHIP
WHAT IS BCORP?
Over recent decades the world has been waking up to the reality that our economic system, based on profit at all cost, has been exacerbating threats to the health and wellbeing of society and the planet.
B Corporations (or B Corps) are pioneering businesses that balance profit and purpose. As people look to work for, buy from and invest in businesses they believe in, the organistion BCorporation is working to create a global community of leaders using business as a force for good. Since being established in the U.S. in 2006, over 3600 companies have achieved BCorp certification across 75 countries. BCorp is now a global community supported by a growing network of B Lab Global and Country Partners in six continents. The UK is home to the second largest B Corp community in the world with over 400 certified companies representing 48 industries and over 22,000 employees.
HOW TO BECOME BCORP
Being a BCorp company means aligning the interests of the business with those of society. It means managing impact with as much rigour as profits.
B Corp certification requires companies to manage and report their impact across their entire operation using the B Impact Assessment. They need to consider the impact of their decisions on all stakeholders, not just shareholders. They incorporate change in their mission by committing to change by amending their Articles of Association.
Obtaining the BCorp independent certification requires a company to put people, planet as well as profit at the heart of the business. Certification demonstrates the company’s values to customers and suppliers and creates a common vision to inspire all stakeholders. It enables companies to join a dynamic community facilitating exchange of best practice ideas and be part of a global movement to share in a collective voice advocating a new way to do business and provide leadership in addressing global issues.
The key requirements for certification are:
- Achieve a score of at least 80 points in the B Impact Assessment. You can create an account here. This is the best place to start to familiarise yourself with the questions and benchmark current impact. The ‘learn’ function within each question provides useful guidance and information. The completed assessment will be reviewed and verified by BCorp’s independent Standards Management Team. There will be a process of gathering supporting evidence to verify answers.
- Make the legal change to the company’s Articles of Association to reflect its commitment to consider all stakeholders as part of its decision making.
- Pay the certification fee. When certified, there is an annual certification fee based on a percentage of revenue.
For more information, you can access the BCorp knowledge base, which has lots of FAQs, best practice guides and general information to refer to for the assessment.
In the face of COVID-19, many B Corps have responded with extraordinary measures to support healthcare workers, local communities, customers, suppliers and employees.
As the Black Lives Matter movement reverberated in the UK, B Corps got together to start having uncomfortable, but necessary, conversations about racism, allyship and taking collective action.
In December 2019, at COP25 in Madrid, 533 BCorps announced a commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030. That number now stands at 800. This announcement prompted the formation of the BCorp Climate Collective: the UK cohort committed to collaborating and taking concrete action on the climate and ecological emergency. Recognising the need for business action, B Lab UK expects all UK B Corp companies to commit to net zero carbon emissions by 2030.
BETTER BUSINESS ACT
The Better Business Act is a UK initiative which seeks to transform the way business is done such that all companies take ownership of their social and environmental impacts. B Corp is urging Britain’s business leaders to call on the government to amend Section 172 of the Companies Act to ensure businesses are legally responsible for benefiting workers, customers, communities and the environment while delivering profit. The change will replace the outdated default of shareholder primacy. There is significant public support for this with research showing that 76% of people want business to be legally responsible for its impact.
“Becoming a B Corp is much more than a certification. We are adding momentum to an important movement – one that wants to shift the image of business from greed to good” (Douglas Lamont – CEO Innocent BCorp).