Celebrating 1000 B Corps – and looking to do more
I was delighted to join Social colleagues in London and Manchester last week to celebrate 1,000 B Corps being certified in the UK. We became a certified B Corp in July after a journey taking more than two years and we are proud to join this global movement of businesses which balance profit and purpose.
The thousandth B Corp marks an important milestone in building a critical mass of companies who are driving real change. With London now home to more B Corps than any other city in the world, the national focus of celebrations was, fittingly, in the breathtaking surroundings of the Natural History Museum.
A celebration filled with people from a range of organisations and sectors, all with a common vision for how business can be a force for good, created a positive atmosphere and a feeling that we can still change things for the better. Collaboration, partnership and of course, community, will play a key role in our progress.
But it wasn’t lost on me that there’s still work to be done to give the B Corp movement greater reach outside of the capital. To have the impact it seeks, we need to see more leaders that represent different cities, towns and communities joining the B Corp efforts. But those leaders also need to be made to feel welcome and their contributions valued, regardless of their background.
The economic gap between London and the rest of the UK can’t be ignored, so businesses outside of the ‘big smoke’ who are committed to making a difference should be encouraged to come together. Those that pay a living wage, contribute to their local communities, pay their suppliers promptly and proactively reduce their environmental impact are making a difference. There are plenty of them out there and I’d encourage B Lab to further engage with them! Only then will the movement have the national impact and recognition it seeks and deserves.
Manchester for example is home to one of the UK’s most active B Corp communities and several of my colleagues attended a celebration in Whitworth Locke, where we heard from leading figures in the North West’s 40-strong B Corp community. These included Donald Moore from One + All, a school uniform provider based in Stockport and relatively unusual in the B Corp community as a manufacturer. One + All is employee owned and has invested heavily in ethical sourcing, protecting workers’ rights at home and abroad and in minimising its environmental impact.
Organisations like the Carbon Literacy project, based here in Manchester, are helping employers and individuals to understand how they can do their bit in the fight against climate change, no matter how big or small.
Both were great events, but given the cost of living crisis, on top of the ongoing climate emergency, there is no room for complacency among B Corps or any other business. We all need to do our bit. Having a robust framework for measurement means we are clear on where we need to improve. Producing a social impact report each year means we review our progress and set new priorities.
And we know this is just the beginning for us. Having a clear framework to apply to all areas of our business means we can identify areas where we are making progress, but more importantly, where can improve.
By continually improving, building and growing a community of like-minded companies committed to doing business in a way that delivers benefits to their communities as well as their shareholders, we have the best chance of making a real impact on society.