While many of us are now familiar with seeing the Fairtrade Mark or Soil Association organic symbol on the back of the products we buy – and knowing what they mean – the B Corp logo may be a little less familiar. Here, we explain what the movement stands for and what being a B Corp means for us.
What is a B Corp?
Put simply, B Corp is to business what Fairtrade certification is to coffee. Certified B Corporations do business in a particular way. Rather than operating purely to generate profit, they prioritise working for social and environmental good.
Together, as a community of like-minded businesses, B Corps are driving the shift to a new kind of economy, that is better for workers, better for communities and better for the environment.
In order to become a B Corp, businesses are certified by the non-profit B Lab to voluntarily meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. Each company’s B Impact Report can be viewed online, so that consumers can see where the companies they buy from sit on the scale.
It’s a rapidly growing movement: the first 19 B Corps were certified in 2007 and there are now over 3,500 Certified B Corporations across more than 70 countries. Some of the bigger names you may recognise include Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s and Kickstarter.
While many people associate B Corp with brands selling products such as clothing and food, B Corp is also a growing force in the services and financial sectors. More and more companies recognise that these values are important to their customers and their co-workers, and Triodos is proud to be the only B Corp to offer a personal current account in the UK.
Why is Triodos a B Corp?
In April 2015, Triodos Bank Group was certified by B Lab following a thorough evaluation of how its practices impact its customers, stakeholders, the environment and co-workers. It achieved a score of 127 compared to an average B Corp score of 97. In 2018, the bank received its recertification and achieved a score of 136.4.
As a business founded on principles of sustainability, it was an obvious step for us to join the community. The B Corps represent a growing movement of successful, sustainable companies using business as a force for good and positive change.
We create lasting value for all stakeholders, not for just shareholders. The certification helps to increase awareness about sustainable business by distinguishing credible businesses that are genuinely committed to doing good. For a B Corporation, sustainability is fully integrated into the business, something that’s also a key part of our vision at Triodos.
An audit by an independent organisation such as B Corp helps us to test our sustainable mission against strict international requirements in the field of corporate social responsibility. The certification helps to increase the reputation and credibility of sustainable banking and to continuously improve our sustainable performance
Are any of the organisations that Triodos finances B Corps?
There are some fantastic B Corporations that are also Triodos Bank customers:
Cafédirect is an award-winning, social enterprise and 100% Fairtrade coffee company. Half of its profits are invested back into farmer communities.
Stroud Brewery produces premium organic beers brewed using Cotswold grown barley. Established in 2006, it is a thriving enterprise that aims to support the community, the environment and other local businesses.
Resource Futures is a sustainable resource management company. Its work focuses on high quality collection and expert analysis and interpretation of data to guide customers in the efficient use of material resources; and on the delivery of innovative behaviour change programmes.
Riverford Organic Farmers is a well-established organic farm and veg-box company operating from Devon. It scored 124.6 in its first B Corps Impact Assessment in 2020, with the highest score from the Workers section of the assessment.
Thrive Renewables is a renewable energy investment company on a mission is to power the UK’s transition to a sustainable energy future. Thrive has invested in wind and hydro, solar PV, geothermal, ground source heat and the early commercial scale tidal generation capacity. It received its B Corp rating in 2020.
How to get involved
It’s very easy to support the B Corp movement and drive positive change – simply by choosing to buy goods and services from certified brands.
B Corps themselves, or companies looking to become accredited, can benefit from choosing services from other organisations in the community – for example, additional impact points can be awarded for choosing an ethical finance or banking option, such as Triodos Bank.
Most importantly, whether you’re looking for baby food, a new jumper, an energy provider, or professional services, the huge range of B Corps show that there are organisations doing things differently all across the globe.
During March, we're joining a global community of almost 4,000 businesses to celebrate what it means to be a B Corp and share the story about #BetterBusiness.
You can visit the B Corp website to find out more about the story of B Corp UK.