From starting my business 8 years ago with a focus on wellbeing, sustainability and fun, little did I realise that this focus would set me up well for the future. Having spent 14 years working in the NHS, I just couldn’t just become a pure profit making business, so I have always strived to design a business with a bigger purpose.
Sustainability, wellbeing and fun are the huge trends post lockdown and so when earlier in the year I came across the B Corp concept, I knew that this was the association I had yearned for.
Recognising the major challenges facing hospitality in the recruitment and retention of staff, I see B Corp playing a massive role in the future. There is so much emphasis via the assessment process on staff involvement, benefits, compensation, training and professional development, job flexibility, communication, company culture, working conditions, employee satisfaction and engagement and work—life balance that this can be challenging for hospitality which is traditionally known as an industry where employees work long hours, with low pay and work-life balance is just a dream. I see B Corp as the vehicle to challenge and change the industry, which is why I am so enthusiastic about the concept and www.betternotstop.com, a sustainable impact agency based in Manchester are supporting The Wellbeing Farm with our application.
My team worked on their B Corp Impact Assessment (BIA) throughout lockdown and we have also developed our own dedicated carbon pledge website which highlights the work they are doing to reduce their carbon footprint: https://wellbeingcorporate.co.uk/carbon-pledge/. We are also progressing with our IS014001 environmental accreditation too.
But is B Corp just another greenwash initiative or does it have real substance?
B Corp (which stands for Benefit Corporation) ethos is using ‘business as a force for good’, using business as a vehicle to improve the planet, staff conditions of employment and the local economy. Organisations that are certified as B Corp have to meet rigorous social and environmental standards which represent its commitment to goals outside of shareholder profit.
I don’t see B Corp as just the latest fad or a PR stunt; it’s validation of business commitment towards corporate social responsibility. The certification process looks at 5 key areas within each business: Environment, Community, Customers, Governance and Workers. Half of millennials seek out socially conscious brands; investors look for organisations that impact environmental and social change. 66% of global consumers will pay more for sustainable products and practices and potential employees seek out employers that reflect their values.
B Corp provides so many benefits:
- B Corp provides a way of making a company be better, by providing an excellent framework for you and your business to work towards becoming a better business and improving your social, staff and environmental impact by a triple focus on people, planet and profit.
- The B Impact Assessment is free to take (although there is a small fee to pay if you actually want to become accredited) and provides a rigorous independent assessment where a business is not only judged on earnings, but contribution to society and the environment. It provides transparency through its accreditation process where consumers, employers and others can tell the difference between companies that are truly doing good and those that are all talk (or greenwashing).
- Once accredited the B Impact Assessment (BIA) provides a benchmarking tool providing opportunities for future improvement. As part of its accreditation, it demands that companies report their impact annually and have to re-accredit every couple of years, ensures it’s a tool for continual improvement. The changing focus also reflects the changing nature of sustainability and society.
- You join an exciting community of forward-looking business leaders who share a common dedication to responsible business. Well liked brands like Graze, Guardian Newspapers, The Body Shop, Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, Etsy, Danone, Nike, Tridos Bank, Cafedirect, Riverford Organic Farmers, Toast Ale, CoGo, Innocent Drinks are all B Corp Certified. Each B Corp has a ‘B Impact Report’ that can be viewed online and companies becoming B Corp are part of a movement for change. Once you are accredited as a B Corp, you are encouraged to trade with other B Corps as they know how B Corps run their businesses.
- The Better Business Act is trying to change the law so that all businesses are mandated to deliver on the triple bottom line. Becoming a B Corp prepares you for this future movement.
- The biggest benefit is with recruitment – millennials want more than just a pay check, studies have shown they want a higher purpose and a connection to the social values of the companies they choose to work for; and they generally reject first that solely maximise profits. They are actively looking for socially responsibly businesses that take care of their employees. B Corp certification provides a signal to potential job seekers that a company will be committed to its employees. Once accredited as a B Corp, a company can also advertise their roles on B Work – a B Corp job board.
- I believe that the B Corp brand will in future be an incredibly powerful tool to easily and reliably identify socially responsible businesses. The B Corp logo is a sign to the world that the intention to do good is there, and hopefully that the business is improving and innovating to become even better.
- The B Corp movement is growing exponentially and B Corp’s partnership with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals is a key step for the future growth of the movement.
- B Corp provides a direct response to toxic workplace cultures, poor environmental standards and profit-centred mind-sets that have long dominated the corporate world. The fact that B Corp is endorsed by David Liddle and his work in Transformational Culture says it all…
But the reason I’m so excited is that I see the B Corp movement as providing a good way to raise standards across the hospitality industry. In an industry which is often known for poor working conditions, difficulties in recruiting the right staff, high levels of stress, alcoholism and drug taking, the process made me think about staff wellbeing, staff involvement, rates of pay, community engagement and sustainability. I see the focus on sustainability, wellbeing and community and being crucial for hospitality businesses.
My team are involved in setting the budget, we have full transparency in the business and the team play a critical role in helping me grow my business. So often, the financial reporting in business remains a closed shop where only a critical few are given access to financial information, for a B Corp transparency is essential. 73% of people in the UK want to commit to being more sustainable in 2021 and young people are seeking to want to work for companies with purpose and to pursue meaningful careers. B Corp certification is a way to signal to employees that you actually walk your talk. Engaged employees lead to happier and healthier lives and are more likely to stay with a company than seek a job elsewhere.
I think my business is much more purposeful and better having gone through the process and I now have a real future focus on regeneration.
The Wellbeing Farm is hoping to become one of the first hospitality venues to be B Corp accredited. Lockdown has caused the hospitality industry to awaken and realise that they can’t expect staff to continue doing long hours with zero work-life balance with low pay. B Corp could be the vehicle to raise standards across the industry by providing a framework and independent oversight to help the industry do better.
Celia Gaze, Managing Director
The Wellbeing Farm & Wellbeing Corporate
If you want further information on B Corp, click here
here are three short videos which explain B Corp:
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=Nux1t4bGEe8&feature=youtu.be (my favourite as I always feel like that man)
There have even been books published about the BCorp movement. Click here to read more
You take a free BCorp Impact Assessment which you can take: https://bcorporation.uk/certification – it just gives you a really good framework to work towards….
It is therefore with massive excitement and pleasure that I can now tell you that we have partnered with Hannah Cox, B Corp Specialist from betternotstop https://betternotstop.com to develop some B Corp introductory workshops so others can learn about this exciting movement.