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Food & Drink |

B-Corporations: What are they and what makes them so great?


Last month was B Corporation month, and I was surprised to find out so many people didn't know what a B Corp is, so here's the lowdown...

I put a poll on my Instagram stories a couple of weeks ago to find out what people know about B Corps and was surprised by the results, with around half of the people who voted not knowing what they are.

The poll also showed that around 75% of people were not more likely to buy a product from a brand that has B Corp status so it got me thinking… do people know what a B Corp is and what makes them so great?

The B Global Network started back in 2006, and is simply described as a ‘non-profit network transforming the global economy to benefit all peoples, communities and the planet’. And there are now 6,500+ B Corps across 89 countries operating in 161 different industries.

So what does it mean for companies who have certification? Well it’s a commitment that they will conduct their business and behave in a particular way, not operating purely to make profit. Instead these businesses will focus on things like community, environment, social responsibilities etc.

The B Corporation movement’s collective vision is of an inclusive, equitable and regenerative economy.

B Lab UK

Companies that are B Corp certified meet high standards of transparency and accountability, and are committed to working to have a positive impact on people, communities and the planet.

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Image source: B Lab UK

So as an example… Pentire Drinks are based in Cornwall and make delicious alcohol free botanical spirits, if you’ve not heard of them before, you can read my blog post about them here. They are committed to minimising their environmental impact and offset the carbon caused by each of their deliveries. They also give back a percentage of their sales each month to charities and organisations that protect the oceans and environment.

Another brand I’m a big fan of is Pip & Nut, they’ve recently published their 2022 impact report which you can read here. Last year they completed their B Corp recertification (something a company does every 3 years), and they improved their score by a huge 20 points. Some of the ways they’ve done this are by regularly monitoring their carbon footprint and setting targets to reduce this, moving to a pension provider that offers a sustainable investment option, and screening new suppliers against sustainability criteria.

There are a lot of food companies that have B Corp certification… Bol, Brew Tea Co, Doisy & Dam, Judes, Kabuto, Nojo, Pentire, Pip & Nut, Proper Snacks, Rubies in the Rubble, and Teapigs to name a few.

I asked a couple of these companies what being B Corp certified means to them…

Kabuto Noodles

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Image source: Kabuto Noodles

Becoming the first instant noodle brand with a B-Corp certification has been a great honour! We have been striving to make our business as sustainable as possible in recent years, not only for the company but also as a responsibility to our customers too. As a family-run business it is important to us to leave a legacy which means our products had as little impact on the planet as possible.

Becoming a B-Corp is a great validation of the ethos we’ve always had at Kabuto, that a company should be about more than just money, but trying to operate in a way that’s good for our staff, customers and planet. We’ve always aimed to be leaders in the competitive world of instant noodles, both in taste as well as environmentally, and now we’ve proved quality instant noodles needn’t cost the earth.

Joining a community of like-minded companies has been a privilege and we hope to keep the team growing.

Crispin Busk, Founder Kabuto Noodles.

Rubies in the Rubble

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Image source: Rubies in the Rubble

Having founded Rubies with a passion to reduce excessive food waste within the supply chain, our mission has always been our driving force. However, as Rubies grew, I wanted to ensure we could be an agent for change across all areas– not just environmentally, which brought us to explore the B Corp movement…

The B Corp movement creates a worthwhile framework for businesses to start measuring and monitoring every part of their daily operations. And, as B Corps are required to recertify every three years to prove they are both continuing with the business practices previously measured, as well as surpassing their previous score through setting ambitious ESG goals- being a B Corp is a long-term commitment to continuous improvement.

Over the last three years, we’ve used the B Corp scoring framework to decide how to shape and prioritise our sustainability strategy, enabling us to integrate a number of new initiatives.

Jenny Costa, Founder Rubies in the Rubble

By shopping from a B Corp certified brand, your money is going into a business who are committed to making a difference to people and the planet.

Waitrose and Ocado have a really helpful search function on their websites, where if you search 'B Corp' it will bring up a full list of the products they stock that have this certification, making it really easy to shop B Corp brands.

What do you think about B Corps? Let me know in the comments below...