Business West is now part of a community of 4,000 businesses globally who have certified as B Corps. The B Corp community in the UK, representing a broad cross section of industries and sizes, comprises over 400 companies and include well-known brands such as The Guardian, innocent, Patagonia, The Body Shop and organic food pioneers Abel & Cole. In South West England, Business West joins the likes of Triodos, Finisterre, Hobbs House Bakery and Stroud Brewery in certifying as a B Corp.
To celebrate Business West achieving its B Corp status, we wanted to showcase some of the certified B Corporations in the region which are also Department for International Trade (DIT) or Business West clients and are trading internationally.
Certified B Corporations are businesses that care about purpose as well as profit. They are legally required to consider how their decisions impact their employees, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. B Corps are a community of leaders striving to use business as a force for good.
Business West Chamber Member, Resource Futures, based in Bristol was founded in 2006 and is an employee-owned environmental consultancy business. The company works with international agencies and national and local governments to enable sustainable management through developing guidance on topics such as plastic pollution.
Resource Futures has delivered projects for Ghana, South Africa, India, Liberia, and Bangladesh.
David Lerpiniere, the company’s Director said:
“Our mission is to enable the sustainable management of material resources. There is a major need to improve resources and waste management across the globe.
“An estimated two billion people globally do not have access to basic water management services, leading to large quantities of waste being disposed of by dumping and burning.
“By working at a global level, particularly with international institutions, we can have a major positive impact on an issue that is of global significance.”
Resource Futures decided to become a B Corp five years ago to ensure its objectives and desire to create a sustainable world remained a core value of the company. This year the company was named by B Lab as a Best for the World B Corp, ranking in the top 5% of all B Corps in its size group worldwide for sustainable business practices.
“Becoming a B Corp is so much more than a badge of recognition. It is an opportunity to measure your business against the highest verified standards of social and environmental performance and accountability and prove to your employees, clients and stakeholders that you’re serious about being a better business.”
Leap, based in Truro, Cornwall is an award-winning design agency which helps clients design brands and websites in a way which is low impact on the environment while being good for its business and stakeholders. The company was set up by Matt Hocking in 2004 as one of the first agencies in the world focused on design with the environment in mind. Matt says:
“In the early days, people started to question what makes us sustainable and ethical. There’s no legislation on design, but design, in my opinion, is the most powerful tool in the world to create rapid environmental change because our human world is designed and that means we can challenge what we create.
“The reason Leap became a B Corp is because it is proof of what you do and provides a framework for how you can manage and measure your business for the better. It allows you to assess your environmental and social footprints, how you engage and work with our teams, community and customers and helps progress our resilience, attraction, retention and more.
“It’s allows your company to keep improving and adapting as every three years the business impact assessment for B Corp changes based on global knowledge and feedback.”
In 2020 25% of the company’s work was international. In 2021 exports account for 10% of its turnover with clients including Bohemian Folk, an organic clothing company based in the US, The Ocean Race, and Hightide based in the EU.
The business is looking to increase its international work to 40% and Matt says the B Corp framework will be firmly in mind during this expansion. He says:
“If we’re using contractors in a country, such as a digital designer in Sao Paulo, the B Corp framework encourages us to make sure we are paying a fair and just wage for someone in that country assessing what the living wage should be alongside other area specific actions.
“It’s important to remember that B Corp doesn’t define a business. we’re already purposeful businesses, it just helps guide the compass and encourage you to focus on being as sustainable and ethical as possible with not just your business but your supply chain, triple bottom line accountability all the way.
“One huge benefit of joining the B Corp community is that we’re all in it together. Some companies even advertise together even though they’re competitors, while others share ideas about how to eliminate plastic from our supply chains. Collaboration is key in this decade.”
Stroud Brewery was established in 2006 and has focused on sustainability since its inception. The company, while a novice exporter, has sold its organic beer to customers in Japan and Sweden and is currently looking to find trading partners in France and Ireland.
The business operates with ethical finance using Triodos bank, and uses Ecotricity to generate power. Ecotricty is a company specialising in selling green energy to consumers that it primarily generates from its 87.2 megawatt wind power portfolio.
Stroud Brewery uses organic malting barley grown in the Cotswolds and uses rainwater harvesting for flushing waste.
Greg Pilley, the company’s founder said:
“I believe all companies should be considering their impact on people and planet. B Corps are leading change. With the global challenges we clearly face there is no excuse to allow business to operate to the detriment of our social and environmental capital.
“It is inspiring to see the change the B Corp community is making. Collectively we can contribute to living in balance with the planet's capacity to host a human population and maintain quality of life.”
To find out more about Business West’s B Corp certification and the wider B Corp movement click here.