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Actions, not words: 10 companies on why they got B Corp certified

Actions, not words: 10 companies on why they got B Corp certified

Words: Julia Gorodecky

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B Corp is more than just a label. To make the grade, companies go through rigorous assessments to ensure they meet verified standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability. Here are 10 founders on what it means to them.

DAME

Sustainable period products

Certified as a B Corp in 2019
B Impact score: 88.6

’Bleed Red, Think Green’. That’s the motto of the sustainable period product company Dame. They’re here to rid the world of the plastic waste and chemicals that comes with menstrual products, and to change the narrative around periods. As well as their organic tampons and reusable pads, Dame are the proud creators of the world’s first reusable tampon applicator. They’re also the first British period brand to become a B Corp. “We need to do a whole lot more for this planet on a social and environmental level,” says Alec Mills, who co-founded Dame with Celia Pool. “So we need to keep pushing the boundaries of what’s possible as a business for the greater good. I hope that by doing things slightly differently and for the first time, we inspire businesses the way others have inspired us.”

ONESEVENTEEN MEDIA

Mental health tools for kids

Certified as a B Corp in 2009
B Impact score: 113.2

Social venture entrepreneurs Beth Carls and Amy Looper wanted to use technology and sound business principles to make a better world for kids. That’s why, with their company OneSeventeen Media, they lead the charge in developing digital mental healthcare solutions for schools. The first of its kind, their app uses kid-smart chatbot assistants, a real-time self-guided Emotional Digital Triage Assessment, and optional access to certified live chat counsellors to help 10-14-year-olds process difficult emotions, understand their own behaviours, and navigate those of others. “Our work over the past 20 years has focused on marginalised youth, specifically those who aren’t ‘heard’ in our school system,” says Beth. “Since becoming Texas’ first Certified B Corp, we have been so enriched and supported through the programmes and companies that are a part of the movement.”

To qualify as a B Corp, companies must demonstrate their performance in various areas, adding up to a ‘B Impact score’ of at least 80.

It’s not easy qualifying to be a B Corp, says Portia Hart. But that’s kind of the point. Photo courtesy of Blue Apple Beach

BLUE APPLE BEACH

The island eco hotel

Certified as a B Corp in 2022
B Impact score: 80.1

Located on an island near Cartagena, Colombia, Blue Apple Beach is an independently owned boutique hotel and beach club with a strong focus on inclusivity and sustainable tourism. And, as its founder Portia Hart is just as dedicated to making a positive impact as she is to providing top-notch hospitality, it’s also connected to Green Apple Foundation, a local social enterprise she set up in 2017. Portia believes that being a B Corp shows that their eco-credentials and commitment to making a positive impact are the real deal. “When I discovered the B Corp framework, my first thought was: Why would any business not want to operate this way? Since certifying, our whole operation’s mentality has changed, as has our definition of success. To make a profit while having positive social and environmental impact is a target we feel proud to achieve. It’s not easy, but that’s what appeals to my entrepreneurial side.”

TRIODOS BANK

Banking, only better

Certified as a B Corp in 2015
B Impact score: 136.4

Established in 1980 on the conviction that banking can be a powerful force for good, Triodos Bank ‘wants to help create a society that protects and promotes people’s quality of life and has human dignity at its core’. How? By offering a full set of sustainable banking services as well as connecting entrepreneurs and sustainable companies with savers and investors who want to change the world for the better. In 2015 it became the first bank in the Netherlands to become a B Corp. “The B Corp certification helps to increase the reputation and credibility of sustainable banking, and helps us continuously improve our sustainable performance,” says company spokesperson Marcel Proos.

Wine from a can. Why not? Photo courtesy of The Uncommon

THE UNCOMMON

A new way to do wine

Certified as a B Corp in 2021
B Impact Score: 107.6

The Uncommon is an award-winning English winemaker. It grows its grapes within 50 miles of London and pioneers sustainable formats in the production of sparkling wines. It’s also the first in the country to can them. And before you baulk at ‘wine from a can’, know this: cans are more recyclable, way lighter and keep the wines fresher for longer than bottles. Working in the world’s youngest sparkling wine region, founders Henry Connell and Alex Thraves believe there’s never been a better moment to break tradition for the better. Which is something their B Corp certification verifies (they’re the first UK wine company to hold that status by the way). “We had a fair idea of how to act responsibly in business when we started,” says Henry. “Becoming a B Corp reinforced our beliefs in what we were doing well, whilst highlighting what we need to focus on to keep improving.” Cheers to that.

THE GREEN ENGINEER

Making smarter buildings

Certified as a B Corp in 2011
B Impact score: 121.7

Chris Schaffner launched The Green Engineer as a one-man show in 2005, helping make buildings more sustainable and energy-efficient. Since then he has watched the Massachusetts-based business bloom, and now it has 25 staff, who are also joint owners. “Part of our work is to help our clients do third-party certification of their efforts,” says Schaffner about becoming a B Corp. “So it seemed like a natural fit for us to do a third-party certification of our own firm in our own practices.”

Technology can open doors for young people. Photo courtesy of Close the Gap Kenya

CLOSE THE GAP KENYA

Bridging the digital divide

Certified as a B Corp in 2021
B Impact score: 84.2

Mombasa-based Close the Gap Kenya is a social enterprise that bridges the digital divide. It’s part of the organisation launched by Olivier Vanden Eynde who, having seen how much technology can help people get ahead, wanted to ensure everyone – particularly vulnerable youth – had “access to technology and the training to use it.” The company collects written-off and unused computing kit from other organisations worldwide, fixes it up and sends it out to educational and social projects. There’s also a co-working space for student tech start-ups, and incubation programmes. The company says: “We use tech to make environmental and societal impact, building towards a more sustainable community. That’s why it’s very special to us to be a Certified B Corp.”

ECOSIA

The alternative search engine

Certified as a B Corp in 2014
B Impact score: 106.8

From its base in Berlin, Ecosia’s impact ripples across the globe as this search engine donates at least 80% of its surplus ad revenue to reforestation projects. After witnessing the problems caused by deforestation, Christian Kroll founded Ecosia with the mission to create a greener and better world through one simple promise: Impact over profit. It was the first German company to become a B Corp. “Our users understand strength in numbers because they see its impact every day,” says Kroll. “Ecosia’s B Corp certification expands that energy to a growing network of smart, accountable businesses who know that social, environmental and economic sustainability is the only true way forward.”

Teapigs’ founders want their product to be “a source of good”. Photo courtesy of Teapigs

TEAPIGS

Tea, done right

Certified as a B Corp in 2019
B Impact score: 81.4

When they started Teapigs in London in 2009, cofounders Louise Cheadle and Nick Kilby (who had previously worked together at tea giant Tetley) had one clear mission: to get the nation drinking real tea again. After all, the British are known for their love of the stuff, but great quality tea wasn’t so accessible. Now, with a range of amazing teas from top quality leaves, and whole herbs, berries, spices and flowers to boot, they are proud of having stayed true to their values of quality and sustainability, of giving back to their tea communities and of ensuring Teapigs is a great place to work. “We know we have a responsibility to use our platform and product as a source of good,” says Louise. “Becoming a B Corp really cements all our work and ensures that we will continue to meet high standards in these areas.”

ADAM SMITH INTERNATIONAL

Consulting with care

Certified as a B Corp in 2019
B Impact score: 142.9

ASI is a UK-based global consultancy advising governments and businesses. ​The company has always been proud of the positive impact their work delivers, but when, in 2017, their sector faced criticism of its own practices, ASI decided to go through the B Corp assessment to look objectively at where they could improve. “Being a B Corp is the business version of ‘a little less conversation, a little more action please’,” says CEO Jalpa Patel. “Knowing that our promises have to be verified by a third party gives our work the credibility it deserves but also ensures that our employees, clients and beneficiaries know that we are serious about the impact we aim to achieve.”

 

Main photo of Celia Pool and Alec Mills, courtesy of Dame

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