B Corp; what is it and what does it mean to UK industry?
Those of you with your fingers on the sustainability pulse will already be familiar with B Corp. But as more and more businesses sign up – as consumers become increasingly demanding of the environmental credentials of their supply chain – B Corp looks set to become the ‘Soil Association’ equivalent of British industry in the 21st Century.
The ‘fair trade’ badge of its generation
Over the years we have gotten use to badges on our food. From ‘Fair Trade’ to ‘Free Range’ the power of consumer choice has pushed even the biggest global fast food retailers to re-evaluate their food production techniques. What is new about B Corp is the fact that for the first time this type of certification is starting to gain traction amongst global businesses.
B Corp’s stated aim is to challenge businesses to be, not just the best in their field from a profitability perspective, but to achieve this whilst helping to solve the social and environmental problems caused by modern living.
Whether that is an industrial manufacturer going green or a business that helps its local community to develop skills – the B Corp badge seeks to identify and champion the change-makers in each sector.
And whereas many food suppliers would once have scoffed at such talk in their own industry, few now dismiss the powerful impact that consumer preference has had thanks to organisation such as Fair Trade and the Soil Association.
The message to British Businesses? Ignore the winds of change at your peril.
We are already seeing property and infrastructure companies reacting to this new shift in consumer behaviour. A sharp rise in demand for sustainable housing across Europe and the US is very likely to be behind this.
The faces behind the sustainability badge
“Our vision of the future is a world in which the purpose of business is to become a driving force for social, environmental and economic benefit. Our mission is to help develop a ‘Plan B’ that puts people and planet alongside profit.”
Does this really matter to British Business?
There’s no doubt that UK manufacturing and heavy industry are recognising the emerging importance of how sustainability credentials impact on their brand. Previously we may have heard CEO’s complain that the extra burden of cost associated with being a sustainable business, but not anymore.
With successful manufacturers’ like Apple aiming for carbon neutral production plants, anyone who isn’t on board risks sounding out-of-touch and stuck in the past to investors and shareholders alike.
To find out more about B Corp you can watch their video here or visit them at their website.
Lucinda O’Reilly, Exports & Marketing Director is an integral part of the team that has grown Ecotile Flooring in to the successful manufacturing business it is today. Over the last 20 years she has successfully employed her skills in sales and marketing to ensure Ecotile Flooring is recognised as the market leading manufacturer of PVC interlocking floor tiles. Lucinda’s love of travel means the Ecotile brand is dominant all over Europe, North America, the Middle East, Asia and India.
To ensure compliance with export regulations Lucinda has gained accreditations from the Chamber of Commerce in Incoterms & Export Licence Controls and Export Procedures & Documentation and has completed the Institute of Export course on Incoterms 2020. She is a member of the Institute of Export, was a finalist in the Natwest Open to Export competition in 2018 and was instrumental in Ecotile Flooring winning a Queen’s Enterprise for International Trade in 2017. Lucinda has recently been interviewed by BBC News and Channel 4 News for her insights on Brexit and is an Export Champion for the Department for International Trade.