Navigating the B Corp process and gaining accreditation

Navigating the B Corp process and gaining accreditation 1

The YF Community hosts a range of events for its members, often providing  bite-sized advice on how to tackle and navigate timely issues facing the FMCG industry.

In this session, James Ghaffari, Director of Growth & Product at B Corp and business sustainability specialist, Daisy Lavington, spoke to the YF Community about the B Corporation Movement and how to navigate the process and gain accreditation, as a FMCG SME.

Here is a quick overview of B Corp’s mission and process, along with some top tips when beginning the certification journey: 

What is the objective of B Corp?

B Corp is trying to harness the immense power of businesses to help address society’s greatest challenges. The goal is to build a more inclusive, regenerative economy and implement a systemic change across all business sectors.

How does change happen?

In order for such a big shift to happen, we need to recognise that we are currently experiencing a systemic failure:

  • 76% of global wealth is held by 10% of the global population.

  • There has been a 70% decrease in worldwide animal population in the last 50 years.

  • 300 million tonnes of plastic wastes are produced every year.

According to a B Corp Lab poll, 72% of people believe that businesses should have a legal responsibility to the planet.

Once we have identified where we need to change, B Corp can offer a viable alternative to help make businesses shift their approach.

How do we know which businesses are accredited by B Corp?

  • Increasingly we are seeing B Corporations use the stamp to enable a shorthand with their customers, signposting their sustainability journey.

  • More retailers are also using the stamp to inform customers on how to make value aligned purchases. Waitrose, WHSmith and Ocado have also carefully curated a B Corp aisle.

So, what does the B Corp certification process look like?

The process has two stages:

  • A performance requirement
    Companies have to make sure they are achieving a certain level of social and environmental performance and they have to make a legal commitment. If you are a limited company, you need to make an amendment to show you are committed to all stakeholders rather than just shareholders.

  • B Impact Assessment
    This enables a company to measure and improve their impact across sustainability. The test covers: governance, community, supply chain, environmental impact and employees too.

    It is a wide ranging and comprehensive assessment. Even if companies are not looking for accreditation, it is a useful tool to help generate ideas for policies and practices to improve your sustainability impact moving forward.

Top tips for the B Impact Assessment

Choose the correct assessment

  • Make sure you select the right version for your business. There are hundreds of different variations of the assessment depending on the industry, size and country you are based in. Making sure you are answering the right questions is incredibly important both for the accreditation process but also in terms of its benefit to your business.

  • F&B companies will either be a wholesale retail company or a manufacturing company.

  • Make sure you choose wholesale if you procure all of your products from third party suppliers and you do not manufacture anything in house. Choose manufacturing if you manufacture your own products internally.

  • Select the correct version when you set up your account. Do not worry, if you go wrong  you can update the track later, but it will be far less work if you make sure you have selected the right track from the start. This is really important if you enter the review process to be certified by B Corp.

Useful tools

  • You can bookmark questions which you want to return to at a later date.

  • You are able to set goals to improve your answer to certain questions. This goal setting is a handy feature for employees to feel accountable to make changes with a set date in mind.

  • You can download an Excel version of the B Impact assessment. It makes it far easier to create a collaborative document for various employees to answer. You can then re-upload it after.

B Corp is a community

Remember, B corp has a certification at its core, but it is also a movement that is trying to change the status quo across the entire economy. This is a journey that you are taking with many other brands; think collaboratively, and do not be afraid to ask questions on how others improved or overcame challenges. 

Are you on your own B Corp journey or are you thinking about starting your application? 

The YF Community hosts an array of B Corp events and masterclasses providing SMEs with all the information they need, alongside Sustainability & B Corp network mixers where fellow brands meet and discuss their own challenges and experiences. 

Learn more about the YF Community here.

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