What it means to be B Corp certified
Who are Cyd Connects?
AC: We are three women who came together as we believed there must be a different way to do business. We support businesses on their sustainability journeys and we role model systems change, to encourage others to improve. This includes being a social enterprise ourselves. Our business model is designed to give, so we donate 10% of our time and 2% revenue to accelerating the UN Sustainability Development Goals. We also implemented a 4-day work week as we believe it is the future way of working.
We are B Leaders, which means we have been trained by B Lab UK (The not for profit behind B Corp) to guide businesses through the comprehensive and rigorous certification process.
What impact areas of a business do B Corp cover?
AC: People and the planet must be of equal, or higher, value than short-term profits. In this new paradigm, businesses that help all communities heal and thrive are rewarded. A stakeholder-centred economy is the triple bottom line in action, a system in which human and environmental well-being are essential. B Corp evaluates you by a points system covering the following key Impact Areas:
Who holds the power in your business? This section evaluates the ability of a company to protect their mission and to formally consider stakeholders in the decision making process through their corporate structure or corporate governing documents.
Are you employees being treated fairly? These questions evaluates a company’s contributions to its employees’ financial security, health & safety, wellness, career development, and engagement and satisfaction.
Community evaluates a company’s engagement with and impact on the communities in which it operates, hires from, and sources from. Topics include diversity, equity & inclusion, charitable giving, and supply chain management.
The planet is a stakeholder that we have historically exploited. This section evaluates your environmental footprint and identifies whether your company's product/service is designed to deliver a specific, material, positive environmental impact.
How are you serving your customers? This section identifies whether your company's product/service is designed to deliver a specific, material, positive impact for its customers (beyond the value normally provided from goods or services).
Scores from each section are added together to give you your total points. Businesses must score above 80 points to be evaluated for B Corp.
What were the most important Impact areas for Nature’s Journey as a business and what policies do you have in place for them?
LAW: That’s a really hard question to answer as, honestly, they are all equally important – and if you think about it, they all overlap. It’s an old adage, but there’s truth in the fact that if you look after your people, they’ll look after your customers, and the rest looks after itself.
From our point of view, it was most helpful to think about the governance areas, as that really does force you to think about the impact of your decision making – and the reality that you have to do what you say you’re going to do.
From a worker’s perspective, I think it also made us think about the new world we’re living in. The pandemic years taught us that businesses can be run from anywhere – as long as the trust, communication and tools are in place. It really made us think differently about what we needed to get started. We didn’t need to take some office space, we didn’t need to travel to meet with suppliers when we could use zoom instead, and it made us acutely aware of the importance of seeing the person beyond the 9-5.
We’ve implemented several policies that underpin our commitments to the impact areas such as sustainable packaging and design, single use plastics, supplier diversity, flexible working, charitable donations, and diversity, equality and inclusion. We’ve also established guidance around topics such as mental health awareness and women’s health. We’ve set up a regular forum where we review our impact against each of the policy areas, and identify any actions or improvements we need to make.
How has the B Corp process shaped your promises as a business for your stakeholders and your community and your customers?
LAW: I think the intentions were always there – we didn’t want to be just another brand selling another product to another customer. The B Corp process has helped us to formalise those intentions into tangible action plans. We have to be realistic – we’re just starting out, and our sales are modest at the moment, so we’re not going to be in a position to make large donations to community causes for a little while yet, but our promise to our customers – and to one another is that, together, we will leave the world in a better place than we found it.
How do Cyd Connects make B Corp accessible?
AC: We believe diversity and inclusion has everything to do with solving the climate crisis. And that’s because Einstein had it right when he said “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” It sums up perfectly why we need different thinking and participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic, and public life. However there are many historically marginalised groups who have been blocked from setting up businesses and making the much needed change. We offer group sessions quarterly as a cost effective way for businesses to go through the process. We also offer 40% equity discount if you are from a historically marginalised group – this includes women, people of colour, LGBTQIA+.
Do you recommend B Corp to other fledgling business owners?
LAW: I think that, very soon, consumers will be expecting brands to be B Corp, and so there’s an argument there I guess that if you’re just starting out, it’s best to be B Corp by design.
Having said that, like all certifications, there are also businesses that simply don’t have the resources to obtain certifications but are still doing some fantastic work. My advice would be that if B Corp isn’t for you at this time, it’s definitely worth letting your consumers (and broader stakeholders) know about the steps you’re taking.
From our experience, I would suggest that if you are considering it, you work with a B Corp expert such as Cyd Connects. They certainly made the process much easier for us – and they helped us understand how we might approach certain elements of our plan.
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