x+why launch 'Why B Programme' with B Lab UK at flagship flexible workspace in Whitechapel

Today we are launching our Why B Programme, with our first cohort of 17 businesses, and we could not be more proud to be playing a pivotal role in supporting them on their journey towards ‘better business’.

The programme is a collaboration with x+why member, B Lab UK, a nonprofit that serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good, through initiatives such as B Corp certification.  Over the next two months, our 17 participants will be guided and supported as they complete the B Impact Assessment.

This is the most credible and rigorous tool a company can use to measure it’s impact.  It is a series of questions, which help them to learn how to build a better business - for their workers, community, and the environment . The Assessment is a powerful business planning tool and useful lens through which to look at your company - whether you plan to apply for certification or not. 

Patagonia logo
The Assessment provided a mechanism for Patagonia to conduct a comprehensive assessment of our current social and environmental programs
— Elissa Loughman Patagonia
Etsy Logo
The biggest surprise to me was realizing that our employees deeply cared about the things the B Impact Assessment measured
— Jennifer McKaig Etsy
The Assessment revealed that we were engaged in many positive practices but that there was much room for improvement in almost every area
— Frank Carpenito Dancing Deer Baking Company

Over the course of the programme four sessions will be led by trained B leaders and dedicated trainees, and will give attendees the opportunity to understand their impact, improve it, and create long term impact within their company, as well as meet and network with like-minded businesses and CEOs.  They will cover the four key sections of the Assessment; 

  1. Governance 

  2. Environment 

  3. Workers 

  4. Community 

In this first cohort, we have a huge variety of participants, from confectionary innovators, to Hedge Funds, and Architects.  Motivations for signing up to the Programme, vary from simply getting over the line with their B Corp application, to finding inspiration from like-minded peers.  Most have highlighted Governance and Environment as being key areas for focus. 

Karma Cola are one of 17 participants in our first cohort.

x+why member, ARTIQ, are also a founding participant of the Programme

Dr Mark Turner, Managing Drirector and Educational and Child Psychologist from Real Group describes his motivation for signing up; 

“I had a look at the B Corporation Certification process and it is intriguing... but it was too much to think about on my own and so I am looking forward to both having to do it (having dates in the diary is always a good motivator) and meeting new colleagues who share similar values I hope will also be inspiring. As the majority business owner, I'm looking for a structure like B Corp to provide a framework for growing the business within a 'good for people' framework”

In the first session of the Programme today, participants will be working through ‘Governance’, which assesses a businesses accountability and transparency, with questions such as:

  • What portion of your management is evaluated in writing on their performance with regard to corporate social and environmental targets? 

  • Does the company have a formal process to share financial information (except salary info) with its full-time employees?

  • Has the Company worked within its industry to develop social and environmental standards for your industry?

  • Have you ensured that the social or environmental mission of your company will be maintained over time, regardless of company ownership

Whilst the aim of the Programme is not solely to help with B Corp certification itself, the accreditation has attracted the eye of the media in recent months.  This comes in the wake of August’s Business Roundtable, in which executives, including leaders of Apple and JPMorgan Chase, announced that they that they are redefining the purpose of the corporation to work towards ending shareholder primacy, and creating a 'fundamental commitment to all stakeholders'.

 This declaration broke with decades of long-held corporate orthodoxy, and marked an undeniable sea-change in the way that businesses, old and new, are thinking about their people and the planet, as well as their profits.

Andrew Kassoy, the co-founder of B Lab, said the BRT statement had been a “moment to celebrate”.

And this seachange is not just rhetoric and anecdote that businesses can choose to overlook. Yes, it may take some time for the Business Roundtable to act on their promise, but the positive affects of doing so are already evident by recent B Corp research.   It is estimated that B Corp certified businesses grow more quickly than their non-certified counterparts. In February 2018, year-on-year data showed that UK B Corps grew at a rate of 14% compared to the country’s GDP growth rate of 0.5%, which suggests customers are actively choosing to spend more money with ethical businesses.

Click here to find out more about the Programme, and register your interest in becoming part of our next cohort.