B Corp certification for Business West in recognition of its stance to ‘pursue purpose as well as profit’

October 7, 2021

Business West, the region’s largest business group, has been certified as a B Corporation, joining an elite, forward-looking global community that balances profit with people and the planet.

The B Corp movement encourages organisations to take an ethical approach to business to make a positive difference in the world. 

To gain its certification, businesses must meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability while aspiring to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems.

Business West, which runs the Swindon & Wiltshire Initiative, said its carbon neutral target, Living Wage Foundation accreditation, Transparency in Supply Chains reporting and involvement in the BeOnBoard diversity initiative were key factors that enabled it to pass the rigorous certification process and reach the benchmark score.

The process addresses the entirety of a business’s operations across five key impact areas – governance, workers, community, environment and customers.

Business West managing director Phil Smith said: “We’re delighted to join a growing community of businesses globally pursuing purpose as well as profit.

“At the core of our mission is sustainable and inclusive growth of the region, which prioritises quality of life for those who live, work and learn here.

“B Corp certification provides a roadmap of how we as a business can continue to improve and encourage others to join us so that we have a greater impact in the region that we serve.”

Around 4,000 businesses globally have certified as B Corps, with more than 400 in the UK, including The Guardian media group, ethical drinks firm innocent, clothing brand Patagonia, The Body Shop and organic food pioneers Abel & Cole.

South West B Corps include sustainable outdoor clothing firm Finisterre, Chipping Sodbury-based Hobbs House Bakery and Stroud Brewery, which produced an organic pale ale to help Business West celebrate its B Corp status, pictured

Stroud Brewery managing director Greg Pilley said he believed all businesses should try for B Corp certification.

“My advice would be jump in there and register. It costs nothing to start working your way through the questions,” he said.

“There is a lot of emphasis on carbon and climate, and alongside that people and biodiversity.

“People must change their behaviour and move from measuring success purely on profit and GDP, to also measure the quality of life.”

Chris Turner, executive director of B Lab UK, the organisation that certifies B Corps, added: “This is a movement of companies that are committed to changing how business operates and believe business really can be a force for good.

“Business West is going to be a fantastic addition to the community and will continue driving the conversation forward with its thousands of clients and members.

“Business is a powerful force and B Corps demonstrate that you can do good in any sector. Welcoming Business West is an exciting moment – it works with 20,000 businesses across South West England and plays a leading role in enabling the economy of the region to grow sustainably with inclusion at its core.

“We, and the rest of the B Corp community, are really pleased to support Business West in paving the way for a new way of doing things.”

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