A frequently asked question in my interviews and podcasts is, “How has being a B Corp benefitted you as a business?”
The intention of the question is to find out whether sales growth has occurred due to our position on sustainability and equality. My normal answer is to suggest to the interviewer that they are asking the wrong question. We are not doing this because of the benefit to us, we are putting people and planet before profit because it is the right thing to do.
Having said that, I normally go on to say that becoming a business whose main aim is to make the world a better place has helped us enormously in terms of recruiting better people, retaining the people we do have, aligning us around a purpose and generally creating fulfilment within the business. Happy people means productive people and, of course, that impacts on our growth, so the answer to the question is ‘yes’, although not in the way they usually mean.
During 2020 though, there was a shift. After five years of people asking what this strange thing called B Corp was, there was suddenly a greater awareness of what we and other companies like us stand for, and finally, new customers started talking to us because of our sustainability credentials. Pleasingly, we do stand out significantly from other wholesalers, still being the only one that talks about carbon reduction and alone in being carbon neutral.
This greater awareness will spread over the coming years, and others will have to follow, particularly if a soon-to-be-introduced private member’s bill comes into law. The Better Business Act will make it law for all businesses to have to exist for the benefit of all stakeholders rather than just their shareholders. Now if this goes through Parliament, which will take a while, that really would be a game-changer.
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