B Corp Month: Practicing business the smart way
3 April 2023
“At the core of a business, must lie a purpose”, Jenny Costa, CEO, Rubies in the Rubble
Change Makers is about celebrating the campaigners, creators, connectors and contrarians who are driving business as a force for good – of which there is no better proof of than a B Corp certification. By amending their definition of “profit” and looking past the economic measurement of success, these businesses have been recognised as affecting real change.
B Corp month, which has just come to an end for another year, looks to celebrate businesses who are pursuing impact and going above and beyond to administer positive change. More than just a label – B Corp is a movement of people who recognise business as a powerful force for good and as a result, are changing the metrics of success.
A small part of this movement are some of our previous guests: Charmian Love, Founder, B Lab UK and Global Director of Advocacy, Natura &Co; Jason Knights, Managing Director, Ground Control; Jenny Costa, CEO, Rubies in the Rubble; Peter Flavel, CEO, Coutts; Mark Cuddigan, CEO, Ella’s Kitchen, as not only do they practice business the right way, but the smarter way.
Ripping up the rule book, Charmian Love
Taking care of the planet, or as Charmian calls it “our shared home”, has never been more critical. Businesses should be creating opportunities to innovate – acting as “vehicles for solution”. As Co-Founder of B Lab (UK), Charmian supported the growth of multiple B Corps and is committed to accelerating our transition to a more regenerative, circular and inclusive economy. This is work she has continued since taking on her role as Global Director of Advocacy for Natura &Co.
In love with the botanical, Greek term “helioptrophy”, which translates as “turning towards the sun” Charmian believes humans are not too dissimilar to plants, as “we grow taller, stronger and faster when we are motivated by things that are full of light, joy, warmth and security”. To move out of darker times, businesses must find light in a business purpose that holds profit, people and planet in equal importance.
Whilst there is still a long way to go, “there is a lot to be positive about” says Charmian – which as you will see from the businesses showcased in this article, rings exceptionally true.
Listen to Charmian’s episode here.
Ground Control: leaving the world a better place, Jason Knights
Ground Control noticed the increase in consumer demand to work with companies on a trajectory for change, and met it with vigour. It has the vision, drive and ambition to leave the world in a better place than we found it, by creating, maintaining and sustaining the physical environment – with a focus on biodiversity.
When it comes to business satisfaction, Ground Control equates capitalist value with environmental value. And not only does Managing Director Jason Knights and his teamtalk the talk, but they walk the walk – placing 5% of their profits into an evergreen fund, as well as investing in other sustainable businesses.
Jason wants to take the business above and beyond. Described as an “ecowarrior with a difference”, he has a going for growth mentality, that is reflected within his purposeful, restorative business practice. Jason acknowledges that the “desire to do the right thing” already exists globally, but that it hasn’t yet been sufficiently actioned. He believes if education around sustainability and biodiversity is raised – it will pressure more businesses to conduct themselves differently.
Listen to Jason Knights’ episode here.
Rubies in the Rubble: changing attitudes towards waste, Jenny Costa
Rubies in the Rubble is a sustainable food brand that sees wonder where others see waste. It produces award-winning condiments that use ingredients that would have otherwise been discarded, due to their size, shape or colour. As a result, the company has saved over 350,000 kg of fruits and vegetables, as well as almost 300,000kg of CO2 emissions. With products containing “double the fruit and half the sugar”, Rubies in the Rubble is not only procuring good health for our planet, but also for its consumers.
Our throw away culture and excessive food production has a detrimental effect on our environment as it requires an increase in water usage, deforestation and carbon footprint. CEO, Jenny Costa saw the “business case in food waste” and founded Rubies in the Rubble to ignite an attitude shift within developed countries.
Believing “brands have a huge role to play, but so do consumers”, Jenny tapped into her “glass overflowing” optimism and created a business that allows everyone to play a much needed role in the prevention of food waste. By producing a product that is good for the planet, profit, as well as people – Jenny defines smart business.
Listen to Jenny Costa’s episode here.
Coutts: redefining profit, Peter Flavel
Coutts is much more than a bank. Since 2016, it has doubled down on the purpose-driven spirit on which it built its reputation by accelerating its digital capabilities, extending its commitment to entrepreneurs and attaining a B Corp certification. Both internally and external, Coutts is impact driven.
It was under the leadership of CEO Peter Flavel that Coutts earned their certification. Knowing that “if you want to be the best, you have to continually change and evolve”, Peter continues to drive growth – even if it means going against the tide – to increase the bank’s impact on people and the planet.
With a “you haven’t seen anything yet” attitude, Peter is not only embarking Coutts on a continuous journey for growth, but he is signalling the need for global change within other banks and clients. We are facing a “systemic problem that we all have to solve”, says Peter, recognising the importance of moving forward, whilst simultaneously making sure others aren’t being left behind.
Listen to Peter Flavel’s episode here.
Ella’s Kitchen: encouraging responsible nutrition, Mark Cuddigan
With a “transformative presence in the market”, organic food company, Ella’s Kitchen is one of the UK’s most recognisable B Corps. With a mission to “lessen impact on the planet and increase the impact on people” it is a torchbearer for sustainable business practices. Built on the premise of trying to do the right thing by others, its “north star” is to improve the lives of children through responsible nutrition.
Mark Cuddigan, CEO, is a passionate advocate for business as a force for good. Understanding that “brands have a lot of responsibility, as consumers trust and respect them”, he holds Ella’s Kitchen’s product standards to the highest account, ensuring they result in impact as well as profit.
“We don’t need to wait for government legislation, businesses know what to do”, says Mark, arguing there is no excuse for companies to still execute business strategies that solely account for capital gains.
Listen to Mark Cuddigan’s episode here.