Step One: We have committed to becoming a B Corp company.
The aim of this series of stories is to share our journey towards becoming a B Corp, which will continue after we achieve certification as we work to improve our scores every three years. It’s easy enough to find companies who are already B Corp certified, and doing it well, but not so easy to learn about the journey to become certified, and the challenges faced along the way. These blog posts aim to change that.
I am Laura, I joined Honeywell Biscuit Co. in March as an Environment and Sustainability Agent, and one of my very first tasks was to begin our B Corp Journey. Our founder, Rebecca (also my sister!), had first heard about B Corp companies such as COOK and Abel and Cole via Holly Tucker’s podcast Conversations of Inspiration. Inspired to learn more, Rebecca researched becoming a B Corp and tentatively started to hope that we could gain certification, although it seemed a distant, unachievable goal at first.
What is B Corp Certification?
A B Corp company is one that balances three goals, with profit being equally as import as people and the planet. Their aim is to become a force for good that combines great business with accountability and less environmental impact. B Corp companies strive for transparency in their work, and legal accountability means that they balance profit and purpose.
“B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.”https://bcorporation.net/about-b-corps
On the road to B Corp Certification, we’ll need to navigate meaningful changes within five areas – Governance, Workers, Community, Environment and Customers.
To begin the journey, we needed to analyse and scrutinise every aspect of our business, and quite frankly, once you scratch the surface it can seem overwhelming at first: we are still very much at the beginning of the process and realised within days that we needed to make a list and prioritise items in a methodical, step by step process.
Change Is A Good Thing
The very first thing was to set up hot compost bins on site – now all our food waste goes in the Hotbin, and within a few months we will have compost that people will be able to take home to use in their gardens and allotments. We have started to collect crisp packets to take to specific recycling sites when we have a big enough stash, and staff are encouraged to bring their crisp packets in from home as well.
High on the priority list is to tackle is plastic that we send out. All of our packaging is compostable and/or recyclable, but we are very conscious that we send out grip seal bags in our baking kits that are likely to end up in landfill. Although they can be recycled, they cannot be put out with household recycling, and we know many people might not know how to recycle them, or have the time to do so (they can be recycled with carrier bags in most supermarkets).
We are in the process of trialling fully compostable alternatives to plastic bags, that actually do break down into plant matter rather than micro plastics. It is surprising that UK manufacturers are not shouting about what they can do in terms of more sustainable packaging, but digging deep on the internet (combined with a compostable bag in an Abel & Cole delivery) has led to some very exciting leads on fully compostable grip seal bags. We are in the process of testing these with various ingredients, and we are confident that in the near future our packaging will be completely plastic free. The cost of the bags will be considerably higher than the current plastic ones, however the environmental benefits make it well worth it.
To achieve certification, we will be graded and scored based on the five areas mentioned above. To be considered for certification we need to score at least 80 points on our B-Impact Assessment. Certification is not the end goal – it will take a lot of work to get there but once we are certified, we will continue to improve, to adapt, and to do everything we can to ensure we prioritise the three Ps equally: People, the Planet and Profit.