Zoë Scorer, Deputy Managing Director at Conscious Communications, explains how and why the Cambridge-based PR agency achieved B Corp status. This much sought-after accreditation is only awarded to companies which can prove their business is a force for good.
In May 2023 our company – Conscious Communications – certified as a B Corporation (B Corp), joining a growing community of progressive companies reinventing business by pursuing purpose.
The global B Corp movement focuses on placing stakeholders at the heart of all businesses, harnessing their position to transform the role of business in society to make sure that it works for all people and the planet. There are now 1,500 UK B Corps, a 50% growth in less than a year which highlights the considerable momentum of this movement.
B Lab is the not-for-profit behind the B Corp movement which carries out the certification process; every company that pursues B Corp certification goes through a rigorous assessment, which will vary in scope dependent on the type and size of business.
For example, a product-led company will have many different processes and supply chains to assess compared to a service business like ours, a PR and marketing agency.
However, all companies must undertake a series of steps including a disclosure questionnaire and using the Legal Requirement Tool to determine how your company can integrate stakeholder consideration into your governance structure, which will depend on your location and corporate structure. A one-off submission fee (£250 + VAT) is payable when you submit your company for certification and certification fees are paid annually based on your company’s annual sales.
The B Corp certification addresses the entirety of a business’ operations and covers five key impact areas of Governance, Workers, Community, Environment and Customers. The process is demanding, with applicants required to reach a benchmark score of over 80 while providing evidence of socially and environmentally responsible practices.
On average most companies score between 80 and 90 points the first time they certify; Conscious Communications scored 101.2. To complete the certification, we have legally embedded our commitment to purpose beyond profit in our company articles of association.
We chose to pursue becoming a B Corp because it validates our commitment to changing how business operates and aligns closely with our mission to be a force for good.
We first came across B Corp almost five years ago and completed our first B Impact Assessment in June 2020. The B Impact Assessment describes itself as: the most credible tool a company can use to measure its impact on its workers, community, environment, and customers.
We knew we already did so many great things – for our people, for our clients, for our community and much more but we needed to measure our impact. Fast forward two years and we were ready to submit our first full assessment in March 2022.
After 12 months+ of verification and evidence gathering, we were certified on 2 May 2023. From our supply chain to our charitable giving and employee benefits, B Corp certification proves our business is meeting the highest standards of verified performance.
B Corp Certification doesn’t just prove where our company excels now – it commits us to consider stakeholder impact for the long term by building it into our company’s legal structure. Companies also recertify every three years; therefore it is a continuous journey of improvement with a commitment to producing an Impact Report each year. Certification has also served as a catalyst for conversations with our suppliers and clients alike on improving social and environmental impacts.
Thinking first about the impact our work will have and second about the impact on our own bottom line has been at the core of our business operations since our inception, so this is a huge milestone in our company’s story.
Going through the B Corp process was lengthy and intense; it is a testament to our unwavering commitment to ethical and sustainable business practices that we have scored as highly as we have. The B Corp accreditation is validation that our business has been, is and will continue to do well by doing good.