What does it mean to become a B Corp?

By Edward Hanrahan, CEO, ClimateCare

 

Last month, ClimateCare became a Certified B Corporation. The B Corp movement might not be something you’ve heard about yet, but it is helping to highlight the opportunity businesses have to deliver positive impacts – for communities, health, environment, economic empowerment etc., as well as profits. B Corp has most of its fast growing member base in the United States, but it is now starting to gather momentum internationally too – So what does it mean for ClimateCare and UK business?

ClimateCare’s CEO Edward Hanrahan explains.

 

What is a B Corp?

 

The B Corporation movement was born in the US. Responsible corporations wanted to redefine success in business, and the B Corp movement was born.

Unlike traditional companies, B-Corps are required to consider the impact of their decisions not only for shareholders, but also for their stakeholders – their staff, suppliers, customers and the wider community and environment.

This is not an ‘add on’ activity. B Corps must incorporate a sustainable approach into their organisation’s DNA and legal framework and are assessed and scored upon this each year.

 

How do you become a B Corp?

 

To become a Certified B Corp you need to undergo a rigorous assessment and meet a high standard of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability.

B Lab UK, the non-profit organisation that supports the community of B Corps, uses the online B Impact Assessment to score businesses from 0 to 200. A minimum score of 80 must be met before certification is awarded and scores are openly published on the B Corporation website.

Initial certification is just the start. What I think is most exciting about the process is that you have the ability to assess and benchmark your performance against others and see where you can continue to improve. And each spring there is a Best for World ranking, where the top performing B Corps are identified and acknowledged.

 

What does it mean for ClimateCare?

 

‘Be the Change’ is the strapline of the B Corporation and leading by example is something that we at ClimateCare firmly believe in.

For 18 years, the team at ClimateCare has been the change. We’ve been doing things differently, constantly seeking new and innovative ways to deliver positive impacts, cost effectively. When we find a formula or model that works, we then seek to replicate that – allowing us to work with leading businesses and governments around the world to deliver integrated Climate+Care projects that both protect the environment and improve lives at scale. Our B Corp score reflects this track record and is a testament to all the hard work put in by the team here over the years.

As well as our innovative project development work, we’ve created new ways to structure finance for impact, bringing public and private sectors together and developing combinations of upfront finance and payment on delivery of specified results – for example for agreed health outcomes or the amount of carbon reduced.

The Climate+Care approach we’ve created allows us to deliver multiple outcomes through a single programme. This brings great cost efficiencies and is regularly described by our clients as a ‘no-brainer’.

So where does B Corp come in? Our new certification is important for a number of reasons. For nearly two decades ClimateCare has demonstrated how to profitably deliver Social and Environmental Impact at scale. The evidence is there. But, outside our network of corporate and government partners, we’ve always felt a bit of a lone voice.

Achieving B Corp certification gives an official status to our operating model. And, it brings us together with a community of businesses who share our views and support our Profit for Purpose model. It also, provides us, for the first time, with benchmarks from other organisations who are equally committed to delivering positive impacts, without compromising commercial viability.

 

B Corp network photoClimateCare is proud to have become a Certified B Corporation, joining a global movement dedicated to using business as a force for good.

 

What next?

 

We’re seeing growing demand for our services from the US, where the B Corporation brand is already well recognised as a stamp of assurance for partners that we are the type of organisation they want to do business with.

And, as the brand becomes better known in the UK, we’ll be encouraging our business clients and partners to find out more about B Corporations and consider adopting some of the principles.

It’s not necessary to become a fully Certified B Corp to start making a difference. For a start, there’s a free B Impact Assessment Tool online, that any businesses can use to assess and compare their performance. And there’s a great network of support for businesses that want to improve their performance and take the step to certification.

As the B Corporation movement launches officially in the UK in September, I hope that we can help raise awareness of the power that UK business holds to address social and environmental issues. And of course, ClimateCare is well positioned to help companies moving towards B Corporation status, deliver on their social and environmental promises – be that helping them meet carbon reduction and climate neutrality targets, greening their energy supply or building Climate+Care projects to protect the environment and improve lives within their key markets and supply chains.

 

To find out about ClimateCare call +44(0)1865 591000 or visit www.climatecare.org

To see ClimateCare’s B Corp profile visit http://www.bcorporation.net/community/climatecare

To find out more about B Corporations visit www.bcorporation.uk

 

 

Edward has managed ClimateCare’s development since 2007 providing financial rigour and strategic direction across all activities. Edward works closely with our in-country teams to structure finance and strategic partnerships for our global sustainable development projects. He advises banks, international development finance institutions and governments to help enable sustainable development at scale.