March is “B-Corp Month”, a time to recognise brands which strive towards a high standard of sustainability. This year’s theme is “Behind the B”. It’s an opportunity to reflect and ask ourselves some important questions. What’s our motivation? What does it mean to achieve B Corp certification? And is the whole concept still important in 2022?
Look around, and the importance of sustainable business practices is growing. Both for customers and your own team, how a brand conducts itself is a reason to back it or bin it, and this can be seen in how UK retailers are embracing B Corp month. Waitrose is showcasing its range of B Corp products across 187 stores, and continuing to promote its online B Corp shop. WHSmith will be signposting its range in 65 station stores, and March will see the opening of a dedicated B Corp shop in the heart of Soho called “Good News”.
This makes B Corps matter more than ever and I’m proud that Dash features in these activations. But it’s important not to enter an echo chamber on the issue of sustainability. I was recently speaking to a major retailer outside the UK, for example, and they mentioned how B Corp was simply not something on their radar. They would continue to be ‘led by the consumer’, and not go out of their way to provide more sustainable choices to their customers unless they felt it necessary.
Brands and retailers have a shared responsibility to explain about sustainability to consumers, and offer more sustainable options as standard. That said, it can be hard for retailers to take the first step, especially if they fear losing competitive advantage.
Brands, then, should lead by example. At Dash, the banner of sustainability is one which the whole team rallies behind, from our annual challenge of only eating wonky fruit and veg for a week, to the day to day of sharing the responsibility for meeting our targets. I know that for many B Corps, the certification is a major boon when it comes to hiring, corporate governance, and internal communications, too.
A piece of paper is not why we hold ourselves to high sustainability values. Instead, the values we hold can sometimes be recognised by others. But as brands, our voice carries weight, and as part of our sustainability journey we have a duty to bring others on board. This month, it’s worth remembering that.