B Corp Month: What is a B Corp and Why Is It Good for Business? – Talking Tables UK Trade

B Corp Month: What is a B Corp and Why Is It Good for Business?

Posted by on

Happy B Corp month! At Talking Tables we're celebrating our status as a proud B Corp for the month of March!

B Corporation is a global movement of businesses committed to doing good for people and the planet. The movement has grown rapidly over recent years and there are now more than 8,000 certified B Corps worldwide.

And if you’ve never heard of it, your customers are sure to have: the UK is the second biggest B Corp community after the USA and Canada – with London the B Corp capital of the world. Boasting more than 700 certified businesses, it’s home to more B Corps than any other city worldwide.

B Corp certification means a business has undergone a rigorous process with B Lab (which runs B Corp) to verify and improve its practices across five key categories: governance, workers, community, environment, and customers.

Talking Tables became B Corp certified in 2022, and last month we were invited to take part in a panel discussion at Spring Fair about how and why we decided to go through the journey.

In this Q & A, our Director of Supply Chain, Daniel Fagan, was joined by B Lab’s Hana Kidy, and Louisa Mordaunt – founder of B Corp certified recruitment company, I Love My Job – to discuss the process and what becoming certified meant to us as a brand.

Read on for tips on how and why becoming a B Corp can give your business a competitive advantage…

Louisa Mordaunt, Hana Kidy and Daniel Fagan at the Spring Fair B Corp discussion

Pictured l-r: Louisa Mordaunt from I Love My Job; Hana Kidy from B Lab; Daniel Fagan from Talking Tables 

Q: Why did you pursue B Corp certification and how long did it take?

Daniel: We were doing a lot in sustainability in general – most of it product based. We were removing plastic from product and packaging, we were FSC certified and so on, but we wanted to take it to the next level.

We looked at various assessments like Investors in People, and the Ethical Trading Initiative but the reason we were attracted to B Corp was because it was so holistic, covering workers, environment, customers, governance and community. And we could run it all the way through our supply chain.

The great thing about B Corp is it gives you that framework. We knew what we wanted to do, but we didn’t necessarily know how we were going to get there. Through B Corp’s  impact assessment report and being able to answer its questions, we were able to identify areas we could improve.

The process took 18 months.

Louisa: It took our company three years, and the reason I wanted to do it was everyone knows the reputation recruitment companies have. It’s a terrible reputation and I completely get that. We’re trying to make positive change not just to society but to the reputation of the recruitment industry.

I did it to have that seal of approval, by having B Corp certification, people know you’re using your business as a force for good.

We also wanted to create a culture that gives people a feeling of purpose. B Corp was huge in that – it meant every little thing was broken down and that we could be the best that we could be.

Q: You both scored highly for community, can you explain how you did so?

Daniel: One of the most important things for us was to take suppliers on the journey from the very beginning. We did a lot of this through collaboration and engagement. There are things in the supply chain that we do not control but we can make change through collaboration.

The B Corp assessment allowed us to open up those conversations and then communicate them with our suppliers and customers.

We have a supplier conference every two years and we used the most recent as a platform to focus on sustainability. The last one was in October and we held a panel of suppliers who discussed solar panels.

Talking Tables supplier conference in China with people waving

Talking Tables Supplier Conference 2023, Shanghai

Just to have them sitting together and talking about their experiences, how they implemented them and their contacts was so valuable. We don’t just talk to our suppliers we get them talking to each other. We now have three using solar panels.

Our next step is an independent environmental audit - an idea that came from B Corp.

We could only achieve progress if we have long term relationships with suppliers, which is something B Corp encourages.

Louisa: Our community score is high largely because of our diversity, equality and inclusion practices. While we only have 10 people in the team, we invested in having a people and culture manager. It’s worth the money as it means we have that person internally who’s putting people first.

We’re 100% female-owned and don’t have investors.

Our Brand Impact Manager and People and Culture Manager are both from underrepresented social groups – they both joined in junior admin roles and we invested in them to ensure they progressed to that level.

We also like to be very inclusive in hiring, for example we don’t insist that people have been to university.

Q: What opportunities and benefits has being certified had on your business?

Daniel: Hiring talent has been a big part of it. With several people who have come for interview, a big part of the reason they’ve chosen Talking Tables is because we’re a B Corp and they’re actively seeking to work for one. So, it’s great to see the movement is being recognised.

Talking Tables staff members celebrating Diwali

Staff members at Talking Tables' Diwali celebrations

Secondly, it’s continuous improvement. Once you become a B Corp it doesn’t stop there. You have to continually challenge yourself.

The assessment allows you to go back in and change your answers to questions to see how it improves your score. On an annual basis we go back into the assessment. We’ll spot things we want to improve on.

Thirdly, team engagement. Through what we do we’ve touched every area of the business; whether it’s volunteering, our community work or introducing new procedures and policies, everyone in the business is a part of that. We do a monthly update at a senior level about what we’ve been doing and report back to the business.

Louisa: It’s definitely the B Corp community for me. I underestimated how the businesses come together. For example, when it came to changing our articles of association I didn’t know what was involved. A top legal firm came to us and said they would do it for free. Everyone is open to helping everyone out and puts the time in to help other people. This has been a huge benefit to us.

Q: What’s the one tip you’d give a company entering on the journey?

Louisa: The impact assessment is free. You can go and download it now and fill it out. Even if you don’t want to then go through to doing the full assessment and apply for certification, you have a benchmark to tell you what the best practice is in every area of your business.

You can find out more B Corporation here.

Other stories to explore

Earth Day: 40,000 Trees

Earth Day: 40,000 Trees

We’ve planted 40,000 trees!  As a purpose-led business and B-Corp we take our responsibilities towards people and the planet very seriously. That’s why this Earth Day, we’re incredibly proud to an...
Read more
Clare Harris: Keeping the Table Talking for 25 Years

Clare Harris: Keeping the Table Talking for 25 Years

“I love bringing people together. So, what I was doing socially, with a table at the heart, is what I tried to do commercially," says Talking Tables’ founder, Clare Harris. She’s reflecting on the ...
Read more
March News & Easter In-Store Inspo

March News & Easter In-Store Inspo

We have been focusing on B Corp Month, and a new merchandising POS display with a brand new retailer. Meanwhile, stockists have been celebrating spring with our bestselling Easter collection.
Read more
Back to the top