Insights from the B Corps

Insights from the B Corps

26th April 2021 by Michaela Salomon

When investing, your capital is at risk. 

The B Corp community is over 3,900 companies-strong, spanning 74 countries worldwide. They’re innovators and hustlers, working in 150 industries to build safer communities, healthier environments, and a more sustainable future.

There are nine B Corps in the Seedrs portfolio and what they all share, other than a sustainability certification, is something in the very fabric of their corporate culture that drives a unified vision for transparency, accountability and socioeconomic wellbeing; they’re committed to making the world a better place. 

We sat down with plant-based brand allplants, crowdfunding platform for impact investing Lendahand, sustainable home products brand The Cheeky Panda, and impact investment platform Abundance Investment to find out what it really means to be a B Corp. 

What does it mean to be a B Corp? 

🌱 Bruce Davis, co-founder of Abundance Investment

“B Corp status is about ensuring a company’s purpose is instilled in the daily activities and decisions required to run a sustainable and profitable business. We’re in the business of financing sustainability, so we consider carefully how different investment opportunities will contribute to that purpose. This guides us in our due diligence but also in the way we organise and run our office and teams. 

We’re driven to help people mobilise their money to accelerate the transition to carbon neutrality in the UK, which will hopefully be before the 2050 target set out in UK legislation. That’s a huge mission that will require billions of pounds invested in infrastructure and new technologies. We need to be mindful of the potential social and economic impacts of the transition to NetZero and how those can be mitigated. We see our role as providing alternative means to fund these projects so that the financial rewards are spread more inclusively and equitably across the population.”

🌱 Jonathan Petrides, Founder of allplants

Since the outset of allplants, our whole reason for existence (and why we cook with passion since day one) is to inspire the planet to eat more plants; because quite simply a world running on a plant-based food system could cut our food carbon footprint by ~75% globally, a humongous step in averting the climate disaster we’re in the jaws of. That would be massive for humanity and all living beings on planet Earth, and it starts with taking the compromise out of such a big personal change, and putting the flavour and delight back into what you enjoy eating everyday.

As we decided to raise angel and then venture capital to fuel our allplants’ movement’s rapid growth, becoming a B-Corp was a really important ballast in maturing our values into the company’s fabric for the long-term. The legally-embedded B-Corp triple bottom-line helps well-intentioned founders bring on board like-minded investors who understand that we are about using business as a force for good and that we’ve engineered that into the heart of how we do everything at allplants.”

🌱 Chris Forbes, Founder of The Cheeky Panda

“B Corp is the gold standard for sustainable and ethical corporations. It was an incredibly hard certification to achieve, so we know we are in a select group of companies that have purpose at their centres. There is a lot of greenwashing out there and there are no cheat codes for B Corp. 

Most of our Pandas joined us because we are a B Corp and sustainable business; it’s part of our DNA so we don’t need to remind each other of that mission every day in the same way a professional services firm might have to. Our B Corp certification is a badge of honour and has enabled us to join a global community of like-minded entrepreneurs who all share ideas and trade with one another.

The bigger we get, the greater impact we can have, and we’ve learned to measure that impact. To date we’ve saved hundreds of thousands of trees that would have been used for toilet tissue, we want to make that 1 million, and then 5 million. These are huge numbers with massive global impact that can help make the world a better place.”

🌱 Lucas Weaver, Head of Growth at Lendahand

“Lendahand’s mission has always been fighting poverty. Most of our employees are impact-driven people with diverse passions and experience which really helps drive that mission. We want to make the world a more equal place, not only from an economic standpoint, but from a sustainability standpoint. In the last few years, our portfolio has been diversified with companies in the clean energy and water sanitation sector. 

It’s great to be part of the B Corp network alongside like-minded companies who really want to do business differently. B Corp’s slogan is “B the Change”, which really feels like you are part of a family, and a growing force for change. Being a B Corp means trying to live up to that logo on our website, and making sure we do everything we can to make a real impact that lasts.

Our CEO Koen always says “one day impact investing is just going to be called investing”. We really hope that impact investing will become the norm for all investments – seeking the highest financial return but also the highest social returns, to create the kind of sustainability, empowerment, and equality that benefits everyone involved.”

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to aspiring B Corps, or companies looking to incorporate sustainability into their business models?

🌱 Bruce Davis, Abundance Investment: 

“Decide what your purpose is – the value you create for society. Then, you can start thinking about your function – what you do and how you’re going to do it.”

🌱 Jonathan Petrides, allplants: 

“It doesn’t matter what sector you are in, there’s positive change to make in every industry. Go hunting for those neglected negative externalities and you’ll be amazed at how creative you and your team will get at solving the wasteful, destructive and irresponsible business as usual norms and flipping them into something you, your team and your customers will be proud to be part of.”

🌱 Chris Forbes, The Cheeky Panda

“Modern consumers want to support companies with purpose and sustainability at the heart of what they do. Simply being price competitive isn’t enough any more, and it’s not a fun bracket to be in. Work toward a sustainable world where people think about the long term and do things for the right reason, because what’s not to love about that?”

🌱 Lucas Weaver, Lendahand

“We’re still learning about how we can lower our own carbon footprint and the type of impact we want to make. Sometimes a commitment to impact means having to make tough decisions, but ultimately having the difficult conversations helps you grow as a company.”

Michaela Salomon

Michaela Salomon

Campaign Support Team

Digital Agency Kent