What is a B Corp? Meet the brands of the future

Step into the world of B Corps, from what they are to how they work, plus a few you should know about.

Honest
Anna Jones
Fri Dec 22 2023
Impact

Chances are, you’ve seen the B Corp logo on packaging, ads and social media. You know it’s a good thing, but you might not be totally sure why or what it means. If that’s you, you’ve come to the right blog.

But before we dive into B Corps and what they are, let's look at the bigger picture.

The way we shop is changing.

Sounds a bit dramatic, but it’s true — it’s not just about the product anymore. Whether you’re looking for a new top or a bar of chocolate, there’s a good chance you’re thinking about more than the price tag.

Because you’ve probably seen the news about fast fashion and similar businesses in recent years. You know that the bigger a business grows, the larger its potential impact on the planet. Bigger factories mean more raw materials and more emissions.

But from “B Corp” to “Carbon negative” to “Responsibly sourced”, there are so many eco-friendly phrases it can feel hard to keep up. Especially with all the stories of company greenwashing flying about.

The good news is we’re here to separate the cardboard from the tetra pak.

By the end of this blog, you’ll know:

Ready? Let’s dive in.

What is a B Corp?

Bear with us while we get our dictionary out here 🤓

The official definition of a B Corporation is a company that displays “high social and environmental performance”. Organisation and certification is managed by B Lab, a non-profit network set up in Pennsylvania in 2006.

Unlike traditional corporations that are all about making their shareholders money, B Corps are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on more than profit. They must also consider how their actions will affect employees, customers, the community, and the environment.

What does the B Corp certification process involve?

Getting B Corp status isn’t a walk in the park. In fact, most businesses earn their certification on their second or third attempt. So when you see that B Corp logo, know that the brand behind it has worked hard to get there.

Becoming B Corp certified takes around six months and involves a *lot* of paperwork. (Trust us, we’ve got the logo to prove it.)

This certification process, known as the B Impact Assessment, looks at a company in the following areas:

💼 Governance: what’s the company’s mission? How clearly do they communicate this?

👷 Workers: what’s it like to work at the company? What perks do employees get?

🤲 Community: is the company’s hiring process fair and diverse? Are they involved with charities?

🌍 Environment: what impact does this company have on the environment? How are they trying to improve this?

🏆 Customers: are the company’s product and marketing processes ethical?

Once a company completes the B Impact assessment, they get a final score. A score above 80 earns that shiny B Corp status. A score below 80 gets a “sorry, try again next time”.

The iconic B Corp logo acts as a badge of honour, shouting loud and proud that this business cares. It’s a clear sign to consumers and investors that the company is a force for good.

And companies can’t just get their certification and rest easy. Unlike single-use plastic, B Corp status doesn’t last forever. To keep it, companies must renew every three years.

How do B Corps operate?

Back in 1994, a man named John Elkington coined the ’triple bottom line’ principle: people, planet and profit. Thirty years later, it’s the ethos B Corps still operate on.

Gone are the days of a business looking only to make, in the words of Abba, money, money, money. Instead, B Corps consider people and the planet for every business decision they make.

From moving offices, to scaling abroad, to choosing a supplier for those branded water bottles: B Corps always think beyond the profit.

And B Corps can’t just get their status and put their feet up. They have to constantly improve on their business decisions.

Take our SIM journey as an example. We started using regular plastic SIMs, then reduced their size by 50%, then switched to 100% post-consumer recycled plastic. Now we’ve launched eSIMs, which involve no plastic at all. (Check out this blog to find out more about eSIM.)

So if ABBA were still composing, the song would go something like “money, mankind, mother nature”, right? 😉

What are the benefits of being a B Corp?

Ultimately, being a B Corp is about doing the right thing. We don’t have much time left to stop irreversible climate change, and companies play a crucial role in achieving this.

Shaking up the way we do business has huge potential to make a positive impact. Getting B Corp certification puts this commitment in writing.

Once you do get B Corp certification, it comes with a host of benefits beyond knowing you’re doing the right thing.

We’ve already touched on the logo – a symbol that you’re doing business right and a seal of approval for those looking to shop sustainably.

But being part of the growing B Corp community also means meeting and working with like-minded businesses. The more companies that come together to share ideas and inspiration, the better their sustainability efforts and customer experiences will be.

Since our certification in 2020, we’ve partnered with a ton of amazing fellow B Corps, including Chilly’s, Zen Broadband and Wild Nutrition.

(Psst: are you a sustainable brand? Want to partner with us? Get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.)

Our top 10 B Corps right now

So now you know all about what a B Corp is. Hopefully, you’re keen to show your support for the businesses doing their bit for the planet and look out for that logo next time you’re shopping.

To get you started, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite B Corps right now.

So instead of buying questionably made items off Temu, you can buy with confidence from companies who share our ethos about doing the right thing.

(Don’t forget that we also offer Honest Perks, which includes exclusive discounts for top-rated B Corps.)

St Eval 🕯️

You don’t need us to tell you that candles are a classic gift, whether for yourself or a friend. They last ages, brighten up a space and smell great.

So you can’t go far wrong with St Eval’s sustainably produced candles inspired by nature. Whether you’re looking for something woody, floral or fresh, there’s something for everyone.

The company has been producing candles in North Cornwall for over 28 years, so they certainly know their wax from their wick.

They’ve also taken bold ecological measures, including producing the majority of their energy on-site, eliminating plastic packaging and aiming for Net Zero by 2030. Sustainability is a huge thing for us, so that’s a thumbs up for St Eval on our end.

Toast Brewing 🍺

Toast isn’t like other beer companies. They’re a nonprofit brewery slashing food waste (and making a darn good product while they’re at it).

Everyday, 44% of (perfectly edible) bread worldwide goes to waste. That’s a lot of loaves. Thankfully, Toast are setting out to change that by using leftover bread to brew beer.

Better yet, Toast donates 100% of their profits to charities, including food banks and rainforest protection groups. We love that.

Crack open a cold one and do good at the same time :beers:

The company has been producing candles in North Cornwall for over 28 years, so they certainly know their wax from their wick.

Hattiers Rum 🍸

Fan of a Mojito or Dark & Stormy? You’ll like Hattiers.

Since 2017, Hattiers has been producing top quality rum using the finest water from Dartmoor.

Instead of outsourcing their warehousing and bottling like most drinks brands, they produce it all on-site. And they are – and always have been – plastic-free.

Hattiers isn’t just any rum company. It’s the UK’s first B Corp certified rum company. As the UK’s first B Corp mobile network, we’ve got a lot of time for that.

P.S. Reading this as an Honest customer? Get 20% off Hattiers with Perks :wink:

Three bottles of Hattiers Rum

Beauty Kitchen 💅

Here’s one for the skincare girlies.

In 2017, Beauty Kitchen became the first B Corp certified high street beauty business. And they didn’t settle there. Today, they’re the highest-scoring B Corp beauty business in all of Europe, racking up a serious score of 139.8 out of 200.

Offering skincare, vitamins, hair and body products, you’ve got all beauty bases covered with Beauty Kitchen.

Plus, they give you a discount on your next purchase when you return your empty packaging. That’s our kind of beauty buy :nail_care:

This is another one of our Perks, so head over to our app to bag your exclusive discount.

Reboxed 📱

Thinking about splashing out on a new phone? What if we told you you could get one that looks and feels like new, but is better for your wallet and the planet?

Enter Reboxed and their refurbished phones.

We’re practising what we preach here: everyone at Honest uses a refurbished phone and laptop. We are a B Corp after all 😉

So instead of spending all that hard-earned cash on a shiny new model straight off the shelf, have a look at Reboxed. Then feel all good about how you’re helping to cut down on tech waste and save some dollar.

And it’s another one for the Honest Perks — our customers get £15 off their order 🥳

Karst 📔

The perfect gift option for a Stone Roses fan with a penchant for writing. Why? Because Karst sells notebooks literally made of stone.

Yep, you read that right. Writing on Karst’s stone paper is just like writing on regular wood pulp paper, but – and here’s the clincher – it’s fully waterproof, carbon neutral and tree-free.

So you can upgrade your stationery safe in the knowledge that no trees have been harmed in the process 👏

Tony's Chocolonely 🍫

It’s no surprise that Tony’s has become so popular in the UK over recent years. Their chocolate bars are seriously chunky and packed full of flavour (our personal fave is dark chocolate almond sea salt. SO good).

But here’s the thing. Tony’s isn’t actually a chocolate company. It’s an impact company that makes chocolate.

Their mission is to end slavery in the chocolate industry. Especially the child labour that remains a huge problem on cocoa farms in West Africa.

Through acts like tracing their beans to the source, investing in farming co-operatives and forging long-term relationships with farmers, Tony’s are taking great strides towards a chocolate industry that’s better for people and the planet.

Did we mention how good their dark chocolate almond bar is…?

Doisy & Dam 🪺

Okay, we know we just had a chocolate company, but we couldn’t miss out Doisy & Dam from our round-up.

A self-proclaimed “business you’d take home to meet your Mum,” Doisy & Dam are shaking up the chocolate industry with sustainable products made in Kent. Sustainable, delicious products, we hasten to add.

Their speciality is recreating your favourite childhood treats as vegan alternatives. Think Maltesers, Peanut M&Ms and Mini Eggs, but dairy-free and ethical 🔥

Sound like your thing? You’ve guessed it: you can get a discount in Honest Perks.

Vegan chocolate treats from Doisy & Dam

Vegan chocolate anyone?

VEJA 👟

If you keep an eye on fashion trends (or have just left the house recently), you’ll probably have spotted VEJA’s signature trainers.

As well as being effortlessly stylish – worn by everyone from Meghan Markle to Emma Watson – the footwear represents ethical, high-quality fashion that doesn’t cost the earth.

With transparent production processes and ambitious emissions targets, VEJA are well on the way to revolutionising the footwear industry for good.

Days Brewing 🍻

Taking a break from the booze? Check out Days Brewing 0% beer. Brewed in Scotland, it tastes just like the real thing, minus the impending hangover or beer fear.

And Days don’t just make a tasty product – they’re socially engaged, too. Producers of alcoholic beer pay 2% duty tax to the government. As Days don’t have to do that, they donate 2% of their profits to mental health initiatives instead.

B Corps: The future of business

As more of us think about what we’re buying and where it’s coming from, B Corp certification makes it easier to buy from businesses doing the right thing. So you can treat yourself to that chocolate bar/new shoes/*fill as appropriate* with the justification that you’re doing your bit for the planet 💁 

The more we support businesses doing right by Mother Earth, the more likely other companies are to follow suit. We’re super proud of our B Corp status and are constantly looking for ways to inspire and be inspired by other eco-friendly companies.

After all, the more companies doing right by the planet means a better world for us all 🌎

Want to discover some more B Corps? Check out our Honest Perks.

Want to hear more from Honest?

Subscribe to our newsletter. (It’s fun, promise).

Subscribe