Communicating around B Corp
However, the problem with the B Corp certification says Leggett, is to most people, “the name itself doesn’t really mean anything.” Although a huge movement in the US, B Corp seems to still have a slight brand awareness problem in the UK. But the groundswell is building as many more agencies join their clients in choosing to use business as a force for good.
The reality is, believes Leggett, that “being B Corp means such different things to each individual organisation because each organisation is going to have such a different focus.” Although ultimately about balancing purpose with profit, it’s difficult to find one buzzword that can truly describe what the B Corp movement entails. “I think in general there’s a challenge around communicating the depths of what it means to be a B Corp,” she explains.
But the B Corp certification works for a brand like innocent that, although being just over twenty years old, is still committed to being relevant and exciting in its purpose. Leggett explains, “the narrative that B Corp has around responsible business is one that works really well internally for us as a business.” Pointing to the brand’s values, she notes that one of those is “being responsible”, a statement reflected in the brand’s decision to go B Corp.
Building a sustainable company culture
Over the past five years Leggett says she has seen a slight shift in the attitudes of people who work at innocent. Although they have always historically been people who care about the purpose of the brand, and about sustainability, Leggett is seeing more staff “taking ownership of sustainability as part of their role.”
This flows from an increasing interest in what it means to be a B Corp, which is being used by innocent as a powerful framework through which to engage employees. Because of the size and scale of the B Impact Assessment, the process each company actually undergoes to become certified, every member of staff can feel involved. As Leggett explains, “it’s very easy to farm out different pieces so that everyone feels they’re doing something towards a purpose that’s more than just making a profit.”
Leggett believes that the company’s certification has become “an actionable internal engagement tool,” as people look not just to what they can do as individuals but also to how they can “help us deliver on our sustainability objectives.” Ultimately, says Leggett, “it’s not just people wanting to buy into businesses that have purpose, but they want to work for businesses that have purpose [too].”