Purpose-led British businesses grow 28 times faster than national average, research shows


B Corp, a global movement of pioneering companies that are using their business as a force for good, has revealed the first evidence that certified B Corps in the UK are experiencing disproportionate rates of growth, whilst also focusing on their positive impact on people and the planet.

Since the launch of B Corp in the UK over two years ago – a certification that requires businesses to meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, transparency, and legal accountability – 86 per cent of UK B Corps feel the certification has benefited their business.

This is the first time quantifiable evidence has shown that B Corp certification can drive financial success in the UK – illustrating that profit and purpose are not mutually exclusive. This research has shown that the average year on year growth rate of UK B Corps is 14 per cen1, 28 times higher than the national economic growth of 0.5 per cent – with leading UK B Corp FMCG brands, growing on average 21 per cent in 2017, compared to a national average of three per cent across their respective sectors3.

150 UK businesses have certified as B Corps since the certification launched in the UK 2015, joining a community of over 2,400 B Corps globally. The UK community includes well-loved household names like Ella’s Kitchen, Ben & Jerry’s, Pukka Teas, Divine Chocolate, and Lily’s Kitchen; innovative start-ups such as Propercorn, What A Melon, and Rebel Kitchen; and high street favourites COOK and JoJo Maman Bebe – with 99 per cent of UK B Corps stating they would recommend certification to other businesses.

The two key drivers for this growth are linked to increasing demand for purpose-led brands from consumers, and employees seeking out organisations who are driven by purpose beyond profit:

  • B Corps attracts consumers: Over 66 per cent of consumers have reported they are willing to spend more for goods and services that are committed to making a positive social impact4. Over a third (35%) of British B Corps have already attracted new audiences since certifying.
  • B Corps engages employees: Prospective employees are also seeking brands and businesses that are built on purpose, structured around social change, and align with their personal values. Almost half (48 per cent) of UK B Corps have found that prospective employees are attracted to their businesses specifically because they know the company is a B Corp.

In addition to driving growth, the research also finds that B Corp has paved the way for collaboration between businesses seeking to drive change, by allowing for sharing of best practice and learnings: 81% of British B Corps gained certification to join a community of like-minded businesses and almost half (46%) of B Corp brands say they have already benefited from creating more partnerships with like-minded businesses since certifying.

Mark Cuddigan, chief executive officer of Ella’s Kitchen and B Corp Champion, comments: “Ella’s Kitchen has always been a mission driven business and we are proud to be a certified B Corp and join a movement that aligns with our values. It’s great to see this research reinforces our view that purpose and profit can go hand in hand.

“I am excited that the B Corp movement is growing and that UK consumer brands are leading the way in driving positive change and inspiring other businesses to join us on this global mission to redefine the meaning of success in business. Ultimately, the more like-minded businesses who certify as B Corps, the more we can ensure that business can come together to inspire change and be a force for good for people and the planet.”

Katie Hill, executive director, B Lab UK, said: “The word ‘revolution’ is overused these days – but with the range and calibre of businesses that are part of the B Corp movement, who are so committed to using their business as a force for good, it’s hard to deny that meaningful change is underway.

“Today’s most exciting businesses are operating for the benefit of all who contribute to its success – for shareholders and for stakeholders – and as such they are taking responsibility for their broader impact on employees, on communities and on the planet. This is the future of business.”

B Corp Month

February is B Corp month – a global celebration of the B Corp movement and the values that define it. Ella’s Kitchen and a group of leading B Corp FMCG brands are spearheading a campaign to raise awareness of the movement in the UK. Follow the action on social via the hashtags #Bthechange #reinventingbusiness #bcorpmonth