South West chamber Business West gains B Corp status

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Chamber of commerce Business West has been certified as a B Corporation (B Corp) in recognition of its social and environmental impact.

The Bristol-based organisation, which works with 20,000 businesses across the South West, has joined a global group of establishments judged to have a high standard of ethics and that balance profit with purpose.

In order to attain B Corp status, which is administered by US non-profit organisation B Lab, companies must be able to demonstrate responsible practices in five impact areas: governance, workers, community, environment and customers.

The chamber said factors that enabled it to reach the score required to achieve accreditation included:

achieving carbon neutral operations and targeting net-zero emissions by 2030; being an accredited Live Wage Foundation employer; its transparency in supply chains reporting; Its involvement in the BeOnBoard initiative, which aims to improve diversity on governing bodies of businesses.

Business West joins a worldwide group of 4,000 organisations that have achieved B Corp status, including clothing brand Patagonia, cosmetics brand The Body Shop and organic food company Abel and Cole.

Phil Smith, managing director of Business West, said: “We’re delighted to join a growing community of businesses globally pursuing purpose as well as profit. At the core of our mission is sustainable and inclusive growth of the region, which prioritises quality of life for those who live, work and learn here.

“B Corp certification provides a roadmap of how we as a business can continue to improve and encourage others to join us so that we have a greater impact in the region that we serve.”

Chris Turner, executive director of B Lab UK, said that Business West, with its thousands of clients and members, would be a “fantastic addition” to the B Corp community.

Mr Turner said: “Being able to welcome Business West to the B Corp community is hugely exciting. Their commitment to doing business differently will be an inspiration to others and really help spread the idea that we can redefine success in business to be as much about people and planet as it is about profit.”

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There are around 400 B Corps in the UK, with accredited South West organisations including Bristol banks Triodos, Cornish clothing brand Finisterre, the Hobbs House Bakery chain and Stroud Brewery – which produced a signature organic pale ale for Business West to celebrate it achieving the status.

A pale ale produced by Stroud Brewery to celebrate Business West’s B Corp status. (Image: Stroud Brewery)

Greg Pilley, managing director of Stroud Brewery, urged other companies to “jump in there” and register for B Corp status.

Mr Pilley said: “It costs nothing to start working your way through the questions. There is a lot of emphasis on carbon and climate, and alongside that people and biodiversity. People must change their behaviour and move from measuring success purely on profit and GDP, to also measure the quality of life.”

Earlier this year Business West, which employs around 200 people, was named among the best business services companies to work for in the UK by employee engagement specialists Best Companies.

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