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B Corp status is rising in demand globally

Nudea's B Corp-certified image
May 14, 2022 By WGSN Insider

A respected, cross-industry ESG certification, B Corp status has become a gold standard in building consumer trust in sustainable business practice and is increasingly important to attract employees.

Organised by US nonprofit B Lab, B Corp certification designates that a business is “meeting high standards of verified performance, accountability and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials”.

As explored in B Corp Beauty Strategies, gaining B Corp certification is not an easy or quick process and requires a switch to stakeholder governance, but it has been linked to brand benefits including high growth and greater desirability to employees.

Plant sprouting from within an egg shell
Pasupuleti Sai Charan/Unsplash

Global growth

B Corp status is already established in some industries (particularly food and drink) and regions, and growing quickly in others. Of 4,900 B Corp companies globally, 847 are in LATAM and 830 in Europe. A record number of B Corps were certified in Asia in Q1 2022, bringing the total to 161. Some 1,500 applicants have registered in China, with 39 gaining status, including eight fashion brands.

According to WGSN search data, search results for “B Corp certification” have seen consistent growth worldwide since 2018, peaking during the B Corp Conference in September 2019.

“B Corp certification is redefining business success as being ‘best for the world’ instead of outmoded goals to be ‘best in the world’. In Southeast Asia, B Corps are especially seen as a force of good as they lead to higher-quality job creation, reduced inequality, healthier and regenerative environments – all of which are challenges to solve as accelerated urbanisation continues in the region,” says Jien Goh, Mindset Consultant, APAC, at WGSN.

Cutouts from cupboard paper: two hands, a green heart and a whale
Artem Podrez/Pexels

Brand importance

British underwear brand Nudea gained B Corp status after a 10-month process that includes answering more than 300 questions on governance, workers, community and impact. In March, Danone ANZ became the largest certified B Corp in food and drink in Australia and New Zealand, scoring 89.5. A score of 80 is needed for certification; the median achieved by brands that apply is 50.9. Amsterdam-based vegan cheese maker Willicroft has become the first plant-based cheese company in Europe to achieve B Corp status, scoring 108.5 points.

B Corp companies are also joining forces to boost efficacy. In January, 27 beauty brands formed the B Corp Beauty Coalition, which will operate working groups around ingredient sourcing, logistics and packaging to guide industry best practice.

Willicroft's B Corp-certified image

How you can action this

The desirability of being a B Corp is growing across industries. Read up on the process, cost and commitments and prepare for ongoing auditing, growth and improvement.

For more information, WGSN clients can read the full Sustainability Bulletin: May 2022 and our Intelligence: B Corp Beauty Strategies report.

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