As we’re nearing the end of B Corp month, we thought it would be interesting to reflect a little on our experiences of being a B Corp and why and how we decided to do it in the first place.
It’s wonderful to see so many new B Corps springing up. It proves how committed companies are to doing better by our people and our planet, and we’d love for every company on earth to make that commitment. But back in 2019 when we became certified, there were far fewer certified B Corps in the UK than there are now, especially coffee companies; there were no specialty coffee roasteries certified, at the time.
Coaltown’s awareness of B Corp began in 2017; one of our directors saw Finisterre proudly bearing their accreditation, and his curiosity was piqued. Once the seed was planted in our minds, we started to see B Corp everywhere, including in Boston where it seemed all of the coffee roasteries there were on the B Corp train. Once we started looking into what a B Corp was and how to get certified, we quickly realised we were already doing a majority of the practices outlined in B Corp’s impact assessment, and so we knew it would be a good fit. From there, it was a go.
Becoming a B Corp can seem like a really daunting task; every aspect of your business and inevitably your personal practice is put under scrutiny, which can be really intense.
The whole process was very organic from start to finish as we felt we were already aligned with B Corp in such a big way. Of course, there were large administrative undertakings, including an intense audit, but it was all worth it as we believed in the mission so deeply.
Although this alignment was beneficial in so many ways, it also shot us in the foot a bit. We had been carrying on with our business practices without knowing we would be under scrutiny and therefore we hadn’t been keeping certain records; as the assessment is so rigorous, this proved to be a problem as we needed to back up our practices with documents we didn’t have. If we could do it all again, we’d start much earlier so we could start the process of continuous monitoring; something that’s going to be really helpful when we start the recertification process later this year!
The whole process took us around 6 months, mainly figuring out the logistics and providing evidence. It was a massive team effort and, as we’re only a small workforce, it was amazing to get everybody involved. Thanks to a few key players who lead the way and pushed us over the finish line, we were able to make this pledge to our planet, our team and society as a whole to continue doing better.
Becoming a B Corp has been absolutely amazing, not only for the Coaltown brand but also for each of us individually as it’s given us a framework and opportunities to educate ourselves and others. We’re all now committed to improving our sustainable and ethical practices in our personal lives, and B Corp is at the forefront of the conversations we have with each other at work daily. It gives us the momentum to do better and is factored into every strategy and decision we make. It’s helped us to build a model of our business that truly reflects what we believe in.
If you’re looking to become a B Corp or are interested in the process, please reach out any time and we can help you out. The B Corp community is about making the world a better place, and working together to do so, so we’re always happy to help.