When we started Oppo nearly 10 years ago, we wanted to show that it was possible to create an artisanal, indulgent, Great Taste award winning ice cream with a small fraction of the calories, sugar and generally unhealthy ingredients you find in a tub of the regular stuff. We wanted to create a feel good ice cream that is better for health and the environment, and build a company that prioritises people and planet as well as profit.
Hearing about B Corp, we saw that here was a framework that would enable us to stay focussed, highlight areas for improvement, and just felt like the right thing to do.
As you might know, B Corp involves assessing a company’s performance against five key categories: governance, workers, customers, community, and the environment, with a minimum of 80 points needed. They look at you through a microscope, to make sure you're meeting the highest standards of social and environmental performance.
But we read that while more than 100,000 businesses have signed up for the B Corp Impact Assessment, yet only 3,500 have passed and been certified worldwide, which is a tough pass rate! To get this might be hard, but it would be worthwhile.
We're not perfect and have got a long way to go, but we're incredibly excited to tell you that we've been certified and are now an official, bona fide B Corp.
It's a big motivating mother of a milestone on our journey towards being a better company for people and planet!
This certification has given us all increased momentum to continue what we are doing, in creating a place of work where all kinds of people can thrive; optimising our operations and logistics to reduce our carbon emissions, using sustainably sourced, FSC recyclable foil free packaging (planting three trees for every one we use); ethically sourcing our ingredients; using processes that reduce our water and energy consumption; minimising food waste, and doing things like tree60, our goal to plant 60,000 trees by the end of 2023 (we've already planted 15,000 and growing, mind the pun!).
Thank you to Sally, Sophie, Matt, Marcel and Silvia in particular but the whole team at Oppo for achieving this milestone and always striving to be a better business.
If you're reading and work for a company that is interested in becoming a B Corp, be prepared to have one or two unexpected detractors either inside or outside your company who might advise strongly against pursuing certification because it would distract somehow from the one objective they think you should have of only delivering shareholder value. They might say that in an economic downturn where margins are forever being squeezed, you should focus on your knitting and well, turning a profit. But the higher than average commercial success of our more than 700 fellow B Corps in the UK shows that not only does focussing on people and planet as well as profit in your business make it a whole lot easier to get up in the morning to go to work, it has the side effect of delivering more shareholder value too.
We're very happy to support anyone reading this who is interested in becoming a B Corp - we're near the start of our journey as well but if we can help we will. In our experience, the earlier you start the easier it is and the best way to create positive change is to model it for others to see, so go for it, you've got nothing to lose!