What the Covid crisis has taught us about becoming a B Corp

What the Covid crisis has taught us about being B Corp

We received our B Corp accreditation just before the lockdown started, we hadn’t even had the chance to celebrate as a team before we headed off to our individual isolations. As we slowly emerge from the other side of the crisis in the UK, it feels like B Corp is now of even greater relevance than it was just a few months ago.


Our experience has made it clearer than ever that we should accelerate the alignment of our business based on a single-minded connection between people and planet. Everything that we do should prioritise this dynamic. Every client we choose to work with should be on board with this direction. Will we turn down business from clients who we don’t believe in? Yes, we already have. Every pound we invest should only be with other businesses who also think this way. This is a principle of B Corp but it’s clear that we need to take it further still. This is because there is an inherent problem in the way we all make our money, the existing economic story of consumerism (endless economic growth driven by the cult of the individual) is well and truly broken and this has been exposed completely by the virus. There needs to be a shift in the nature of how we consume, away from personal satisfaction and into collective health and wellbeing. Growth cannot be without limits, it has to be realistically managed. This is the new lens through which we look at the world. The opportunity is to directly connect this new priority of personal health and wellbeing with planetary health and wellbeing, as of course the two are completely inter-connected, something that the virus has highlighted so clearly. 


The outcome of this impending global recession in the Covid era is that brands who do not have this approach hardwired into their DNA will struggle. There will not be government or hedge fund or personal money to invest in those who don’t. Can we afford to bail out industries that aren’t aligned with our current or future needs? We’re already seeing that governments do not have the appetite to do this because they are now so committed to supporting their people’s health and wellbeing. The airlines, oil industry, factory farmed meat and dairy industries and others will see rapid divestment because they are simply not sustainable businesses, they weren’t before the crisis and they clearly aren’t now.


I appreciate that this creates hardship for many especially those who are losing jobs in these industries. At the same time there is obviously opportunity – we’re not expecting a drawn out recession and we hope the recovery will be one based on substantial green investment. There are positives too within the hardship. We have already made big habitual changes in many areas – flexible working, reduced commuting, virtual GP/health diagnostics, collapse in business airline travel, decline of global conferences, virtual business meetings, reduced car usage, healthier cooking and home baking, daily exercise routines, the push for green New Deals, universal income structures… It’s also clear that many of us like these changes and won’t go back to the old ways. Health has become the new global priority. People understand that our health (and by extension the health of our economy) is directly connected to the health of our planet. You cannot have one without the other.


So for B Corps across the world, this means continuing to adapt all of our businesses to meet this challenge, embracing and championing these positive habit changes permanently, because there are still many forces at play who want to go back to the old way, who will hang onto the busted flush of pre-Covid economics. As organisations at the forefront of sustainable business, we need to push harder than ever now to support the creation of a compelling post-crisis business narrative. It is precisely because the future is so uncertain and unclear that there is a big opportunity to drive home this new story based on personal and planetary health and wellbeing, with all the many transformations this will entail.



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