‘No B Corp, no bonus’ - Body Shop to staff
Household name The Body Shop has achieved B Corp status – in part thanks to linking the target to staff bonuses.
Christopher Davis, international director of corporate social responsibility and campaigns at the UK-based multinational, said the company decided to link achieving certification to its 2019 annual bonus scheme, meaning staff would see their bonus cut if B Corp status was not achieved.
Speaking at the BInspired event in London last week – a ‘Ted Talks’-style gathering for 600 people pursuing responsible business models – Davis said the move to involve all its staff meant the end goal was considered in every financial update. “It really mattered… it bought into the heart of the business.”
What is a B Corp?
Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet high standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. Achieving B Corp certification requires meeting minimum standards on various scores, with assessments to be repeated every three years. There are currently more than 2,500 certified B Corps in 50 countries.
That was key because the skincare and beauty firm was attempting something that he said even B Lab, the organisation that certifies B Corporations, considered “courageous”: trying to get certified in 20 countries using 14 assessments within less than a year.
The Body Shop, which employs around 10,000+ people, announced its certification last month, becoming the biggest B Corp to be founded by a woman (Dame Anita Roddick) and the first British multinational to certify.
It was acquired two years ago by Brazilian firm Natura & Co, itself one of the largest B Corps. It was the biggest acquisition by a B Corp at the time, and a move that “changed everything” for the UK company, said Davis. “It was the motivation for us from day one to start B Corp certification.”
Davis said two other factors helped achieve certification: appointing two “champions” to drive performance in each of its country offices, and the “tough but kind” approach of B Lab’s verification team.
His advice to others considering verification was to “fix your data systems”.
“When we started the application we found a lot of things under the bonnet that surprised us… There was stuff we knew we were doing brilliantly – our fair trade programme is the biggest in our sector – [but] proving it was a little tough.”
The Body Shop was a pioneer in ethical business when it was founded in 1976, by manufacturing and selling products using natural ingredients and not tested on animals.
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