How B Corp businesses balance purpose and profitability

Gloucestershire-based B Corp, Optimising IT, speaks to SoGlos about why becoming more sustainable doesn't have to cost the earth — and could end up saving businesses money in the long run — with some helpful advice on how to make it work.

By Chloe Gorman  |  Published
Gloucester-based B Corp, Optimising IT, shares how businesses can balance purpose and profitability, with some helpful tips on how sustainability can save money — and win new customers.

In the fourth instalment of SoGlos's Gloucestershire B Corp series, Gloucester-based Optimising IT shares some sage advice on how businesses can become more sustainable without sacrificing profits.

From reducing waste and recycling packaging to switching to more energy efficient options to light and heat your business premises, there are plenty of ways becoming a B Corp could save your business money — not to mention win new customers and help retain amazing employees. 

For businesses considering becoming a B Corp, what costs do they need to consider?

The main cost will be the resource needed to complete the B Impact Assessment and compile the evidence for the assessment. This may involve updating or adding to company policies, formalising practices that ‘just happen’ or even introducing new initiatives such as encouraging staff to do volunteering through giving a paid day off.

You may also end up reviewing things like energy providers, which bank you use, staff benefits packages, pensions, company car schemes, cleaning products used and recycling capabilities.

How much does the certification process itself cost?

There is no fee for completing the B Impact Assessment and establishing your provisional points total, but there is a one-off upfront fee of £250 plus VAT when you submit it for review. Once you achieve the required score, the fees paid to B Corp for certification depend on the size and complexity of your business.

To achieve certification, businesses need to operate in a socially and environmentally responsible way — does this mean accepting that some things will cost more?

It may well be that some things you wish to implement within your business do cost more, but the return on that investment of providing well for your staff, making responsible decisions about the sustainability of your supply chain and giving back to your community and the environment will undoubtedly bring benefits to the business that go beyond the financial, for example increasing employee engagement and retention.

Last time we discussed sustainability in the supply chain — is it always more expensive to choose a sustainable supplier?

It isn’t always, although it depends on what products and services you are sourcing sustainably, as the cost implications will vary considerably. Consumer pressure is undoubtedly increasing for suppliers to offer sustainable and environmentally responsible options in both B2C and B2B markets, and this will inevitably influence prices.

Can choosing the sustainable option end up saving businesses money in the long run?

There are certainly ways in which making purchasing decisions based on sustainability will save your business money. Following the 'reduce, reuse, recycle' approach means that, as a first step, you should only be purchasing what is truly needed, then looking at what can be re-used or repurposed — for example, can you reuse packing that goods arrive in when you are sending products out to customers, removing the need to purchase it at all?

Buying goods from a supplier who has worked to reduce packaging could also reduce the amount of waste your business needs to dispose of. Switching to energy-efficient lighting solutions and water-saving devices can also cut your utility bills — and if you are able to install solar panels, you could even cover your electricity costs completely.

Can becoming a B Corp help companies win more business? 

Environmental and social considerations are certainly becoming more important for a lot of businesses and many of them use the B Corp Directory as a way to find suppliers whose values align with their own, whether they are also a B Corp or not.

It's also important to your employees — and being a B Corp will encourage people to apply for roles, as they know that you are committed to operating in a sustainable and responsible way. Personally, as a consumer, I am always pleased to see the B Corp logo on a product I have chosen and it would definitely be a factor for me when deciding between two similar offerings.

As a company that’s been through the whole journey, has becoming B Corp certified benefitted Optimising IT? 

Becoming a B Corp has enabled us to engage with a worldwide community of people using business as a force for good. We can now help both our suppliers and customers maximise the impact of every £1 we and they spend to benefit people and planet. We have also benefitted from increased brand exposure and community engagement through the B Local groups and events.

In partnership with Optimising IT  |

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