How B Corps can help in the cost of living crisis
Updated: Aug 19, 2022
Not all businesses are average
On average, purchases of goods and services in the UK cost 10% more than they did a year ago. And while wages are going up (again, on average), the gap between prices and wages is the largest it has been for over 20 years (since records began). Times are tough and businesses are feeling the squeeze (...on average). But B Corp businesses are anything but average!
A B Corp is a business that thinks about people and planet as well as profit, they consider the needs of a wide group of stakeholders, not just shareholders, in their decision-making. They are rigorously assessed to check that their policies, processes and practices match up to the ideas of being a 'business for good'.
At the heart of that assessment is the B Impact Assessment, which measures everything from how much waste a company diverts from landfill to how much they donate to charity and whether they provide additional parental and care-giver leave. Here is more information on how to become a B Corp.
There are now over 700 accredited B Corps in the UK, employing over 42,000 workers. Those workers, like all of us, are likely to be feeling the pinch from this cost of living crisis, but here are some of the ways that B Corps support their teams.
The B Impact Assessment has a range of questions about how prospective B Corps support the financial security of their workers:
They assess whether workers are paid the Real Living Wage (which is more than the government's regulated National Living Wage - aka 'minimum wage')
They check the whole compensation package - do you provide cost of living adjustments to wages to link pay to inflation, do you provide bonuses or profit share for non-managerial staff, do you have an employee ownership scheme or share scheme?
They assess whether or not wider financial know-how is provided too, such as financial management coaching, emergency or short-term savings programmes, low interest loans or emergency early payment of wages, debt management advice etc
The B Impact Assessment also encourages businesses to provide a career path for their workers, giving them opportunities for promotion and more secure long-term prospects:
They assess whether there are career progression policies in place such as on the job learning and development as well as retraining into other career pathways, policies to support internal promotions, or contribute to part-time or evening class fees
They encourage businesses to provide life-skills such as financial management coaching
They assess how feedback is provided to workers, whether there are structured appraisals and development plans
Not immune, just trying to do better
B Corps aren't magically immune from supply chain issues, increased costs of energy and raw materials, and not all B Corps do all the things listed above. But B Corps have all made a commitment to take decisions based on what is right for people and planet, as well as profit, which means B Corps will be trying to do their best for their workers in these difficult times.
If you would like to talk about how 600 strategy can help your business try to do better in these difficult times, find out how here.