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Making the journey to become a B Corp

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Ahead of appearing at the Festival of Accounting & Bookkeeping to talk all things B Corp, Natalie Binstead-Wey of BW Business Accountants and Advisers sheds light on why the certification is a ‘really good framework’ and in what ways she’s already looking to make improvements.

11th Mar 2024
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When BW Business Accountants and Advisers became a B Corp in December 2023, it was a case of the firm “formalising all of the good stuff we were doing”, its founder Natalie Binstead-Wey has told AccountingWEB. Non-profit organisation B Lab created the B Corp certification in 2006 to recognise organisations that meet certain environmental, sustainability and governance (ESG) standards.

Ahead of her appearance at the Festival of Accounting & Bookkeeping, Binstead-Wey noted that when it came to submitting the B Corp application – which is known for being rigorous – she was “already doing most of it”. She also discussed why she’s already looking to improve, wanting to work with businesses that share the same values, and the ongoing debate around greenwashing.

Official recognition

“It was nice to get that official recognition of all the good stuff we were doing,” Binstead-Wey said.

“With my business-owner-accountant hat on, hopefully it then demonstrates to others – potential clients, people within our supply chain and those who might want to come and work for us – that we are doing the right thing for the environment, for the community and for the planet.”

Binstead-Wey – who founded BW in April 2021 – added that her team was “excited about it all being officially recognised – that was great”.

“We had some really nice feedback when we emailed clients and put on our socials that we’d received the certification, and I’ve had a couple of enquiries in from other B Corps who are looking for a B Corp accountant as well.

“There were a lot of good reasons why we got the certification but I would love to work with other business owners who have the same values and want to look after the planet, but perhaps just need support with their accounting.”

Framework and starting point

Whether or not becoming a B Corp is right for a firm, Binstead-Wey believes it’s still a “really good framework and a good place to start”.

“Even if you don’t ever actually submit for B Corp certification – because there is a cost involved in it and there’s also a time cost of going through the certification process – it would improve your business in terms of your social and environmental position,” she said.

“I don’t think B Corps are for everyone – I think it would actually devalue it if everyone had one – but conversely, I would also love it if everybody was doing good stuff and it made the world a better place.”

Greenwashing issues

Not everyone is a fan of the certification, with some suggesting it is often used as a way to greenwash a business.

Still, Binstead-Wey thinks there’s “something to be said for doing it in the first place” given the rigorous nature of the process but did note that greenwashing “isn’t enough”.

“A lot of the people I went through the process with, and a lot of the other B Corps that I have met, are small businesses where they can actually be a bit more impactful because it’s usually the business owner that’s going through the process, rather than a project lead that they’ve assigned to it.

“That’s just a bit more impactful because it’s a business owner taking time out of their day – it’s a long process and to do it is a big deal.”

Making strides

Looking ahead, all eyes are on BW making strides in its sustainability efforts.

“You have to get 80 points to be able to get the certification and we got 83.5, so we were only just over the certification threshold,” said Binstead-Wey. “I want to have improved that significantly within the next 12 months.

“We have to recertify in three years’ time, so I’m hoping to have made leaps and bounds by then. I hope it will have helped us to recruit people who have the same values as us to work within the team. I think that’s really important and if they don’t have those values, then we’re probably not the right place for them to work.”

Binstead-Wey also hopes it will have “raised awareness within our customer base and our supply chain about this certification, and how measuring your carbon footprint is really important, and looking after the community”.

“From a slightly selfish perspective, I hope that we’re working with several B Corp clients who are looking for a B Corp accounting firm because there aren’t that many out there.”

Routes to B Corp

To hear more from Binstead-Wey, click here to book your free ticket to the Festival of Accounting & Bookkeeping at the NEC, Birmingham on 13 and 14 March.

She will be speaking at both days of the event, starting with “Taking the Route to B Corp” on day one at 12.20pm.

On the second day, she will feature at two sessions, the first being “Meet the Speakers | Women of Accounting” at 12.30pm. Then, she will join Scott Johnson of Kung Fu Accounting and Wild Bookkeeping’s Penny Allard in a “To B Corps or not to B Corps?” roundtable looking at ESG from the context of a small business.

Replies (2)

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By FactChecker
11th Mar 2024 18:54

Are we going to see sparks (or even flaming) at FAB then?

It's only 3 weeks since https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/practice/practice-strategy/kung-fu-accou... ... wherein:
"Scott Johnson from Kung Fu Accounting doesn’t think (accounting firms really need to be B Corp to make a difference).
Ahead of his sessions at the Festival of Accounting & Bookkeeping, the ‘ethical accountant’ explains why he gave up his certification."

Head-to-head could be interesting ...

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By carnmores
14th Mar 2024 17:10

B Corp selling a product that is not needed to an unsuspecting publc

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