WHAT IS A B CORP AND WHY IS IT GOOD FOR THE PLANET?

You will have seen the logo on product packs, on websites, on ads: a capital ‘B’ in a circle, underlined. The B Corp movement may have started as far back as 2006 in the US, but it’s only in the last few years that the B Corp certification has been highly visible to consumers. As corporate responsibility becomes part of a company’s purpose rather than an afterthought, and consumers make purchase decisions based on these credentials, brands actively seek recognised certifications that provide this seal of approval. It’s brands with purpose that are leading the way in beauty, the ones that are seeing strong growth and customer loyalty as they offer us more than just a product, they make our purchase feel like it’s feeding a good cause, from charity partnerships to adding value to their community. So what does this logo mean and who in the beauty arena has it?

What is a B Corp?

The B Corp movement was founded out of a drive to make business a force for good, working to ‘transform the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet’. The single minded purpose is to change our economic system, where the success of a company is not simply measured by how much money it makes, but also by its social and environmental impact. This doesn’t mean that profit is thrown out the window. In order to be certified a company must balance purpose with profit, and use its power and influence to address social and environmental issues.

How do companies qualify?

In order to achieve certification, a company’s performance is measured in 5 key categories:

  1. Governance: make a legal commitment by changing their corporate governance structure to be accountable to all stakeholders, not just shareholders
  2. Workers: look after employees’ welfare
  3. Community: demonstrate a high social performance
  4. Environment: measuring impact on air, climate, water, land and life
  5. Customers: exhibit transparency by allowing information about their performance to be publicly available

Each area is scored and the total must come to a minimum of 80 in order to receive the certification. And there’s no such thing as resting on your laurels here, as companies are required to undergo the verification process every three years in order to recertify, therefore encouraging continuous improvement – especially if you’re Type A and always aiming for the top score.

Which beauty brands are certified?

To date there are over 4800 certified companies in 78 countries across 153 industries. But the list is ever growing, with so many brands in the process of applying, the below is practically out of date as soon as I publish it. I trawled through the B Corp Personal Care directory – yep all 14 pages of it – to see which beauty brands were certified and pick out some highlights.

Arbonne Makeup and Haircare Samples FreshBeautyFix

Arbonne

US beauty and nutrition brand that operates on a multi-level marketing approach. This kind of structure gets quite a bit of negative press so this certification should help counteract that.

Clear toiletry bag with five essential oil based products

Aromatherapy Associates

This essential oil-infused skincare and bodycare British brand achieved the certification in 2020 and pledges to ‘put people and the planet on the same footing as profit’.

Aurelia Probiotic Skincare products on stone wall

Aurelia

Their application is pending, so watch this space.

Comfort Zone Tranquillity range

Davines Group

An Italian beauty group I discovered thanks to Comfort Zone, a beautiful professional spa and wellness products, the group became a B Corp in 2016.

Dr Bronner’s

Whilst I wasn’t a fan of their All One Soap, the brand absolutely deserves its B Corp certification.  

Greenvines

I’m not sure how recognisable the B Corp logo is in Asia, but this Taiwanese brand has decided to invest in this certification.

Natural skincare products on a rattan mat

Leo’s Box

I was so impressed by this subscription box founded by a 16-year-old green entrepreneur when I reviewed it back in 2019: the beauty market is flooded by subscription boxes, but this one offers plastic-free boxes with sustainable beauty products, plus a tree is planted for every box ordered.

Rituals

Not a brand I’ve explored much, but knowing it’s a B Corp gives me a little more incentive to do so.

Sienna Byron Bay and Kester Black

I discovered both of these Australian non-toxic nail polish brand when judging the nail polish category in the 2021 Clean Beauty Awards.

The Body Shop

No surprises there, Anita Rodrick’s legacy lives on and the brand continues to lead the way in ethical beauty.

Weleda

With the brand’s Managing Director Jayn Sterland voted No.1 in the ‘Who’s Who in Natural Beauty’ and chair of the Sustainable Beauty Coalition, it should come as no surprise that Weleda is B Corp certified.

And a few more…

  • Aesop: part of Natura group, as is The Body Shop
  • Beauty Kitchen: certified in 2017, this was the first beauty brand in the UK to be a certified B Corporation, and has an impressively high score of 139.8
  • Bliss: founded by the prolific entrepreneur Marcia Kilgore (of Soap & Glory, FitFlop and Beauty Pie fame), this brand purports to be the first skincare brand distributed at mass to gain B Corp certification
  • By Sarah London: a digital-first skincare brand transforming emotional wellbeing for stressed, sensitive skin.
  • Dr Hauschka: certified since 2015
  • Ethique: a solid shampoo brand that plays in the same arena as EarthKind and Kind2
  • Sunday Riley: reached cult status with skincare enthusiasts (it’s on Cult Beauty, need I say more)
  • Typology: a French beauty brand focusing on essential ingredients only, in simple packaging
  • Umberto Giannini: 100% vegan and cruelty-free brand, made in the UK

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