Since 1993, we have used certification to improve as a business, becoming the first independent coffee importer to gain a Fairtrade license and the first to earn an Organic license in the UK. In 2003, we secured Rainforest Alliance certification and introduced this programme to the UK. Most recently, in December 2020, we proudly became a B Corp.
Becoming B Corp was a natural extension of our heritage in helping us pave the way for the future as we continue to seek ways to improve.
As the world continues to grapple with the devastating effects of climate change, businesses are increasingly looking to make sustainability a core part of their operations. One way this is being achieved is through B Corp certification, a rigorous and comprehensive standard that assesses a company’s impact on the environment, its workers, and its community. In this context, we, as green coffee importers, are proud to be collaborating with B Corp Certified roasters and producers.
For those unfamiliar with B Corp Certification, it represents a growing movement of companies that prioritize social and environmental responsibility alongside profit. To achieve B Corp certification, a company must meet strict standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. These standards are designed to promote a more ethical and sustainable business model that values the planet and people alongside profit.
For our customers and partners, it is a reassurance that people and planet are at the heart of everything we do and supports our mission ‘To continually endeavor to do the right thing through sustainable, progressive and open relationships’. We published our B Corp impact report that you can read by clicking here.
Through our collaboration with B Corp Certified customers, we have witnessed firsthand the positive changes that occur when businesses embrace sustainability as a core value. For this article, we hear from our partners what B Corp means to them and the impact that this certification has had on their operations.
We started Dark Woods Coffee in 2014 as a values-driven business, but being a start-up is limiting. As we’ve grown, we have increasingly been able to do more – whether moving towards plastic-free packaging, increasing community support, or reducing our carbon footprint.
We hadn’t sought external certification but became increasingly aware of the emerging B Corp movement; its thorough, whole-company approach appealed to us. Certifying in 2020, we had no idea where it would take us, but it’s been a truly valuable tool for our business, helping us strengthen processes, examine our operations and become more systematic in our environmental and social-justice activities, embedding them within the business, rather than sitting them on the fringes as stand-alone projects.
We believe in Community and feel lucky to be embedded within our local area, but also to be part of the global coffee community. We commit 2% of our annual turnover to support local and global community activities, as well as giving our time and facilities, through volunteering and hosting community events. In 2022, we were recognised by B-Lab as “Best for the World” in the Community Pillar. This is our third year as a B Corp, and time for us to recertify; the next leg of our B Corp journey.
Read more here.
Having set up as an Impact Business in 2018 being a company for good is second nature to us. This certification is an extension and reinforcement of the way we have set about building our business. It has also strengthened areas that fall outside of our social impact of giving second chances to ex-offenders such as strengthening our environmental credentials and making sure we are great employers.
We also love being part of the B Corp community and can learn so much from many other businesses being a force for good.
The journey for us to become a B Corp took two and a half years rather than the standard 1 year to complete. We’ve only existed 5 years and for us to go through such a thorough analysis of every area of our business has been really helpful. Rather than the typical reactive approach start-ups deal with challenges, having some great policies and processes as a result of the B Corp journey has allowed us to have things in place before some challenges come up, and gives us really solid foundations to grow from.
Interestingly it was our impact area of hiring and re-training ex-offenders which made our process so long, as it wasn’t compatible with the way that hiring out of prisons were assessed and was seen as a negative. Fortunately, we ended up being instrumental in a re-thinking of how companies who hire prisoners were assessed and have turned it into a real positive. A great result from a long process.
Read more here.
Becoming a B Corp is a way to keep us striving to get better. We first became interested in the B movement in 2015, after we won an award for the most sustainable farm of Brazil. We were of course very happy but also wondering – what’s next? The B Corp movement felt like the right direction. It gave us a platform to assess our business in several levels and, most importantly, to create strategies to improve. As currently the only B-Certified coffee farm in the world, we feel a responsibility to keep pushing for better businesses in coffee, especially when it comes to sustainability efforts.
Read more here.
B-Corp accreditation was introduced to the UK in 2015 and Cafédirect became the first UK coffee company to join the movement in 2018. B-Corp accreditation has highlighted the strengths in the environmental, governance and social aspects of our work.
B-Corps are required to recertify every three years and in 2022 we achieved a new ‘Outstanding’ score of 126.2, over 30% higher  than the previous score. This is the highest score for a consumer coffee brand in the UK. With this, we raise standards in the industry and continue to inspire our peers and show how business can be done better.
Our new score recognises our efforts to strengthen our governance and unique business impact model: fair prices for coffee, additional social and environmental funds and investing in Producers Direct, a non-profit enterprise led by farmers for farmers. The governance score rocketed following the changes made to our legally binding Articles of Association which outlines our business responsibilities. Here we promise that all our actions will positively impact society and the environment – a premise already fundamental to our purpose. Our score for the positive impact we have on our communities also soared. This shows our considered approach towards the farmer cooperatives we work with, our staff, suppliers and commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Going forwards, we continue to monitor our environmental impact. We have now joined the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), which means we’re reducing our carbon footprint to meet international climate change goals. By 2025 we will reduce our own  greenhouse gas emissions by 25%, and to 50% by 2030 (from our 2019 baseline). We’re also measuring and reducing emissions from our suppliers and customers, as part of our science-based commitment to net zero by 2040. 
We’re committed to keep working to improve because we want to keep leading by example. We’ll keep breaking boundaries and show to the world that coffee really can be better for everyone.
 Our own operations include emissions produced from Scopes 1 and 2
 This will include emissions produced by Scopes 1, 2 & 3
Read more here.
My wife and I launched amamus to create a positive social and environmental impact. We really didn’t want to have to answer difficult questions from our children around our contribution to the many problems in the world.
In 2019 we read about B Corp and felt it was completely aligned with how we were running our business, and it would be a great independent verification of the hard push we were making in so many areas within the corporate coffee sector.
The B Corp framework continues to guide our whole team on a daily basis; helping us shape every decision we make from how we buy our coffee to create a positive social impact in origin (such as working with partners such as DR Wakefield), to how we reduce the environmental impact of all our delivery methods across the UK.
We see B Corp as a wonderful journey that inspires continual improvement. We were one of the first coffee companies to certify in April 2020 with 83 points and a key objective for recertification three years on is to move our score to over 100. As we write it looks like we might meet this objective by our April deadline, which has involved lots of hard work and good ideas.
Despite the many challenges within our business and the coffee sector, we remain committed to B Corp as an essential brand asset that creates huge internal and external value.
Read more here.
Our strong company ethics have always been at the centre of everything we do here at Dear Green and since we launched in 2011 we have always looked for the most ethical path in all business activities to support our growth. From paying the Real Living Wage to minimising our waste, we knew that each social and environmental action we took had consequences and we wanted to do business in a better way than what the traditional template dictated to us.
When we discovered the B Corp movement and realised that our business model could achieve certification and be supported to continually improve, there was no turning back.
Now as a certified B Corp we are proud to contribute to a bigger impact, one which strives to meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability. B Corps are the building blocks of a new system, creating a positive impact and bringing real, lasting change in the business world. For decades the world has been waking up to the reality that our economic system, based on profit at all cost, has been exacerbating threats to the health and wellbeing of society and the planet. However, we’re working to break down unethical norms and shake things up, for good.
Following certification, we formalised our company strategy to be defined simply by three pillars: Product, People and Planet. All three have had a constant thread throughout our 11+ years of roasting coffee in Scotland. B Corp now gives us the resources to continually improve on what we were already so passionate about. We believe that by maintaining this focus and through sustainable business practices we can achieve a positive and lasting impact on our coffee product, on people in our local and international community and on the effects of climate change on our planet. Now in our year of recertification, we’re excited to share how much we have improved Dear Green’s impact – and we’re just getting started!
Read More here.