01 Sep 2021

Interview with James Ghaffari

Interview with James Ghaffari
James Ghaffari, B Corp

We interviewed James Ghaffari, Director of B Corp Certification at B Lab UK to discuss how they supported businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic and the benefits of embracing local credentials.

Hi James! Thanks for joining us. Please could you introduce yourself and give a little insight into your background and experience?

Thanks for having me, I'm James and I'm the Director of B Corp Certification at B Lab UK which means I get the privilege of working with all kinds of businesses through their B Corp journey. I have spent my career working at the nexus of business and charity. I previously held an innovation role at an international women and girls' rights charity and have also worked connecting multinationals and local SMEs in sub-Saharan Africa to support the growth of inclusive business environments.

Please can you tell us about B Corp and the certification process?

James Ghaffari 1B Corp is a global movement of businesses that are committed to people, planet and profit. From Patagonia and Ben & Jerry's, to innocent drinks and The Body Shop, B Corps around the world meet high standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

The certification process focuses on two main conditions. Firstly, meeting the performance requirement. Companies are required to achieve a verified score of >80 points on the B Impact Assessment - an online impact measurement and improvement tool that assesses the entire impact of your businesses' operations. The second condition is legal change. B Corps in the UK embed the values of the Triple Bottom Line (people, planet and profit) by making an amendment to their articles of association to commit them to considering the impact of their decisions on all stakeholders and not just shareholders.

How did B Corp diversify itself in the past few months to support the B Corp community in the wake of Covid19?

In a couple of key ways. Right at the start of the crisis, we were focused on supporting our community and creating spaces for B Corps to learn from and help each other at such a challenging time. We also curated a suite of COVID-19 resources for all businesses to use in order to adapt to the new environment created by the pandemic.

After the initial shock of the crisis, we then had to work hard to service the huge increase in demand that we have been experiencing from companies that are starting their sustainability journey. Throughout the pandemic and the racial justice movement, businesses have been prioritising sustainability and social impact, turning towards communities like B Corp as a mechanism to navigate their way through this landscape, take meaningful action and increase their resilience.

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