Since 1997, Fat Beehive has always worked with charities and other organisations committed to social good. However, we are determined to show that being a good business is good business. That being ethical, fair and championing diversity isn’t a nice add on – but an essential part of being a successful business.
I have been a champion for ethical business for 25 years and as Croydon’s Cabinet Member for Jobs and Economy, I encouraged local businesses to recognise the business case for diversity and try to understand the barriers to employment faced by minority groups, especially BAME and disabled candidates.
So at Fat Beehive it wasn’t good enough to just work with ethical clients – being ethical had to extend to how we treated staff, clients, the environment and our local community. I believe we have now created a work environment where staff are supported and can achieve their very best. Being recognised as the 8th Best Place to Work in 2019 by Campaign magazine reflects the progress we’re making.
Increasing diversity, especially in the tech sector has also been a long term goal – supporting Amy and James, two disabled graduates through the Leonard Cheshire scheme and providing flexible, family-friendly employment has helped, but there is certainly more we can do. Especially around increasing female and BAME representation in tech, areas that I am especially passionate about.
This year we also set up the Fat Beehive Foundation, and will allocate a portion of our profits each year to the foundation, to make sure that small charities across the UK have the opportunity to expand their reach and change more lives for the better.
But being an ethical company is also about continuous improvement and measurement – what attracted us to B Corp certification was the extensive and thorough assessment process which goes beyond a product or service certification. It is the only certification that measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance – it is the Gold standard accreditation.
From our supply chain to our charitable giving and employee benefits, B Corp Certification proves our business is meeting the highest standards of externally verified performance. There are also transparency and accountability requirements, so B Corp Certification doesn’t just prove where our company excels now – it commits us to consider our impact on stakeholders now and in the future by building it into our company’s legal structure. We will also be reassessed every three years. We are now a certified B Corps and I am very proud that our initial score of 119.9 puts us in the top 10% of all B Corps.
B Corp is gaining traction in the UK and whilst some of their assessment processes are still US-centric, their framework is excellent and robust. For example, at Fat Beehive our electricity, as you would expect, is 100% renewable: 58.82% from offshore wind, 41.6% onshore wind, 0.51% solar and 2.07% from Hydro. However we lost points as we couldn’t verify that the hydro was low impact hydro.
This is the level of detail and verification B Corp expects. The assessment process will take time and you will be expected to provide evidence for the answers given – but for me this is what makes B Corp so important. Many companies make claims to being socially responsible – with B Corp certification you can be assured that is the case.