Any business can be a ‘good business’. Sole traders, SMEs, start-ups and multi-national companies all have the capacity for activism. And, when they work together as part of a wider movement, they can make good things happen faster. The Good Business Festival is sending this message loud and clear, and at innocent, we’re eager to amplify it. By sharing our journey with festival-goers, we hope to demonstrate how even big businesses can hold onto their start-up sensitivities and lead with purpose.
We are also living proof of the positive impact responsible business practices can have on a brand.
No matter what size of business you operate, or where you are on your own particular journey, it’s vital to take responsible business seriously – and to demonstrate that you’re doing so. Studies continue to reveal that consumers, employees and investors want companies to behave ethically and will make their retail, employment or investment decisions based increasingly on ethical reputation. It’s not about placing purpose over profit but balancing the two – to enable business and brand success, while supporting people and the planet.
At innocent, ‘good business’ is part of our DNA. Since we started up in 1999, we’ve always pushed ourselves to do business in the right way. We developed our products to help people ‘live well and die old’. Staying true to our ethos, as we grew, wasn’t always easy, but it meant we could be proud of the decisions we made and enabled us to nurture a sense of trust and integrity with our stakeholders. Now we sell more than two million smoothies a week, but we’ve kept ethical practices and doing good at our core. It’s what’s needed to become a ‘good business’ success story. But the journey shouldn’t stop there.
Pushing the Agenda
Achieving your own responsible business goals is amazing but we believe that the commercial sector as a whole has enormous power to be a force for good. By uniting with fellow businesses, you can push the agenda for change further.
That’s why, in 2018, we became a B Corp – part of a growing group of businesses from around the world that believe in doing business responsibly. It meant going through a rigorous certification process that scrutinised every element of our social and environmental performance. But it was worth it. Last year, we recertified and achieved a B Corp score of 105.2, making us just one of a few B Corps around the world who are both a $1bn brand and have a score of over 100. We now have the privilege of being a standard-setter, so can shout louder about the change we want to see in the world and inspire others to join us.
For instance, we’re part of the Better Business Act Coalition, a movement of UK businesses pushing for the introduction of legislation that will transform the way we do business, so that every single company in the UK, whether big or small, takes ownership of its social and environmental impact. And we’ll be urging Good Business Festival attendees to support the campaign.
A last piece of advice for those on the good business journey – never sit still. There is always more that can be done. At innocent, we’re constantly striving to improve on our responsible business achievements and to do more for our communities and environment. We’ve just built our own super sustainable factory in Rotterdam. Not only is it one of the world’s first carbon neutral factories, built with sustainable and locally sourced materials but it will also be the first WELL-certified factory in the world. As a business, we’re committed to being carbon neutral by 2025.
Change can happen on many different scales though and there will be a responsible business approach that’s right for your size of business – one that helps to strengthen your brand and bolster your influence. The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to go it alone. Power comes in being part of a wider force for good.
Emilie is part of our ‘New Narrators – Who’s Writing the Rules’ session.
The Good Business Festival is passionately non-exclusive. It’s not about what you do or who you know. It’s not about agreeing on everything all of the time. It’s about everyone working towards a better world – no matter where you’re starting from.