First Wealth attained B Corporation (B Corp) certification in August 2020.
Sounds great, but what is a “B Corp”?
A B Corp is a private certification (similar to the LEED certification in green building or Fair Trade certification goods) that signals a company meets a threshold for environmental and social performance.
B Corp certification means the company has a well-integrated commitment to stakeholders in its governing documents to balance purpose and profit.
Current numbers suggest there are a little under 4,000 Certified B Corporation companies, spanning 150 industries across 74 countries.
Getting B Corp certification
To get the certification, B Lab evaluated all areas of the business, covering every aspect of our:
- Energy use Recycling policy
- Remuneration structure
- Investment philosophy
- Employee benefits
- Exam policy
- Involvement in our local community
- Pro bono work
- External suppliers
- Employee contracts
These are just a few of the factors considered before a company can be awarded an overall holistic score.
Questions asked in the B Impact Assessment cover five areas: Governance, Workers, Community, Environment, and Customers, which and also takes a company's size, sector and geographic market into consideration.
Last summer, we set ourselves the challenge of changing the perception of financial services in the UK forever.
At the time, Anthony Villis wrote, “I am focused on making First Wealth the very best business we can be,” and, in gaining B Corp status, B Lab examined every angle of the business. “From employee benefits to carbon footprints, to how often we speak to our customers,” Villis wrote, “no stone was left unturned.”
At First Wealth, we work hard to be great financial planners, but we also want to strive to do good. We are focusing our efforts on building a business that does more for our clients, our employees, the environment, and our community.
5 ways being a B Corp benefits First Wealth clients
- It sets us apart from the crowd
- It allows us to show our authentic vision to align money with values
- It signals stronger alignment with the values many of our clients share
- It signals our intentions and foresight in how we show up in the world
- It positions us inside a community of other businesses aligned with our values.
We support, encourage, and strive for lasting change
Since attaining our B Corp status, we have made significant steps to improve employee wellbeing, made moves to expand the choices our clients have over how and where their money is invested, and taken positive steps to limit our impact on the environment.
To give you an idea of what these changes are, here are the top 10 things we have introduced since August 2020:
- We’ve moved everyone to a completely flexible working arrangement
- Cutting down on travel
- Giving our people more time with their families
- Allowing more time for leisure.
All employees have a monthly wellness budget through Heka, which they can spend on:
- Health food
- Personal development
- We’ve set up ESG portfolios so clients can choose to invest in a more sustainable fashion.
- We calculated our CO2 emissions
We fully offset scope 1 and scope 2 emissions via the CommuniTree project in Nicaragua:
- Scope 1 emissions – direct emissions caused by facilities or equipment a company owns or controls
- Scope 2 emissions – indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy. Like most corporations, we get our energy from a public utility and don't have the resources to generate our own electricity.
- Moved to 100% recycled energy via Bulb
- We plant 30 trees for each new client we work with
- We now use recycled loo roll via Who Gives a Crap, a B Corp certified company who donate 50% of profits to build toilets and improve sanitation in areas that need help. So far, Who Gives a Crap have donated over £4.5 million to help provide proper sanitation for the two billion people in need.
- Were investing in Let’s Talk About Money, our financial education brand:
- Hosted on Instagram, Let’s Talk About Money helps spread the word about good financial planning and avoiding bad mistakes.
- With 6,322 followers already, the project is gathering pace and continues to grow every month.
Want to know more about what it means to be a B Corp? Read on.
B Corps – a potted history
B Corps first started appearing in the US, in 2007. The initiative launched in the UK eight years later, in 2015. There are currently more than 400 B Corp businesses in the UK and this number is rising all the time.
British B Corps are spread over 48 industries, have 22,000 employees, and have a combined revenue of £4.3 billion.
Why more financial planners should seek B Corp certification
Asides from the obvious social good that can come from becoming a B Corp business, data has shown that:
- 72% of people in the UK believe business should have a legal responsibility to people and the planet, alongside maximising profit.
- 76% of people in the UK think business should have a legal responsibility to protect the natural environment.
- 72% of people in the UK believe capitalism is harmful or not working properly, although most people can’t envision an alternative system.
B Corp businesses are in good company
For First Wealth, one of the biggest benefits of becoming a B Corp is the wider connection to other great businesses that share our passion to do good.
"The positivity, collaboration, diversity of experience, innovation, and joy of being part of a global community that shares your core values and a clear sense of purpose inspires, motivates, and energises us to continue to develop and do better every day." – Anthony Villis
Being part of this community of forward-thinking businesses puts us in the perfect position to expose the world of financial planning to other sectors and allows us to share knowledge and receive fresh insight.
Working together, the B Corp community aims to reduce inequality, decrease levels of poverty, provide a healthier environment and build stronger communities. By creating more high-quality jobs, B Corps harness the power of business and use profits and growth to a greater end; creating positive impact for their employees, communities, and the environment.
Household names such as Propercorn, JoJo Maman Bebe, Abel & Cole and Innocent Drinks are all B Corp certified.
The Jamie Oliver Group gained their B Corp certification in July 2020. Oliver says that the certification provides the "ideal framework to pursue our campaign goal of halving childhood obesity by 2030". Jamie Oliver recently shared progress of his business since becoming a B Corp company.
If you are interested in finding out more about our B Corp status and how we can help you create an ethically sound financial plan, please get in touch. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7467 2700.