Are B Corps a good investment? Bridges releases new paper as the movement hits the UK

24th September 2015

B Corp is a global movement of companies looking to combine social and financial goals Today it launches officially in the UK, with an initial cohort of over 60 UK-based B Corps To coincide with the launch, Bridges Impact+ is publishing a new report entitled ‘To B Or Not To B’, which examines the arguments […]

  • B Corp is a global movement of companies looking to combine social and financial goals
  • Today it launches officially in the UK, with an initial cohort of over 60 UK-based B Corps
  • To coincide with the launch, Bridges Impact+ is publishing a new report entitled ‘To B Or Not To B’, which examines the arguments for investing in B Corps
  • Bridges Ventures recently certified as a B Corp, becoming the first UK fund manager to do so
  • Its ‘B Impact score’ ranks it in the top 20% of B Corps worldwide

Warby Parker, the innovative glasses maker; Etsy, the online crafts marketplace; Kickstarter, the crowdfunding platform; Natura, Brazil’s biggest cosmetics group; Patagonia, the ethical clothing brand. These outstanding businesses are just some of the 1,400+ companies around the world to have already certified as B Corporations – signalling their commitment to meeting higher standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability.

Today, Bridges Impact+, the advisory arm of Bridges Ventures – which recently achieved B Corp certification, becoming the first UK fund manager to do so – releases ‘To B Or Not To B’, a new report that explains what certification involves and examines whether B Corps represent an attractive investment proposition.

It considers the extent to which B Corp status can directly improve company performance and thus investor value – through competitive differentiation, improved resilience, best-in-class operating practices, stronger mission alignment and so on. And it looks at the challenges still facing the B Corp movement in order for these benefits to be fully realised – particularly in terms of taking the brand to a broader audience of consumers and investors, and fostering more collaboration within the community. It also considers whether the inherent B Corp ‘mission lock’ is a boon or a drawback to potential investors.

 

View the full report here.  (Screen version)  (Print version)

To B or Not To B

 

Michele Giddens, partner and co-founder of Bridges Ventures, said:

“At Bridges, we firmly believe that we’re witnessing a sea change in the way society thinks about the role of business, and the way business thinks about its role in society. We’ve always tried to be at the forefront of this movement in the UK, through our investments in high-growth, high-impact organisations, so it was an obvious decision for us to be part of this initial B Lab UK cohort. The global B Corp movement includes some of the most ambitious, innovative and progressive companies in the world; we look forward to working with them to share ideas and raise awareness about ‘profit with purpose’ business. And we hope this report can provide a useful investor perspective on the opportunities and challenges that B Corps present.”

The B Corp movement, which originally began in the U.S. and has since spread to more than 40 countries around the world, is intended to promote recognition of (and collaboration between) for-profit businesses that are trying to pursue social and environmental as well as financial goals. Research suggests that growing number of entrepreneurs are adopting this approach, recognising that it can be a source of competitive advantage with consumers, investors and potential employees.

Today, B Lab, the U.S.-based not-for-profit organisation behind the B Corp movement, is launching a UK arm. Bridges will be one of the initial cohort of more than 60 UK business to have certified as a B Corp; others include Cook, the frozen food delivery business, Charity Bank, which lends to charities and social enterprises, and Elvis & Kresse, which makes luxury goods out of upcycled materials like decommissioned fire hoses.

Companies who wish to be certified as B Corps go through an in-depth assessment process, which focuses primarily on five key areas: governance, workers, community, environment and business

model. Only those applicants who score above the median score of 80 (out of a maximum 200) receive B Corp certification. Companies are then re-assessed every two years, both to ensure that they are maintaining standards, and also to recognise the progress they have made against their target goals.

Bridges scored particularly highly for its business model (whereby impact considerations are factored into every investment decision); its impact on communities and the environment (since 2002, its investments have, for example, collectively diverted 1.5m tonnes of waste from landfill and supported over 3,000 jobs) and its governance model (the Bridges Charitable Trust has a golden share in the fund manager, which ‘mission-locks’ Bridges’ social and environmental aims in perpetuity). Its overall ‘B Impact’ score of 147 places it in the top 20% of B Corps globally.

 

Contacts:

Bridges Ventures

Michele Giddens/Marina Aung: +44 (0) 20 3780 8000

 

–ENDS–

 

Notes to editors

About Bridges Impact+ (www.bridgesventures.com/impact-plus)

Impact+ is Bridges’ practitioner-led advisory group. It has three functions: to help the fund teams analyse and maximise the social and environmental impact of their investments; to provide strategic advice and practical guidance to external clients looking to better understand this area; and to produce independent research and analysis that supports the growth of the broader sustainable and impact investment sector.

About Bridges Ventures (www.bridgesventures.com)

Bridges Ventures LLP (“Bridges”) is a specialist fund manager focused exclusively on sustainable and impact investment, with offices in London and New York. It invests in high-impact SMEs, properties and social organisations that can generate superior returns for both investors and society as a whole, focusing on four key impact ‘themes’: health & wellbeing, education, sustainable living and under-served markets. It manages almost £600 million across its Sustainable Growth, Property and Social Sector funds.

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