Chris Evans

17th June 2021


B Corp companies - how to balance ethical business with corporate success

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A movement is underway towards more ethical and sustainable business. A growing number of companies, across all sectors, are redefining how business success is measured and building a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable economy.

Certified B Corporations, or B Corp, are businesses that strive to meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability to best balance profit and purpose. B Corps even amend their legal governing documents to require their board to balance commercial performance with societal benefit.

Companies that aspire to B Corp accreditation must successfully and openly balance human, environmental, and societal requirements against the demands of shareholders seeking increased values and a return on their investment.

But are companies sacrificing a portion of their potential commercial success to what some consider “commercial wokeness”, or is the noble quest towards B Corp status actual self-funding and the secret to future success amid changing consumer habits?  

The following are three excellent examples of B Corp accredited UK companies that are tapping into ethically-driven consumer purchasing decisions to achieve higher values and stronger performance than more traditional rivals:

Brewdog Plc

B Corp rating:                                                 81.8

Plimsoll rating:                                              Stable

5-year Plimsoll Valuation increase:         330%

The UK’s largest and most recognisable brewer of craft beer, the success story of Brewdog seems to know no bounds. With a stable performance rating from Plimsoll, the company appears to be laying the foundations for further growth in the near term. The challenge will be to achieve enough growth to warrant the risk. However, the rate of growth in the value of Brewdog over the past 5 years marks it out as a company managing to retain their ethos in a period of massive growth.

Brewdog’s focus on sustainability and ensuring their brewing processes remain carbon neutral has seen them sit among the largest companies to be B Corp certified in the UK. While recent claims about a toxic culture may affect the company’s B Corp rating, their ability to balance an amazing growth rate against an awareness of their social and ecological responsibilities marks the company out as a real British success story.

Plimsoll’s latest assessment of the UK brewers market shows an industry struggling for any growth in the latest year and profit margins being squeezed. 


B Corp rating:                                                 81.4

Plimsoll rating:                                              Strong

5-year Plimsoll Valuation increase:         12%

With a mission to get the country drinking real tea again, TeaPigs have carved a niche for real leaf, high quality tea that commands a premium. The company is hitting all the right financial notes. Plimsoll’s latest assessment of the company shows a company making double digit profit margins in each of the last 5 years and richly deserving their strong performance rating.  

The company’s commitment to ethical sourcing, The Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP) membership, Rainforest Alliance certification, and a dedication to plastic free and carbon neutral produce has seen the company achieve their B Corp status.

Growth in the company has slowed slightly but is still ahead of the wider UK Tea market. The latest Plimsoll Analysis on the UK industry shows TeaPigs comfortably beating all KPI’s on growth, profit, financial performance, and value. They are a fine example of a business balancing ethical trading while increasing their value.

Plimsoll’s latest assessment of the UK tea market, another low growth market with narrow profit margins, shows that TeaPigs is managing to outperform on all measures. 

Epicurean Dairy (UK) Ltd

B Corp rating:                                                 80.3

Plimsoll rating:                                               Strong

5-year Plimsoll Valuation increase:         8%

Originally started in New Zealand but now firmly entrenched in the UK, the company exists for one simple purpose, “create an extraordinary yoghurt with an unbeatable taste”. With a strong performance rating from Plimsoll, the company is succeeding in a fiercely competitive yoghurt category against some of the world’s largest companies.

Their “The Collective” range of premium yoghurts has seen sales double over the last five years while the overall dairy products market is struggling for growth above 1% in the same period. Although a slight fall in profit has reduced overall business value in the latest year, the equity value of the business remains up 8% over 5 years.

A dedication to being the most sustainable dairy on earth, donating a minimum percentage of revenue to charity, enhancing employee care provisions and legally enshrining their commitment to ethics and sustainability have seen Epicurean Dairy become B Corp certified. Their ability to balance corporate responsibility against an ambitious growth trajectory is admirable.

Plimsoll’s latest assessment of the UK dairy market shows Epicurean as an outlier in a low margin, heavily congested industry. 

B Corp companies are a growing movement disrupting a broad range of industries from outdoor equipment to ice cream to investment management and beyond. Whatever variations in product or service offered, these companies offer an ethical, purpose-based alternative to the rest of their traditional market, and in many cases are reaping great rewards with higher business valuations.

How do the values of openly ethical companies in your market compare to the rest and which companies are more exposed to any disruptive new trends? The Plimsoll Analysis is designed to give you an instant snapshot of the value, performance, and longevity of every company in any market.

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