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This Way Forward: Good & Proper's B Corp journey

At the end of 2023, we became a certified B Corp, proudly joining over 7,800 other businesses on a mission to use Business as a Force for Good™. This month we join those businesses in celebrating B Corp Month, a global campaign run every year to celebrate what it means to be a B Corp. The theme for 2024 is ‘This Way Forward’, and focuses on showing the world how we, as B Corps, are always focused on growing our impact. After all, the certification is not an endpoint, but an invitation to join the journey towards better business.

Our B Corp certification helps us demonstrate to our customers and the wider community that we are a business committed to high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. But it is also an invaluable framework for us to use internally.

Using its 5 key impact areas - Governance, Workers, Community, Environment and Customers - we can set tangible goals for our team to work on that will move us forward and help us increase our impact as we grow. This focus should help us improve our score when we recertify in 3 years (a requirement of maintaining our B Corp status), serving as a measure of the forward trajectory that we are on.

With that in mind, we wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on our journey so far, and outline some of our key goals for the year ahead.

What are we already doing well?

We are incredibly proud of our starting score of 97.1, which is a testament to how we have endeavoured to ‘do things properly’ from the outset. Here are some of the highlights:

We scored highly on Governance - the impact area that evaluates a company’s overall mission and engagement around its social and environmental impact, ethics and transparency. Arguably one of the most important areas, it focuses on the very system of rules, practices and processes by which a business operates. From policies around ethics and financial transparency to treating our social and environmental impact as a primary measure of success, we are proud to have a framework that guides how we behave as a business. Most importantly, we have amended our Articles of Association to formally embed impact into our corporate governance. This ‘mission-lock’ is a legal amendment that ensures that the interests of all stakeholders (Employees, Community, Environment and Customers), not just shareholders, are considered in key decision-making.

We also benchmarked highly for Workers, particularly for our size. Our team might be small now, but we wanted to lay foundations for the business that we want to be in the future, when our headcount will be much higher. We have therefore worked hard to ensure that Good & Proper is a positive, collaborative and supportive workplace, where relationships within the team, regardless of position, are based on mutual respect. Whether looking after employee wellbeing through flexible working and access to award-winning, private healthcare, or financial transparency and being a Living Wage employer, we are incredibly proud of the policies and processes we have put in place so far to ensure that our team feel supported, motivated and, most importantly, valued.

Finally, we were proud to see a good score on Environment. Work in this area is always ongoing, particularly as the challenges of climate change, policies and infrastructure continue to evolve, yet it was great to be recognised for our overall approach to environmental management. Despite being a small business, we already have policies and commitments in place to both guide our internal decision-making, as well as to share with customers, hopefully encouraging others in our wider network to do the same. From our comprehensive carbon footprinting project to choosing our packaging materials, the environment has been an ‘always-on’ project for us since the beginning, and as we grow, minimising our environmental impact will remain at the heart of our day-to-day decision-making.

So what’s next?

Despite plenty to be proud of thus far, the B Impact Assessment also helps gives us a picture of where we can do better. Those areas will form the basis of our plans for the years to come.

Our next Impact Report, due to be shared in the next few weeks, will fully outline our plans for the year ahead, but here are some of the areas we will be focusing on in 2024:

Industry Collaboration

As a small player in a large, mature industry, we believe our role is to help set a new standard for tea. We do this in part by simply getting more people to drink ‘good’ tea (therefore moving demand away from cheap, commodity tea), but other examples of how we hope to do this this year are:

  • Joining the Ethical Tea Partnership - a global membership organisation working to tackle tea’s most pressing issues across economics, equality, and the environment. By being part of this community, we hope to benefit from the shared wisdom within the industry and offer a new voice in the conversation around the challenges that tea faces and the best way forward.
  • Sharing data - our work with carbon partner Zevero on measuring our climate impact is comprehensive and and in some ways our approach is ahead of our much larger competitors, many of whom fail to report their supply chain emissions. In the short term, we aim to push for better quality data, helping us to drive this agenda within the wider industry, encouraging the sharing of primary emissions data from tea estates across the globe, and ultimately working together on decarbonisation plans at a farm level.

Integrated Reporting

We have been measuring, monitoring and tracking our environmental performance for some time. Still, we are only now in the rhythm of sharing this data publicly in any formal way, and holding ourselves accountable for the goals within. In the coming weeks, we will share our first Impact Report for 2022-23, which we hope will do just that. Furthermore, we will ensure that we publish our 23-24 report earlier, as a fully integrated part of our Annual Report. Doing so will allow us to demonstrate our commitment to evaluating business performance beyond traditional financial metrics, ensuring our stakeholders can review not only our financial success, but also the social, environmental, and governance aspects of the business alongside. It will also encourage us to make better, more informed decisions and ultimately support the long-term sustainability of Good & Proper.

Packaging evolution

How we choose to package our products is an ever-evolving project. We are proud of our work over the last 5 years to remove plastic from our Retail range, opting instead for natural, renewable materials. The next area for improvement is our Foodservice packaging, which is a little more challenging due to the size and volume of tea it has to hold. This time, we are taking a more comprehensive approach to identifying the best solution for the range moving forward:

  • We are performing a full review of available materials within the UK and overseas, looking to other industries outside of Food & Drink for inspiration too
  • We are gathering primary data from our Foodservice partners around waste disposal to ensure any solution fits within our partners’ waste streams
  • We have engaged UK Waste Management companies to understand the challenges and limitations they face
  • We have looked at where government legislation is headed around waste to ensure any proposals are future-proofed.

Through this project, we aim to minimise our packaging’s environmental impact and, perhaps more importantly, educate our customers and competitors on what ‘good’ now looks like. We hope this will help us all work together to reduce the waste that tea and coffee packaging inevitably creates in the Hospitality industry.

There are plenty of other ways in which we hope to drive the business forward this year (we’re going to be as busy as ever!) so sign up to our newsletter or follow us on socials to stay up to date with where we’re at, and keep an eye out for our Impact Report in the coming weeks.



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