Oakland International makes B Corp submission ‘to be a force for good’

27th Jul

Total supply chain solutions specialist Oakland International has demonstrated its commitment as a business to benefit people, communities and the planet by taking the first step in the B Corp certification process.

Certified B Corporations, or B Corps, are companies verified by B Lab that meet exacting standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability.

Oakland International sustainability manager Vera Bruntink said: “We are all absolutely delighted to have reached this point, and as far as we are aware, Oakland International will be the first temperature-controlled supply chain operator in the UK to achieve certification, having begun the assessment process about a year ago.

“For many businesses trying to attain B Corp certification initial scores tend to be below the 80-point threshold, whereas Oakland’s existing good practices put them immediately over the threshold so we have submitted our application now and will work towards increasing our score further during the evaluation waiting queue, a period which may take up to a year.”

A fast-growing global movement, there are more than 5,000 B Corps across 82 countries, with more than 700 in the UK. The B Corp movement aims to bring about a systemic change of the global economic system, moving from profit-driven to a system that takes people and the planet into account alongside profit.

As a responsible business, attaining B Corp certification will be the official recognition of Oakland’s good practices, and mean that they will be legally accountable for their impacts, as the certification requires a legal change to the company’s overall structure. Several of Oakland’s customers are already B Corp certified or looking to become so as it offers greater opportunities for collaboration while helping to attract new business.

Vera added: “Environmental and social credentials have always been key to Oakland and are becoming increasingly important to our customers and consumers, with the likes of B Corp certification essential for growth.

“But B Corp is much more than a certification, it is a framework for best practice and continuous improvement, and a community of like-minded purposeful businesses that are trying to transform the global economy. Being part of this movement means we will have an endless source of inspiration and guidance to improve our environmental, social, and governance performances.

“Starting the certification now puts us ahead, with B Corp offering a unique way of thinking and cooperating across all levels of the business, with our suppliers and customers. It will also lead to better policies, guidance, and engagement, all aimed at creating positive change for everyone involved.”

Oakland International is a specialist in contract packing, storage, picking, food distribution, and a brand development support provider for ambient, chilled and frozen food to the retail, convenience, discount, wholesale and food service markets in the UK, Ireland and via its partner in Spain. It is also BRCGS AA accredited and a double Queen’s Award for Enterprise recipient for International Trade and Sustainable Development and at present working towards becoming the first carbon-neutral business within its sector.

“The certification process takes many months as it is extensive and rigorous, but we are hoping to obtain B Corp status by the end of 2023,” Vera said. “We believe that B Corp is the way forward, and we hope that many more companies will join us in ‘using business for good’.”

BusinessWorks West Midlands Issue 08

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