Cosmetics retailer The Body Shop has achieved B Corp status – in part thanks to linking the certification to staff bonuses. Achieving B Corp status requires companies to amend their governance structures to legally recognise the interests of stakeholders beyond their shareholders, and to pass an in-depth assessment administered by the non-profit B Lab. There are currently more than 3,000 certified B Corps in 60 countries – including The Body Shop’s new owner Natura, which is itself one of the largest B Corps in the world.
Christopher Davis, international director of corporate social responsibility and campaigns at The Body Shop, said the company decided to link achieving certification to its 2019 annual bonus scheme. This meant staff would see their bonus cut if B Corp status was not achieved. Davis said the move to involve all its staff meant the end goal was considered in every financial update. “It really mattered… it bought into the heart of the business.”
Achieving B Corp certification is an achievement in itself, but in doing so The Body Shop has also created a new model for reaching its ethical goals. Founded by human rights activist Anita Roddick in 1976, The Body Shop has a long history of mission-driven business, but its previous acquisition by L’Oréal was seen in some quarters as a “sell-out” of its principles. Embedding the B Corp agenda into its day-to-day KPIs is transforming the way employees see the organisations social and environmental goals, and how they are woven into the fabric of the business.