The team’s visit to a stormy Anthropy
Hear from the B Lab UK team on the ground, Jane, Lucy, and Ellie, on what they found most inspiring about the event.
On the week the UK was taken down by Storm Ciarán, 2,000 leaders from across the UK headed to the Eden Project in Cornwall for Anthropy — an annual event aimed at inspiring a better vision for Britain. The extreme weather was a poignant reminder of the urgent work that needs to be done to solve the world’s most pressing challenges on climate.
Attendees from business, civil society, and policy were united in (raincoats and) the common goal to create a country that’s more positive, sustainable, equitable, and ultimately successful. Panel discussions took place in the biomes, serving as the perfect backdrop for the conversations which centred around people and the planet.
B Lab UK had a space where people could learn about the B Corp movement and the Better Business Act. We asked the B Lab UK team on the ground, Jane, Lucy, and Ellie, to share what they found most inspiring about the event.
Jane Wells, Head of Community:
Thursday afternoon, in the midst of the rain, the event that had my seat was ‘The Power of Brands’ hosted by the Marketing Society.
As consumers we’re fully aware of the immense influence that brands hold and how they can shape and change our behaviours for the better or worse. The event began with a thought provoking question: “Give us an example of a fantastic brand and how it’s creating a positive impact on Britain.” I eagerly awaited the responses, thinking we’d be inspired by a well-known giant.
An enthusiastic audience member shouted out, “Elvis and Kresse, a group of highly skilled crafts people making beautiful bags from fire hoses… and they’re a certified B Corp.” The presenter stopped, “A B Corp, put your hand up if you’ve never heard of B Corp.” Not a single hand went up in the room. Clearly delighted with the audience's level of knowledge she ended with an infectious smile, “Now there’s a brand we can all trust.”
Lucy Brown, Sustainability Analyst:
A talk that stood out to me was ‘Nature on the Board: Giving nature a voice and a vote’, hosted by certified B Corp Faith in Nature alongside Lawyers for Nature. After asking themselves, “how can we make nature the boss of our company?”, they’ve actually done it.
With the help of Lawyers for Nature, Faith in Nature has legally appointed Nature to their board and they now ask “what would nature say?” when making any business decision.
There was even a chair between the moderator and the panellists left empty for (or filled by!) Nature itself. Given the talk was held in the Mediterranean Biome amongst a wide variety of thriving plants, it was easy to feel Nature’s presence in the discussion.
The company has amended its articles of association to include, alongside promoting the success of the company, a long term duty to Nature. They’ve also appointed a non-executive director to speak on behalf of Nature and behave as a ‘Nature Guardian’. The Nature Guardian can call on a committee of experts to assist with the decision making.
Innovative governance structures like these are pushing the bar high on best practice for purpose driven business, by putting all stakeholders, in this case the environment, physically in the room when making responsible decisions. We can get so much inspiration from within the community; B Corps are often finding new ways of doing positive business and encouraging each other to be even better.
Ellie Adamson, Communications Coordinator:
A highlight of Anthropy for me had to be the panel discussion hosted by B Lab UK. As the B Corp movement enters the biggest phase in the evolution of its standards, Anthropy provided a brilliant opportunity to tell the world (or the Eden Project) about how the new B Corp performance requirements will enable businesses to play their part in building an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative world. A massive shout out to our speakers Sarah, John, Char, and Judy!
The panel opened with an energiser to get everyone moving and excited for the conversation (focussing on the all important question of, “If you were adding a song to a playlist about the B Corp standards, which one would you choose?”). Speakers then moved onto talking about the role business plays in tackling the world’s most critical social and environmental crises, how leaders need to reframe how they think about impact, and how B Corps are feeling about the shift from flexible scoring to minimum standards in the B Impact Assessment. You can find out more about this here.
My favourite quote from the panel has to be from Charmian (Char) Love, Director of Advocacy, Natura &Co:
After all, what lies at the heart of the B Corp movement is continuous improvement and adapting to the challenges of tomorrow. What a great way to close the three days.