A Dream Realised: Personal Reflections on Avery & Brown’s B Corp Certification

There are certain moments in life when dreams crystallise into reality. For me, one such moment came at 3:54 pm on August 31, 2023. An email landed in our team inbox, and there it was: Avery & Brown had officially become a Certified B Corporation.

My B Corp dream

When I first stumbled upon B Corps, it was likely sometime between 2012 and 2016. I remember thinking, “So there is a framework out there for determining how good a company is to people and the planet.” But back then it felt like B Corps were more concept than commonplace – inspiring, but not yet integral to, or achievable for, mainstream business. Nevertheless, I was hooked.

The concept aligned so perfectly with my own aspirations that it morphed from a keen interest into a personal goal. The seeds were sown, and the dream of working for or, better still, setting up and running my own B Corp became the North Star on my entrepreneurial journey. And not for the badge, of course, but to fulfil my deep-rooted desire of working for a purpose-driven organisation and everything that would be involved in the journey along the way.

The genesis of Avery & Brown

When Tim and I sketched out our vision for Avery & Brown in my garden shed back in 2020, a B Corp Certification was always part of that blueprint. It wasn’t just an afterthought; it was a cornerstone. We wanted to create not just a good company, but a great one – a business committed to addressing global challenges, from climate change and biodiversity loss to social injustice and systemic discrimination.

Less than a year into our journey, we started using the term ‘regenerative business’ as something we aspired to be. For us, ‘sustainable business’ was not enough. Not even close. The scientific consensus tells us it’s way too late in the day for that.

There are some very academic definitions for regenerative business, but for us it was simple: we wanted to be a business that helped to actively restore and regenerate Earth. One which would give back more to society and the planet than it took. We announced our intention of being a regenerative business in this blog post, on 28th April 2021.

A score that demonstrates our commitment

Our “amazing score” (that’s how someone at B Lab itself described it to us at a recent event) of 107.6 is concrete proof of our total commitment to being a better business and the fact that our road to B Corp Certification really did start on Day One. You can see a breakdown of our score here.

Each sustainable or regenerative business goal we have met, no matter how small, has come with its own sense of victory and a reaffirmation of our values. Each little milestone has reminded me of everything we’ve done and achieved on our three-year journey to date. It feels like it has all been leading to this point.

In reality, of course, this is just the beginning…

Working towards a brighter future

Being a Certified B Corporation is not the end of the road; it’s more of a new beginning.

We hope it might open doors for us such as potential partnerships with other B Corps, opportunities to get our services featured in sustainability-focused media outlets, and invitations to participate in events and initiatives within the regenerative business community. Most importantly, however, I believe our certification will allow us to further align our business operations with our company values of Activism, Cathedral Thinking, Generosity, Circularity, and Using Both Brains. (I’ll explore our values in more detail in a future post.)

This isn’t a destination; it’s an exciting continuation of a journey that first began in 2009 and that was rekindled in my garden shed in 2020. I hope the path we’re on will lead us towards even greater things and more positive impact for people and the planet.

As always, huge thanks to our incredible tribe that has supported us along the way and whose endless encouragement and optimism know no bounds. We couldn’t do it without you.