ESG: Focus on the 318 certified French B Corp companies

ESG: Focus on the 318 certified French B Corp companies

To respond to social and environmental issues, more and more French companies are engaging in an ESG certification process. Today we focus on B Corp label, held by 6,776 companies worldwide, of which 318 are French (as of 6 July 2023). Why B Corp? Because it is the Label most frequently obtained by companies with a French mission (9% of them). Furthermore, this label allows them to be part of an international community that shares the same social and governance commitments. An additional asset for the international growth of French companies and brands.

Image credit: B Lab – B Corp

What is B Corp certification?

B Corp certification (for Benefit Corporation) was created in the United States in 2006. It is a mark granted to companies to certify their efforts and commitments. social, social and environmental. Indicates that a company adheres to high standards of verified performance, accountability and transparency.

Before being certified, companies must first answer the 200 questions in the questionnaire BIA (B Impact Assessment, a free tool, in English). Refers to 5 areas : corporate governance, employees, customers, community and environment. For the (paid) certification lasting 3 years, a minimum score of 80 points is required, verified by B Lab (and its affiliates in each country). Certificates are part of the «top 5%» companies of their size.

B Corp is managed by an independent international organization, Laboratory B and its local offices( in France). This certification is therefore particularly interesting for companies with an international presence.

French companies can also, starting from the PACTE law of 2019, adopt the legal status ofmission-driven company (or mission-driven company). It allows them to put their business at the service of a social or environmental mission.

At the end of 2022, the course of 1000 mission-driven companies has been exceeded (Barometer of the Observatory of mission-driven companies). 9% of these mission-driven companies have a ESG certification (AS B Corp for 59 companies i.e. 6%, or the LUCIE label, Positive Workplace, the AFNOR Engaged CSR label). Because the two approaches are complementary. “Business with a mission” to transform your organization (or since its creation in 40% of cases) and “B Corp” to be part of an international community committed to ESG issues (and find customers, suppliers and collaborators).

(Image credit: Missionary Works Observatory)

How many certified B Corp companies are there in France?

The following data is taken from the B Corp certified companies search engine: (as of July 6, 2023)

  • There are 727 certified B Corp companies listed on French territory.
  • Not 318 who has are based in France or have French subsidiaries international groups (in particular subsidiaries of Danone).
  • And 15 companies are in the certification phase.

Are French B Corps large groups or VSE-SMEs?

In France and around the world, B Corp certification is of interest numerous small and medium-sized structures. Including startups right from their creation. Because it offers them an international business card and a framework to grow sustainably.

Therefore, of the 318 French B Corps, more than two thirds (70%) have done so between 0 and 49 employees (76% globally).

But France stands out from the rest of the world a greater number of SMEs : 19.5% have between 50 and 249 employees (62 companies). More than the global average of 15%.

And more companies from more than 1000 employees (16, o 5% certified companies compared to 1.8% globally).

In which sectors are French B Corp companies certified?

There are 318 active French companies or certified French branches 73 sectors (among the 160 sectors surveyed by B Corp worldwide).

Here is the TOP 3 of the sectors represented:

  • No. 1: food products (Foodstuffs)

8% of French B Corps (26), which also corresponds to the representation of the sector at a global level.

  • #2: Management Consulting (Management Consultant – For Profit)

7.5% (24 companies), just over 6.3% overall.

  • #3: information services (Other information service activities)

6.3% (20 companies). In this 3th A somewhat all-encompassing category: we find consultancy agencies in communications, advertising, online media and a well-known marketplace. This perhaps explains why globally this category is half as represented as in France 3% of companies (202). It is therefore difficult to find a partner or supplier with simple filtering, you will have to search by keywords!

Focus on the food products of French B Corp

Among the 26 listed companies, the group Ecotone (former name Wessanen, brands Bjorg, Bonneterre, Clipper, Whole Earth, Allos, Alter Eco) and its subsidiary Bjorg et Compagnie. In 2022, Ecotone became the highest ranked company in the B Corp Food category among the top 10 large global companies. Impact B Score: 116.5 out of 200.

But also Danone Fresh Products France (brings together 5 production sites and 1,700 dairy producers) and 3 Danone branches: Les Prés Rint Organic (the 2 Cows brand), Bledina, Michel and Agostino.

Valrhonaof which 100% of the cocoa is attributable to the producers.

Superproducer, a brand and platform that connects food sector operators (local shops and bars, hotels, restaurants) with farmers who produce recipes under the Superproducteur brand. More than 1,200 points of sale in France.

Happy Vore (ex-Les Nouveaux Fermiers). A French brand of plant-based alternatives to meat.

Natural. Since 1973 organic pioneer in France. More than 220 stores.

Nxtfood. Startup from the Hauts de France which markets the ACCRO brand of vegetable steaks, has received financing of 40 million euros since the creation of the company in 2019, of which an extension of 10 million in July 2023.

Focus on management consultancy for French B Corp

Of the 24 companies listed, New angles, consultancy agency for the transition towards sustainability, resilience and regeneration. B Corp certified since 2015. Actionable, the sustainable AI consultancy specialist. Or the Innovation Agency Scintilla Laboratory whose two co-founders come from the sports sector as responsible for innovation, research and development and marketing.

Focus on the information services of French B Corp

Among the 20 very diverse companies in this category, there are two new B Corp certified in 2023. The communications agency Nikita. Et Back market Back marketthe first marketplace dedicated to refurbished products, certified B Corp in March 2023.

(Source: B Corp, Back Market file)

The large “class of 2022” included 9 new certificates, with consultancy agencies, media and IT specialists: A point, Loopsider, Capfi, Folly, Cloud 9 creative laboratoryL’Agency ODDS for consultancy on CSR strategy, Kairos Agency, The girls and boys of technologyand the advertising agency Notchup. Pioneering agencies are Aggelos (communication, certified in 2015) e Sidies (advertising, certified in 2016).

Which other digital marketing and retail players are B Corp certified in France?

B Corp does not offer filters on a category “digital marketing”. And as we have just seen, some categories bring together very different actors. So we had to dig a little to find more players in our ecosystem, with in-store and online retail, advertising and social networks.

  • Publishing software and SaaS platforms.

14 companies (4% of certified B Corp France). Including startup Greenly, carbon footprint specialist for SMEs. AND comerso, a digital platform dedicated to the recovery of unsold food and non-food waste from the food and distribution industries. Impacts at the end of 2022: 131 million equivalent meals for associations. Over 80,200 tons of goods saved from garbage. 136 million euros in savings accumulated by customers. (Commerce data)

(Comerso image)
  • Other retail

7 companies (2.2%). Of which Nature and discoveries (certified since 2015), the fashion house Chloeand garden centres Scammer.

  • Advertising and market research

6 companies (1.9%). The digital communication agency 148. Connected, CSR consultancy agency. The good companycreative and responsible agency founded in 2019. Goodthe solidarity alternative to advertising (60% of media investments are raised for the beneficiary partners). Switch, forecasting and strategy agency (certified B Corp in January 2023). L’Initial agencypress relations specialist for the ecological and social transition sector (certified in May 2023).

  • Social networks and information sharing

5 companies (1.5%). The crowdfunding platform Howls. The media Welcome to the jungle et Ugly. The innovation community Momentum/The Napoleons. The committed communication agency YZ Paris.

  • Web portals (Web portals)

5 companies (1.5%). The busy image bank Pic&Select. In love with which democratizes circular fashion by bringing together and digitizing premium vintage apparel curated from over 2,500 passionate professional suppliers. To fadethe tour operator marketplace that connects travelers with local agencies. Aladom, a connection platform for local services. The digital strategy consultancy agency Vocal.

  • General retailing via the Internet

Only two French companies. CAMIF MATELSOM, a mission-driven company specializing in online furniture sales. It was one of the first B Corp certified companies in France in 2015. Act of the dream, eco-responsible promotional items, designed and manufactured with respect for people and the environment. In the same promotional items market we have also identified two other companies classified in other categories: Gifts for change (classified in wholesale – Wholesale/retail) recognized “Best for the World” by B Corp (in 2021 and 2022) and SAMM TRADE (classified in the Management Consultant category).

Séverine Godet

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