There are thousands of certified B Corps across the globe. Some familiar brands you may recognise are:
- The Body Shop
- Innocent Drinks
More and more companies are making an effort to deliver high standards of business to society. Even during the global pandemic, brands worked hard to make a positive impact on the world.
For businesses to meet high standards of performance, accountability, and public transparency, many are turning to B Corp. There are over 800 UK companies from 57 different industries with B Corp status.
But what exactly is B Corp? And how can we help you meet the standards it sets out? Discover what it takes to become B Corp certified and how your employee benefits play an important role.
B Corp (B Corporation) is a new business model. Companies have to meet certain standards set out by the B Lab. By meeting these standards, B Corp Certification is awarded.
While business profitability is important, B Corp’s focus is using resources for the greater good. The global movement aims to balance profit and purpose in business operations. From employee benefits to charitable giving and environmental impact, companies who qualify want to redefine success.
B Corp status is awarded to companies for high social and environmental performance. Businesses receive certification by getting a certain number of points on the B Impact assessment.
Think of B Corp Certification the same as Fair Trade Certification. It’s for the entire business, though, not just product production and supply.
What exactly does the ‘B’ in B Corp mean? There are many suggestions for the meaning, but it’s derived from ‘benefit corporation’. This means different things to different people. It can stand for ‘beneficial’ or ‘better’, symbolising a business’ goal to improve socially and environmentally.
To achieve B Corp status, companies have to complete the B Impact assessment. The B Lab, a group of analysts working in the non-profit behind B Corp, will then look at the test answers. This is where they assess the company’s impact on society. Businesses must score at least 80 points to become a B Corp.
The assessment includes questions about your policies, operations, employees, and environmental impact.
There are five main areas:
The number of questions you have to answer will depend on how many employees you have and your sector. It also includes a disclosure questionnaire.
Data must be from the last 12 months, so your company needs to have operated for a year before applying. Once you get B Corp status, recertification is necessary every three years. You have to update your B Impact Assessment with your most current metrics and practices. This then has to be submitted before your recertification date. You’ll lose your status if you fail to meet set criteria.
There are many reasons to achieve certification. Here’s how it can benefit your business:
The B Impact Assessment (BIA) looks at how your business contributes to your staff’s wellbeing. This is one of the key focus areas of the BIA, which is why your company’s employee benefits are a vital component. Some of the key areas you are evaluated on include helping your employees with their:
While profitability and return on investment are common success factors, the BIA looks at many more areas.
As we’re an employee benefits consultancy, this is the area of the BIA we’ll be focusing on. Here, we’ll look at the different employee benefits and how they can help your score.
Do you offer your employees a good retirement programme? This is an important area of the BIA. The B Lab takes your pension offerings into consideration.
Analysts will look at whether your employees have access to:
Being able to tick these on your B Assessment can help improve your score. By supporting your employees’ retirement plans, you’re helping to improve their financial stability.
A pension scheme is an invaluable employee benefit, but there’s a lot to consider for it to be successful by B Corp standards.
Think about these:
The law requires a 3% employer pension contribution. But you can go above and beyond by increasing contributions, and boost your B Impact assessment score as a result. Contributing more as an employer increases how valuable your employees’ pensions are.
At Drewberry™, we show employers and employees what to expect from a pension scheme. Our team can also ensure your employees get the most from a pension and provide the expert pension advice so many need.
Pension & Investment Adviser
Workplace pensions are a legal requirement for employers. But a large number don’t know the different options available to them. By better understanding the schemes, a mandatory practice becomes a really powerful benefit. For example, not all workplace pensions take advantage of a salary sacrifice set up. This results in missing out on Income Tax and National Insurance (NI) savings.
There are different types of salary sacrifice—SMART or Simple.
SMART (save more and reduce tax) schemes increase the amount paid into an employee’s pension, without reducing take-home pay. They get the same take-home pay they would have got if pension contributions were from net pay.
Take this example:
An employee that earns £35,000 a year sacrifices 5% of their income as pension contributions. Their employer contributes 3%. Without a SMART arrangement, the total yearly pension contribution is £2,800.
Now, if the employee decides to sacrifice their 5% from their salary before taxation, their gross pay would reduce to £32,941 a year. The amount they sacrifice is added to their pension fund. They also save on National Insurance (NI).
As the employer, you can add your National Insurance (NI) savings to the employee’s pension pot if you wish. This helps to increase yearly contributions, from £2,800 to £3,392.94, or £592.94 more than the employee’s pension would have been. Through this set up, take-home pay remains unchanged and their pension funds increase.
With simple salary sacrifice, an employee pays into a pension and benefits from paying less NI. Their pension contributions are deducted from gross pay, so the remaining taxable income is lower.
Simple salary sacrifice differs from a SMART setup as it increases the employee’s take home pay. Their net pay is higher as a result of the savings.
There are many pension providers to choose from. But many have investment options that aren’t environmentally friendly. For example, some invest in industries such as gambling, fossil fuels, and tobacco. So, it’s important to find out how the provider invests funds.
Companies should aim to offer retirement plans that are net-zero. If your pension scheme is high value and ethical, it becomes a more powerful employee benefit.
A workplace pension arrangement that invests ethically could improve your B Impact score. Here are a few providers with ethical investment options:
To set up a workplace pension scheme, there are some things you need to do from a regulatory perspective, which can be overwhelming or time-consuming. To get the best out of a scheme, it’s worth speaking with an expert. It’s also important to look at what a pension provider offers compared to their competitors.
Our expert advisors are on hand to help with this to ensure you have the most effective workplace pension for your workforce. If you need help please don’t hesitate to pop us a call on 02074425880 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The assessment factors in any financial services you offer to staff. If you employ hourly workers, the B Lab looks at whether you offer any of the following:
Providing financial education is essential to help employees make better financial choices. Financial support can increase morale, reduce stress, and boost productivity. Employees who are confident about their finances are happier and more engaged. But CIPD states one in five workers think their employer doesn’t do enough to support financial wellbeing.
While providing a fair wage is necessary, financial education covers more than that. Debt management, pension schemes and budgeting tools are a few important areas.
Senior Employee Benefits Consultant
There are many things you can do as a company to help deliver financial services to your team, including:
Financial coaching provides employees with personalised education on money matters. It aims to empower your staff to be confident discussing money and gives insight on how to improve financial wellbeing. A dedicated coach can help employees create a plan and set goals to better manage their finances.
Now for more specific financial education. Paying into a pension for a comfortable retirement is a vital financial decision. But knowing how much money is enough to cover retirement isn’t an easy number to figure out. Pensions are complex and 41% of UK employees don’t understand how they work. So, providing employees with the right resources and education will benefit them.
In a pension 1-2-1, the pension, its benefits and the options available to the individual are explained. They also provide employees with the opportunity to ask any questions they may have about saving for their retirement.
As the UK cost of living increases, financial support is crucial. Group presentations and webinars are a great way to open up discussion and share information. This can help you ensure staff are on the right track and getting the support they need.
A group presentation or webinar offers the same information as the 1-2-1’s. It also explains the changes being made within the company in relation to pensions. These can be tailored to the needs of your staff, but can also cover topics like budgeting, how to save, mortgage planning, scam advice, and much more.
Finances are a key section of the BIA, so it’s essential your business covers everything. This should include debt management, budgeting, and retirement planning. Many employees are often uncertain about retirement planning and where to begin. From adding to a pension pot and planning to retire to navigating tax, it’s not simple.
Poor financial management can affect an employee’s mental health and lead to extra days off work. With the right resources, your staff will benefit from better money management. Drewberry’s 2022 Workplace Pension Survey found that one in three want company paid meetings with a financial advisor. It’s clear the demand is there.
One way we support our clients is by providing the financial education and supporting services to help your team make informed decisions when it comes to their money. Staff will learn about money management and how to be financially secure. We can also provide guidance on how to make the most of a pension for a comfortable retirement.
Our financial advisors are experts on pensions, investments, and wealth management. If you want more advice on financial matters, don’t hesitate to contact us. You can either call us on 02074425880 or email at email@example.com.
Healthcare is another core area in the B Corp assessment. It assesses whether your employees receive healthcare coverage via a government plan or if it’s paid for by the company. For global businesses, whether you cater to different healthcare structures is considered too. This ensures all staff, wherever they’re based, can access suitable healthcare benefits.
In the UK, we’re lucky to have access to free NHS healthcare, but the system is struggling due to lack of funding and staff. In fact, waiting times are getting longer. Patients can expect to wait around 18 weeks for non-urgent appointments. Considering this, many are choosing private healthcare to ensure they get medical attention when they need it.
Offering health benefits isn’t only great for your employees, it can increase your B Corp Score. Consider the following:
Business Health Insurance provides access to private healthcare and medications that aren’t available on the NHS due to cost. Employees can get faster treatment at the highest standard. It also allows them to have more choice over the hospital or facility they attend and when.
Acute conditions that respond fast to treatment are covered. This includes broken bones, cataracts, and hernias. As standard, these policies always include cancer care. There are optional add-ons, including dental and optical care, and mental health services. But it won’t cover chronic conditions, like type one diabetes, heart disease, or epilepsy.
The cost of private health insurance depends on the policy options, such as the excess, hospital network and 6-week wait option. Age, smoker status, and location are personal factors impacting the cost.
At Drewberry, we have access to the entire UK private health insurance market. We can negotiate with providers and get the best cover for your team.
Another element the B Impact Assessment covers is supplementary health benefits. These are extras not included in a private health policy. B Lab analysts will assess any other healthcare benefits you offer to tenured employees. This may include life insurance, private dental insurance, and disability cover.
Group Income Protection (or Accident & Sickness) pays out if an employee can’t work because of illness, injury, or accident. It covers a percentage of their gross monthly salary, meaning that they will still have income to pay bills. Adding this protection to your employee benefits can improve your B Impact score.
Depending on the insurer, a policy can cover up to 80% of an employee’s gross monthly pay. It will cover anything that prevents an employee from working, excluding:
The cost of an income protection policy for your staff depends on the following:
Offering this cover to employees gives them peace of mind if they’re unable to work. The financial security provided can ease stress and worry when it comes to money. Staff that are less stressed are happier, more engaged, and more productive at work.
Group Life Insurance, also called Life Cover or Life Assurance, pays out a tax-free lump sum to an employee’s loved ones if they die. It helps to minimise the financial impact their death may have on their family and friends’ lives.
There are many options to choose from when buying life insurance. This includes the amount of cover, the type, and how long the policy lasts. A group life scheme can massively benefit any staff that may struggle to pay high premiums through an individual life policy. As long as the employee is actively at work and their benefit is under the free cover limit, they’re covered.
The following tables show examples of group life insurance premiums for companies:
Health Services Company
State Pension Age
State Pension Age
Level of Cover
4 x Annual Salary
1 x Annual Salary
Cost per Employee
£29.35 per month
£2.52 per month
Group Critical Illness Cover (CIC) pays out a tax-free lump sum if an employee suffers from a serious condition while working for your company. Most policies cover around 12 critical illnesses. These include:
Alongside cancer care and the above ‘core’ critical illnesses, you can add cover for an additional 20-25 conditions (on average) for an extra premium. This includes conditions such as bacterial meningitis, permanent and irreversible blindness / deafness, and loss of limbs.
Paid out in a lump sum, the benefit tends to be between 1 and 5 times an employee’s annual salary. This is designed to help with everyday expenses, as well as covering the costs of any lifestyle changes to accommodate a new condition.
Private Dental Insurance helps cover the costs of check-ups, emergencies and injuries. This is sometimes added to Group Health Insurance, but not every insurer does this. Either way, employees can visit a dentist without worrying about the cost.
Most routine and emergency dental treatments come under a health cash plan. The patient pays the dentist and claims back the cost from their insurer. If it’s a health policy add-on, it may include optical cover, hospital stays, and prescriptions too.
Dental cover includes treatments, such as:
The following treatments are often excluded:
Group cash plans work using tables and will usually have set levels of benefits that they will pay out. You could have four different levels of cover, each at different costs as the level of cover increases. For example, level one may offer £100 for routine dental treatment, while level two can cover £150 for routine dental treatment. A basic dental policy can cost as little as £10 a month, covering all NHS treatments. But there are higher premiums for private procedures.
A corporate health cash plan is a policy that helps to cover the costs of everyday healthcare. This can include:
Through a health cash plan, employees can be reimbursed for part of or the whole treatment cost. They have to pay upfront when receiving care, but can claim it back with a receipt. Health cash plans are accessible, affordable, and simple to use.
It’s a valuable benefit for employees as the costs of everyday healthcare can soon add up. As the employer, you pay the premiums. But the plan is subject to Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) tax, which is paid by the employee.
Health cash plans differ from corporate private health insurance in that it helps to manage the costs of general healthcare. Insurance offers coverage for hospital stays, operations and treatment for serious conditions.
As an employer, offering a health cash plan can be an affordable alternative to private medical insurance. Depending on the provider you choose, it can cost as little as £5 per month per employee. Not only that, it’s a valuable part of your employee benefits and can increase your B Impact score.
The above benefits including Group Life Insurance and Company Health Insurance often come with extra perks. Some of these free perks can also go some way to helping increase your B Impact score:
An EAP is a confidential service offering support for issues affecting employee wellbeing. Anxiety, depression and stress are common issues for employers, making EAPs invaluable.
Most EAPs offer counselling as the primary service and a follow up to see how staff are doing. The programme covers more than just mental health. Support for child care, relationship problems, and financial stress is available.
An EAP costs nothing for the employee, so it’s a free benefit. It’s also useful because it:
Physio supports strength, flexibility and movement in joints and muscles. Many health insurance providers include physiotherapy services in their policies. It covers outpatient treatment carried out by physiotherapists, osteopaths and chiropractors.
Services differ from provider to provider. For example, some insurers offer up to ten paid physio sessions. Others provide up to six sessions with their Priority Physio network.
Offering health cover with physio can be beneficial to your company. Employees can get faster access to treatment, bypassing long NHS waiting lists. Bones, joints, or muscle issues are troublesome and may lead to time off work if problems persist. The cost of this for your employees’ health and the impact on your business can be high.
Another benefit often included with private health insurance is access to virtual GPs. This allows employees to arrange consultations or seek medical advice with ease. The service can also be included in some health cash plans, group life, group income protection, and group critical illness policies, depending on the insurer.
A virtual GP service enables staff to get medical attention as soon as it’s needed. Employees don’t have to wait weeks for an appointment at their local surgery.
It also means staff can book appointments outside of regular working hours. It’s a GP in your pocket, with most services operating 24/7 via an app. Consultations are through video or phone and GPs can complete repeat prescription forms. This is valuable for your team as it’s convenient, accessible and easy to use.
The chance to get a second medical opinion is often a free extra in a health insurance policy. It’s sometimes invaluable to have another doctor’s advice and opinion on a diagnosis. Some patients may want another doctor to clarify and confirm the best treatment plan.
Whether it’s a broken bone or a long-term condition, a second opinion can help clarify the diagnosis. It also gives staff peace of mind. Insurers will have a list of virtual GPs that they can get an appointment with, often within 24 hours.
Getting an accurate diagnosis prevents treatment delays or the incorrect care. If staff aren’t in good health, neither is your business, especially if employees are off sick.
Health is about more than getting medication and treatment when a health issue pops up. Your entire lifestyle is important to consider. Many insurers offer cheaper gym memberships to encourage your employees to sign up.
Gym memberships are beneficial for your staff and your company. Regular exercise reduces the risk of long-term conditions, so your team will be fit and healthy for work. The money saved is also an incentive. It could become a social activity for colleagues, boosting employee motivation and morale.
Discounted fitness shows staff that you care about their health. It also reinforces that health is as important as work performance. Better fitness results in improved wellbeing, resilience, and higher energy levels. For you, the employer, this is likely to mean fewer sick days and less disruption to work flows.
At Drewberry, we’re experts in the field. Working with insurers daily, we have a strong understanding of the policies and extra benefits. This allows us to help set up your benefits package with the most valuable perks that can improve your chances of B Corp certification.
There are thousands of certified B Corps across the globe. Some familiar brands you may recognise are:
There is a one-off fee of £250 (plus VAT) required when you submit your company for certification. For Pending B Corps, this is set to increase to £500 from 1st November 2022.
Upon receiving your B Corp certification, there’s an annual fee. This allows you to use B Corp intellectual property, like the Certified B Corp logo, on your website. Your company’s total revenue on the last set of audited accounts determines this fee. For example, the annual fee is £1,250 for a total revenue between £150,000 and £499,999.
Pending B Corps also pay a one-time fee of £250 to cover the 12 months pending status period. UK entrepreneurs facing systemic barriers to business ownership qualify for a 40% discount. If business founders are women, women of colour, or LGBTQ+, then the discount applies.
Pulling together a valuable employee benefits package isn’t a simple task. Even more so when you consider how your employee benefits can affect your B Impact Score.
If you’re considering applying for B Corp certification, we can give guidance on your benefits and ensure you’re getting the most value from them. At Drewberry, we also can tailor your benefits to your specific business needs. It means we take a time-consuming task off your hands too!
If you’d like some extra guidance, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. You can call us on 02074425880 or email our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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