As a certified B Corp, we meet rigorous social and environmental standards, representing our commitment to people before profit. We are especially proud that we secured accreditation on our first attempt, and it did not require major changes to our business model, governance or employee offering.
Chris Sandilands, one of the Founding Partners at Oxbow Partners, said:
“We are proud to be recognised as a business that puts our people and the wider community before profit, and even more proud that we did not have to change anything material about the way we run the business to achieve B Corp status. From the day we founded the business, we wanted each and every colleague to feel respected, valued and empowered. We are proud to be a new kind of consulting business: a multi-disciplinary, high performance team where our people are more than assets.”
Chris Turner, Executive Director of B Lab UK, says:
“We are delighted to welcome Oxbow Partners to the B Corp community. This is a movement of companies who are committed to changing how business operates and believe business really can be a force for good. We know that Oxbow Partners are going to be a fantastic addition to do just this and lead the way within the Management Consulting and Insurance industry.”
First set up in 2006, B Corp status is an accreditation given out by the non-profit B Lab Network. In their own words: “certified B Corporations are a new kind of business that balances purpose and profit. They are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment.”
There are currently over 6,000 B Corps across 161 industries in 89 countries. Well-known B Corps include Ben and Jerry’s, Patagonia, the Body Shop and Innocent. Financial services examples include the PE firm Towerbrook, private bank Coutts and InsurTechs Lemonade & Simply Business.
The process is rigorous with dynamic criteria for certification, ensuring that B Corps are always the cutting edge of what “good” looks like in the current world.
Companies are required to recertify every three years, and if they fail to meet the set criteria, they lose their B Corp status – committing us to keep up our high standards.
Why we did this?
The founding Partners explain…
When we set up Oxbow Partners we wanted to do things differently – and better – than our established competitors. Part of our vision was to create a company culture that was inclusive and empowering from the start.
This ambition is partly commercial. As management consultants, we advise executives about how best to grow their companies. It is therefore sensible that our people should be business builders themselves, and not just analysts. Binding them into the strategy and decision-making processes of our firm is one way that we want to instil commercial nous into our team.
But the ambition is also driven by the values that we have as a team. It is a cliché, but nonetheless true, that a consulting business is only as good as its people, and to get the best people, we must offer the best working environment. B Corp has allowed us to reflect on how we run the firm – our values, our policies, our staff engagement and more – and build a business where people like to work. We feel like B Corp will also provide us with helpful guardrails to steer the business as we scale rapidly.
And finally, we see the B Corp principles as ‘table stakes’ in the modern corporate world. As ESG becomes an increasingly hot topic, we are being asked by our clients how we incorporate these principles in our business, and if we can help them with their topic. We feel that if you don’t walk the walk, you can’t talk the talk.
So, ultimately, given that the Oxbow Partners vision was aligned to the B Corp principles, it made sense to apply and seek accreditation.
What happens now?
For us, this is a continuous process where we will ensure that we are continuously evolving our thinking, offering and practices to ensure they evolve with society’s expectations. Patagonia for example have improved their score by 50% since they first got accredited – despite the bar being even higher. We will also be required to recertify as a B Corp in three years’ time.
We would be happy to talk to insurers who are considering an application and can assist our clients in building their ESG credentials more broadly.