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I think that the two most proud things I have about the Ella’s Kitchen experience happened after I ceased to be CEO. The first one is that it became a B Corporation. Mark and I worked with the shareholder and with the team to make sure that we’d qualify for that. I’m incredibly proud that Ella’s Kitchen was one of the first B Corporations in this country. I think the B Corp movement is an incredible movement to nudge forward the way we do business to a much better place.
The second thing is, I think for the last five years, Ella’s Kitchen has been voted one of the UK’s Best Companies to Work For. And that’s Mark, inspiring his team to really enjoy working there, really feel as though they’re achieving something, being rewarded however which way that is for that contribution.
We’ve talked a lot about inside the organisation and what’s effective. And of course, you’re an advocate of B Corp. A lot of small businesses today are wanting to show customers their ethics and their ethical credentials. How would you suggest small businesses go about proving how ethical they are?
Paul: So what B corporations are, they’re businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance. They set themselves up for public transparency and legal accountability to deliver on more than the purpose of making money. And they hold themselves accountable for that.
What the process is, you have to do this survey, where it’s really hard to pass, but you only need 40 per cent to pass. But it’s hard to get to that point, since we’ve looked at all aspects of your business – governance, the supply chains, the people, finance, loads of things. You have to do things to make sure that you’ll have a structurally sustainable business, then once you pass that you’ve got to go into your constitution of your company and change it effectively to say we’re not just about shareholder return and maximising that, we’re about stakeholder return and optimising that, we care about the environment and the communities that we draw teams from and we sell to.