This report provides a comparison of the financial and operational performance of companies that are certified as UK B Corporation (B Corp) versus the wider UK business population.
The data on the UK B Corp community is drawn from an October 2020 survey of the 332 UK companies currently certified as B Corps, including 119 that completed this process in 2020. 102 B Corps responded to the survey, a response rate of 31%. The benchmark data is primarily drawn from recent UK government agency surveys of the wider business population.
The benchmarking analysis had a particular focus on B Corps that are classified as Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), i.e. with between 1 and 249 employees. At the start of 2020, SMEs with at least one employee (1-249 employees) accounted for 23.7% (1.4 million) of the total number of UK businesses, with a further 76.2% (4.6 million) with no employees. 0.1% of the total business population were large businesses (with 250 or more employees). Within this report, SMEs (1-249 employees) account for 90% of B Corp survey respondents and over 90% of all certified B Corps in the UK.
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Within the population of B Corp SME survey respondents, the proportion of small and medium sized businesses is significantly higher than within the wider UK SME population. 38% of respondents are currently micro businesses (1-9 employees), compared to 82% of all SMEs, 39% are small businesses (10-49 employees) compared to 15% of all SMEs, and 23% are medium sized businesses (50-249 employees), compared to 3% of all SMEs. Wherever possible, benchmark comparisons are provided at the level of micro, small and medium sized businesses.
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As such, this report recommends, as a matter of high priority, significant public investment in ongoing research and analysis to build a clearer picture of the evidence of the potential drivers of B Corps’ apparent superior performance. There are a number of recommendations for researchers, policy makers, business and the B Corp community to consider at the end of this report.
Compared to data from recent surveys of SMEs in the UK (unless stated otherwise), the research found that SMEs certified as B Corps have, on average: