A content and communications agency specialising in agriculture and environmental science has this week become B Corp certified in recognition of its commitment to people and the environment.
The Ad Plain (TAP) predominantly works in digital communications for a broad range of clients within the environmental science and agriculture industries, including many of the world’s largest seed and crop protection companies. It is one of just 1,300 businesses in the UK to be verified as meeting B Corp’s high standards of social and environmental responsibility.
The announcement comes following a rigorous two-year process. Duncan Murray-Clarke, Group Managing Director of TAP, which has offices in UK and in Spain, said:
“We are beyond thrilled to become a B Corp-certified business. It has been a long and detailed process, but it reflects all that we believe in. It has reaffirmed for us that responsibility and profitability are not oil and water, and long-term success is built on genuine values and purpose. There can be a tendency towards greenwashing in the current business and political climate, and we wanted to demonstrate, transparently, our genuine commitment to the people who make our business work, to the planet and the wider community. TAP is a growing business, and I’m so proud of our team for getting us to this point; I look forward to seeing how we can continue to strengthen as a business, a supplier and as part of the global network.”
B Corp is an international movement to change the global economy and encourage for-profit businesses to be a force for good. B Lab, which administers the certification, takes a holistic review of the business’ social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. One of the fastest growing networks of sustainable businesses, there are over 7,000 B Corp-certified companies across the world from global brands such as Patagonia to the UK’s Riverford Organics and the family-run Glen Lyon Coffee.
The greatest reward has been furthering the conversation around environmental science, agriculture and producing food sustainably for a growing world population, says Duncan, who established TAP in 2002:
“We specialise in communication at the highest levels with some of the world’s top food production and environmental science businesses. We are very privileged through our work to be speaking daily to growers, agronomists, leading agricultural companies and other industry experts. There’s a challenge to produce food sustainably for the growing world population. Furthermore, there are very important discussions around this like the role of chemistry and how the industry is already showing good practice to enhance the environment and run sustainable businesses at various levels. The B Corp process triggered constructive conversations with B Lab and our team.”
As well as demonstrating its B Corp values through policy and governance, TAP sponsors employees to volunteer, including at board level, with a charity of their choice, which has included Reading for Dyslexia, UK farming charity, the Addington Fund, and the company is sponsoring children through school in developing countries.
The business is carbon positive; office space and travel have been reduced to enhance both the environment and employee wellbeing, and conservation is at the heart of TAP’s ethos and values. It shapes business decision-making as well as being celebrated internally – for example around conservation events, such as observing World Water Day, the whole TAP team is encouraged to pledge to changes to make a difference in their own small way.
With agriculture and environmental science working as hard as many industries to meet environmental goals, TAP puts significant emphasis on supporting clients throughout the supply chain to communicate their sustainability work and stimulate change.
“We have always had people and purpose at our core,” explains company director Emma Craigie. “The B Corp lens has given us a structure and guiding principles for all that we do, including how we support our clients to communicate their sustainability and make change. Reassuringly, as we went through the verification process it was clear we were already doing so much in our business through choice, and it doesn’t stop here: we will keep evolving and continue to drive our business and support others in the industry to take steps to effect positive change.”
To complete the process, TAP invested in a full business audit, changed the legal structure of the business and rewrote staff and external contracts to commit to the B Corp values.
Duncan concluded: “It’s clear that business needs to lead the way, and I’d urge more businesses in our sector to consider committing to a sustainability scheme, and potentially start the B Corp process. It doesn’t matter that it takes time, it does matter that you start the journey.”