Which UK IT distributor has mirrored The Body Shop and BrewDog by becoming a B Corp?

"It's challenging. It comes with time and monetary expense. But we believe it's essentially worthwhile," QBS CEO Dave Stevinson tells CRN

Doug Woodburn
clock • 2 min read
Which UK IT distributor has mirrored The Body Shop and BrewDog by becoming a B Corp?

The UK IT channel has a B Corp in its midst after software distributor QBS Software bagged the notoriously exacting certification, which recognises firms that put purpose before profit.

The London-based outfit has become a certified B Corp across its operations in the UK, Germany, France and the Nordics.

Often seen as the Holy Grail of corporate social responsibility accreditations, there are 5,300 B Corps worldwide, and 1,186 in the UK.

Besides ISPs Zen Internet and IDNet and MSP Steamhaus (as well as several companies focused on tech reuse and recycling), few companies in and around the UK IT channel have attained it, a cursory check of the B Corp website confirms.

Designed to recognise companies that "use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems", the B Corp certification process involves a "rigorous assessment" of a company's impact on its governance, workers, customers, community and the environment.

Household names certified as B Corps include The Body Shop, Ben and Jerry's, Abel & Cole and BrewDog.

Talking to CRN, QBS CEO Dave Stevinson labelled the preparation and the application process - which he said entailed a six-figure investment - "challenging but ultimately worthwhile".

"What we did well is brought in the right amount of in-house and external resource to help us get it. We invested in consultants and a lot of effort from senior management went into the project," he said.

"It's just a really good framework that allows us to put guide rails in our business to make sure we're behaving in the most ethical manner."

Ranked 12th in CRN's recent Top Distributors 2022 report, QBS became the first UK distributor to claim carbon-neutral status last June. It had also already attained ISO 14001 and is following the SBTi framework.

Despite the time and effort involved in attaining B Corp, Stevinson advised his peers that the certification is "definitely worth exploring".

"We found it incredibly useful for our business, and it appeals an awful lot to our supply chain and our customer base," he said.

"It's challenging. It comes with time and monetary expense. But we believe it's essentially worthwhile, and if anyone needs any advice I'm always happy to help people and share with them our consultants and either [QBS sustainability and diversity officer] Therese [Stevinson] (pictured above) or myself are always really happy to help people on their journey.

"I'm just so proud for everyone in the company for achieving it because it's been important for me personally and it's great for QBS to have achieved it."

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