Irish firms keen to stand out amid ‘greenwashing noise’ should secure B Corp status, says environmental consultant

More than 20 Irish companies have already achieved globally recognised certification

Irish companies wishing to demonstrate their sustainability credentials and legitimacy, and to stand out amid “greenwashing noise”, should secure “B Corp” status, according to environmental consultant Tara Shine of Change by Degrees.

The Irish sustainability consultancy has joined the B Corp community of businesses committed to the highest standards of social and environmental impact. In gaining certification the Kinsale-based company founded by Dr Shine and Madeleine Murray joins 20 B Corp companies in Ireland. B Corp certificates are awarded by B Lab, a global non-profit organisation.

Co-chief executive Tara Shine said the globally recognised certification “validates our efforts to live our principles and places us among a community of businesses committed to doing better for our employees, our customers, our communities and the planet”.

Trading internationally

“If you are a company that wants to prove your sustainability credentials and legitimacy, and stand out amid all the greenwashing noise, then B Corp is for you. If you are an Irish company that trades internationally, B Corp is a globally recognised certification. It might be hard to get, but the global recognition is priceless,” said Dr Shine.


“Being a B Corp enhances your reputation, helps with brand recognition and builds trust with suppliers, customers and clients. Across the EU B Corp companies are thriving because they are well run businesses creating benefits — EU B Corps have achieved an impressive 22 per cent annual increase in revenue between three-year certification periods.”

With Irish companies struggling to access finance and talent, “B Corp makes you more attractive to both”, noted Dr Shine.

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Sustainability considerations play an increasingly pivotal role in merger and acquisition decisions, she said. “Notable examples include Unilever, which now boasts ownership of eight B Corps, and McCain’s significant €50 million investment in the Irish B Corp, StrongRoots, in 2021. This trend underscores the growing importance of environmental and sustainability factors in winning investment opportunities for businesses of all sizes.”

James McManus, chief executive of Earth’s Edge travel company, who is also country manager Ireland for B Lab Europe which certifies companies as B Corp, said Change by Degrees “exemplifies what it means to be a B Corp; blending passion, expertise and commitment to bring sustainability awareness and education to the organisations they work with”.

Earth’s Edge offers high altitude expeditions in some of the most stunning locations around the world, aiming to provide clients with life changing experiences in the safest way possible, “while protecting the planet and improving the lives of those we meet along the way”, he explained.

Recent Change by Degrees surveys underlined the need for skill building and education on sustainability, said Dr Shine. “A staggering 96 per cent of employees want sustainability to be a top corporate priority. However, a significant 60 per cent identified a lack of information as the chief barrier to sustainable action.”

Highest standards

B Corp certification is not about being the best, said Dr Shine. “It’s about being authentic, purpose-driven and trustworthy [and] testament to the transformative power of business as it holds members to the highest standards of transparency and accountability.”

B Corps are legally committed to bringing benefits not just to shareholders, but all business stakeholders — workers, customers, communities and the environment. The B Corp movement aims to change the economic system so companies work together to address society’s most critical challenges and to create a more inclusive, equitable and regenerative economy.

Enterprise Ireland offers two grants to assist businesses working towards B Corp certification. GreenStart supports companies in introducing environmental best-practice systems and structures, achieving cost and resource reduction targets and laying foundations for future environmental improvement projects.

GreenPlus supports training initiatives and enhancing a company’s environmental management capabilities.

Certification involves an extensive assessment process looking at businesses performance across five impact areas – workers; environment, governance, customers and community. To retain certification businesses have to retake the assessment every three years

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan is Environment and Science Editor and former editor of The Irish Times