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Trouble brewing

6 January, 2023

BrewDog has long been something of a sustainability maverick, never one to shy away from controversy with its novel initiatives and bold claims.

And in the wake of the exposé of the “culture of fear” and “toxic attitudes” at the company, BrewDog is in the news again as it has recently lost its B Corp status. Although the details are hazy, it seems that B Lab, the organisation behind the B Corp certification, asked for further measures from BrewDog, following an investigation to determine whether the B Corp community values had been breached, and that BrewDog decided as a result of this to “step aside from B Corp certification”.

It sends two important messages. First, B Corp certification isn’t something you just do once. You need to maintain high social and environmental standards consistently (and report on them annually). And second, B Lab is prepared to scrutinise and act to ensure that its standards are upheld. And this has broader implications for other sustainability certifications, which require companies to align with best practice rather than see certifications as boxes to tick.

If there was any doubt whether B Lab’s rigour was being lost as the number of certified B Corps grows rapidly, this suggests otherwise. Sustainability standards have the perpetual challenge of trying to be rigorous while being accessible. B Lab has navigated this challenge well and we support B Lab’s efforts to ensure that its standards are high and its certification does drive genuine progress.

By Patrick Bapty

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