Concept for - B Corp + Employee Owned = Powering Positive Impact

B CorpsTM and employee-owned businesses share common values and principles. They are a powerful combination for sustainable business practices and creating positive impact.

Companies that are employee-owned or B CorpTM Certified see an increase in employee engagement and productivity, improved recruitment and staff retention, have a stronger commitment to corporate social responsibility and are often leaders in sustainable business practice.

Companies that are both B CorpTM and employee-owned have a holistic approach to purposeful business, they care about their stakeholders (employees, suppliers, society and the environment), and they are thriving.

B CorpTM

B CorpsTM are businesses that prioritise social and environmental impact alongside profit and a commitment to use business as a force for good.

To achieve B CorpTM Certification, a company must scrutinise all aspects of their business to meet B Lab’s rigorous standards “of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability”.* B CorpsTM are reassessed every three years and at each assessment, the criteria becomes more ambitious as B CorpTM are encouraged to continuously develop their business and increase their positive impact.

Employee Ownership

Employee ownership is a business model where employees have a stake in the company. This means that employees become partial owners, have a say in how the business is run and share in its profits.

Employee ownership can arise out of different situations, whether that is to encourage a more inclusive workforce, improve staff retention and motivation or as part of a business owner’s succession planning. The synergy between an employee-owned business and those that are B CorpTM Certified includes:

  1. Shared Values and Missions:
  • Both B CorpsTM and employee-owned businesses emphasise values beyond profit of shareholders. They prioritise social responsibility, sustainability, and community impact.
  • Employee ownership aligns with B CorpTM stakeholder principles, reinforcing its commitment to positive change.
  1. Mission Preservation:
  • B CorpsTM can face challenges when transferring ownership or seeking investment. Employee ownership trusts (EOTs) can provide a solution.
  • An EOT can allow owners to ensure the company’s purpose and values remain intact even after ownership changes.
  1. Stakeholder-Centric Approach:
  • B CorpsTM consider the interests of all stakeholders, not just shareholders. Employee-owned businesses naturally adopt a similar approach.
  • Employee-owned businesses are more likely to offer support and access to private healthcare and mental health resources.**
  1. Employee Engagement and Productivity:
  • Employee ownership fosters a sense of ownership, pride, and commitment among workers.
  • Employee-owned businesses are 8-12% more productive than non-EO businesses and their employees are happier and more motivated.**ADVERTISEMENT
  • B CorpTM employees become advocates for the company’s mission, driving productivity and innovation.
  1. Long-Term Sustainability:
  • B CorpsTM and employee-owned businesses prioritise long-term sustainability over profit and short-term gains.
  • Employee ownership encourages stability and resilience, as employees have a vested interest in the company’s success.
  • B CorpsTM commit long-term to environmental and social impact.
  • Employee-owned businesses are “more likely to be working towards net zero and hold environmental sustainability accreditations”.**
  • B CorpsTM are often owned by founders and family members, employee ownership can allow the mission and values of a business to remain intact for the future.

Stephens Scown is proud to have been the first large employee-owned law firm in the UK and the first B CorpTM law firm in the South West, and features in the Sunday Times Best Places to Work 2024 list.

Having been employee-owned since 2016 and achieved B CorpTM Certification in 2022, the firm offers expert advice and supports businesses on all aspects of B CorpTM accreditation and employee ownership.

Whether you require preliminary advice on becoming a B CorpTM or employee-owned or need advice as an existing B CorpTM or employee-owned company, please get in touch and our specialist teams would be happy to assist you.


* B lab wording from What is a B Corp? – B Lab UK (

** EO Knowledge Program, 2023. People Powered Growth. Page 10, 11 & 7

Find out more here.


This article was first published in South West Business Insider June 2024 issue.