We are thrilled to have recently achieved B Corp status at Edward Bulmer Natural Paint – but what does that mean? See below for everything you need to know about B Corp: how we achieved it, how it will shape the way we continue to work, how we address the climate crisis and how we make our pioneering plant-based paint. Edward in our London Showroom, against a backdrop of Invisible Green. Photography by Anna Batchelor What is B Corp? B Corp is a certification that businesses are awarded when they strive and commit to meeting the highest possible standards of accountability within their practise and day to day running. It’s split into categories that are measured such as: Environment, Governance, Customer profiles, Community and Employees. Taking into consideration carbon usage, manufacturing and production, staff benefits and the willingness to bare all to achieve the award, B Corp is essentially a way in which companies can show to the world that they are doing what they can to better the quality of life for employees, build communities and relationships around their brand and as we said before, most integrally, making the world a safer place to be by promoting a circular and sustainable product or service that betters people and planet. Edward Bulmer Natural Paint use no plastic in their wall paint, it is mixed using mineral and earth pigments and made to order in Herefordshire by our team and can be delivered to your door the very next day, meaning there is no surplus product sitting lonely on the shelves. Our customers are our community and we are proud to call them our friends and allies too, helping to carry the torch to show that paint need not be filled with petrochemicals and plastic, there IS another way, a safer way that won’t interrupt our oceans, be poured into landfill or spoil in large batches in the hardware stores. What does it mean to us? We are thrilled to announce our B Corp status and want it to be known that it isn’t something we take lightly. B Corp is another step along the ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) path for us at Edward Bulmer Natural Paint. The social and governance aspects are both solid foundations and important pillars of a good business, but it is the environmental factors that are more difficult to attain and it is these which we hold at the core of our business. It’s important to keep talking and interacting on the subjects that quite frankly, can be uncomfortable to discuss, be it fossil fuels, plastics, or pollution. B Corp has allowed us to keep pushing the narrative within business and industry – from how we can get the most out of our platforms and inform our customers, to how we can make the working environment the best it can possibly be. The triple bottom line is this, our focus is people and planet over profit. We are looking forward to being as dedicated in the future as we have been since we started mixing paint on the farm in Herefordshire, which is where our paints are mixed to this day. We may have the certificate but there is still a long way to go and we are looking forward to striving for ongoing improvement. ‘In an increasingly polarised world, if you are not seen as mainstream, you seem extreme. We do business ‘not as usual’ and so to be recognised by a benchmark that states that business needs to up its game is really heartening. B Corp was set up in the US to encourage every business to ‘Be a Better Corporation’. It is now a globally recognised certification, but as yet only a minority of companies meet its criteria. We should mind about this because all B Corp is requiring is that a business is a benefit to society by avoiding as many negative impacts as possible and by aiming to create positive ones! Profit yes, but only when it works for people and planet. We are very happy to be judged by B Corp and genuinely hope that it becomes the norm for all sensible businesses to join us and its 6000 members worldwide.’ – Edward Bulmer Natural Paint UK's overall B Impact Score, head over the B Corp website to read in full What does it mean for our planet? As one of the few B Corp brands in the industry, we want to lead by example by not brushing under the carpet the statistics with landfill and toxic waste that come alongside manufacturing products. We sleep better at night knowing our paint can be returned to the Earth without causing it harm. Microplastics that are filling our land and oceans are in the region of 3 million tonnes and growing, so it’s important to stress that the work isn’t done. From sourcing raw materials, right through to packaging, we are interested in the good of humankind, the good of animals and the good of our Earth. “Greenwashing is on the rise – it is a useful tool for companies to deflect criticism or attention while they figure out how to address future production without fossil derived materials and carbon emitting processes. It is not necessary however, if the plans to meet this reduction in environmental damage stack up and are acted on within an urgent time frame. The consumer is reasonable, when treated as a grown up” –Edward Bulmer Recognition for one’s responsibility in design is as important as it is affirming From our first waking moments we are responsible for our actions – usually habitual patterns of behaviour, unremarkable in themselves. We rise, we wash, we dress, we feed ourselves. But even in these simple choices there are layers of responsibility that can have wide impact – for good and for bad. Does our shampoo dish microplastics into the watercourse, is the container from which our toothpaste emerges going to get recycled, does the mainstream paint we use omit dangerous and harmful toxins into our living spaces – in fact is our whole ‘personal care’ regime being done at the expense of care for others and our shared planet? Our clothes, our breakfast foods, our transport to work, the way we decorate our houses – do they all compound the problem? “I’m afraid that more than likely they do” explains Edward. Paint has been over looked for too long and it’s about time that use of plastics in binders, synthetic substances and petrochemicals were called out and bought to light. We are drawn into a system of societal provision that has not been designed to look after nature or other people less affluent than ourselves. We create enormous volumes of waste, we choose convenience as our entitlement and more often than not we are making choices that do not optimise good health. So as designers, even before getting to work we have probably missed opportunities to be more responsible in our choices. Little surprise then that those we work with, our suppliers, or those that execute our designs are not assuming that they should make ‘responsible’ decisions on our behalf. How were we assessed? Throughout the B Corp Assessment there were many questions asked, and it gave us a chance to re-root into the fundamentals of Edward Bulmer Natural Paint. The why’s the where’s, the who’s and most importantly the what if’s? What if we carry on on this destructive path, taking for granted the air we breath and the oceans that surround us? It’s a meticulous process, delving deep into the foundations and essence of your brand, your environment, your beliefs and your community. But we are glad to answer these questions, especially as we have nothing to hide. 100% transparency has been at the heart of Edward Bulmer Natural Paint from day one and there it will remain, whilst we keep working towards making plastic free paint more widely available and used by other mainstream paint companies. Here in the ‘Responsibility Knocks’ column, a series for House & Garden, Edward elaborates on the rituals and habits we all have that have become standard procedures with little thought behind, from waking in the morning and participating in a’ wellness regime’, buying food and how we choose to travel. He speaks of the system of ‘societal provision’ that we have become accustomed to which is not kind to nature or the natural world but somehow has the ability to make people disregard the importance of the planet with no questions asked, how odd of us?! “Our job as designers is to create ‘paradise’ you might say – but without responsibility it risks being a ‘fool’s paradise’ ” – Edward Bulmer Visit us at 194 Ebury Street to have a chat with one of our colour experts, book a Colour Consultancy or buy a few Sample Pots to take home and try for yourselves, we can’t wait to meet you!