We are thrilled to let you know that after a rigorous and lengthy process, North Uist Distillery Co is now B Corp certified!
It has always been our mission to put people and planet on an equal level of importance with profit, and B Corp Certification is an official recognition that we’re actually doing it!
What is B Corp Certification?
B Corp Certification is awarded by B Lab to for-profit companies that meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability; companies that commit to regular, rigorous analysis of their business practises and make the results available to anyone who wants to read them.
There are 1500 B Corporations in the UK (a country with 4,894,356 registered businesses, for a little perspective!) and our B Corp Champion Leonie has spent the last year working through the application, looking in depth at every area of the business from employee relations to customer care, community impact to environmental stewardship, and guiding us towards improvement in all of the above. We are beyond thrilled that all of her hard work has paid off and that we are now part of a community dedicated to transforming the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet.
Certification isn’t the end of the B Corp journey though. Our credentials will be reassessed every three years to make sure that we continue to meet B Lab’s standards, and we are committed not only to maintaining our score but improving it year on year.
We could not have done this without a massive collaborative effort, from the Downpour Team to our investors; our local community to our incredible and dedicated customers, supporters, cheerleaders and superfans; and especially to the businesses who have gone before us and advised us along the way as we applied for certification. A million thank yous to everyone who has joined our project to create not just beautiful spirits and a company our island can be proud of, but a force for good within our own industry and business as a whole. Thank you!
B Corp certification depends on a rigorous scoring system. The median score for uncertified businesses is 50.9, the minimum for B Corp certification is 80, and we achieved a score of 91.3. A massive achievement for our first certification, and at this early stage in our distillery journey!
There are four areas on which a B Corp application is assessed; Governance, Community, Workers, Environment.
Strong governance is the foundation of any business and we have worked hard to make sure that social and environmental performance are at the heart of North Uist Distillery’s decision making. Operating from our company code of ethics which informs the direction that that we move in, greenhouse gas emissions, packaging lifecycle management, water management, product quality, and the environmental and social impacts of our supply chain are core areas that the entire team are focused on improving.
Our workers are the forward face and the hidden vital organs of our business, and being the best employers that we can be has been a core goal since North Uist Distillery was first imagined. We invest time and money in making sure that our team are well supported in their roles, with external professional development opportunities, Gaelic lessons for those who wish to improve their language skills, and a free counselling service for whoever might need it. Our workers are more than employees, they are shareholders in the business and we make sure that their investment of time, energy and passion never goes unvalued.
Our place in the community and our responsibilities towards it are deeply important to us at North Uist Distillery. Operating at the heart of a small island with a strong community spirit is foundational to our company practise and we nurture that relationship in any way we can. From offering our staff paid time off to volunteer in the community to offering our space at Nunton for community events, from swapping gin for locally foraged botanicals to using local suppliers whenever we can, community will always be a priority for us at North Uist Distillery.
A commitment to the environment has been at the heart of our business mission since day one, and while we have already committed to sustainable product design and packaging, an electric vehicle, and recycling our waste, the B Corp certification process has pushed us to take our commitments as far as we possibly can. We have set up an Environmental Management System which includes monitoring our energy and water use and our waste production and has been certified by Green Small Business. We’ve calculated our carbon footprint for Scopes 1,2 and 3 have been working with the University of the Highlands and Islands who have put together an emissions report for our soon to commence whisky production. It’s with great excitement about the next stages of our distillery journey that we strengthen our commitment to doing the best we can for the environment.