From bookshop to B Corp

Picture of Amber Harrison

Amber Harrison

While sustainability has been my profession for two decades, I have always loved reading and being in nature. That’s why, a little over three years ago, I opened the doors to a new venture — a bookshop focused on nature writing — in Shaftesbury, Dorset.

In setting up FOLDE, my co-founder (Karen Brazier) and I wanted to encourage people to learn more about nature. We stock titles like nature memoirs, guides to foraging, walking, swimming, or flora and fauna. We also offer books that give a deeper dive into conservation and practical ways to restore the richness of species we are losing.

At its heart, FOLDE is borne out of a deep love for the natural world and the community we are part of. Celebrating and conserving both is a fundamental aspect of why we do what we do. It’s no surprise then, that becoming a B Corp has always been an important goal, and one we were delighted to achieve in April 2024.

Why being a B Corp matters

Being a B Corp wasn’t a case of getting a ‘badge’. We simply wanted to formalise our commitment to balancing profit with purpose. From the outset, we knew that the traditional bottom line of financial success wasn’t enough. One of the driving forces to aim for certification was the desire to hold ourselves accountable to a higher standard. We wanted to ensure that our business practices aligned with our values of sustainability, social responsibility, and ethical conduct. It’s not just about what we sell; it’s about how we operate and our impact on people and the planet.

The path to B Corp certification

The path to B Corp certification is rigorous. It requires businesses to meet stringent criteria across five key areas: governance, workers, community, environment, and customers. B Corp provided a rigorous framework to assess and improve our impact across all aspects of our operations.

At the start of our certification journey, we changed our legal articles to commit to being a purpose-led business. We then reviewed our business and internal processes, such as our supply chain expectations, environmental practices, and employee policies against the five B Corp criteria, to ensure alignment with both B Corp and our values. It allowed us to see where we could update business commitments and proved a valuable experience.

The B Corp certification is not a tick-box exercise when you’re a small business. You’re open to scrutiny — as you should be — and the process takes time, effort, and resources. In our case, it was eight months from start to finish. Now, as a B Corp, we’re part of a community of like-minded businesses striving for positive change.

Our journey to becoming a B Corp has been one of purpose, passion, and perseverance. It’s a journey that reaffirms our belief that business can be a catalyst for positive change. As we continue to grow and evolve, we remain committed to making a difference, one book at a time.

Get B Corp certified with Grain

About FOLDE Dorset – Awarded Best Independent Bookshop in the Southwest at the British Book Awards 2024

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