With most shops currently closed and people spending more time at home, delivery drivers laden with parcels has become a daily sight in many neighbourhoods. Although the majority of people continue to use the larger online retailers for their fast delivery times and large product range, there is an increasing movement by customers to “shop independent” or “shop local” to support local independent retailers who may be struggling in the current market. This is demonstrated by the recent launch of the online book shop bookshop.org (a virtual shopfront for independent booksellers) which accelerated its expansion in the UK following a significant increase in demand earlier this year for its US offering during the pandemic.

Bookshop.org is in the process of applying for B Corporation (B Corp) certification in the UK. B Corps are for-profit companies certified as meeting rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. They commit to taking a 'triple bottom line' approach to business with social and environmental outcomes being part of their mission. The combination of customers wanting to shop in a more socially conscious way and businesses looking at how they can build a sustainable future in the recovery from the pandemic is leading more companies, including the Jamie Oliver Group and technology company WeTransfer, to seek B Corp certification in 2020. It is thought that since March 2020 the number of annual certifications has increased by 40%. Therefore, it will be interesting to see whether more independent retailers follow Bookshop.org’s approach and seek B Corp status in the next few months to demonstrate their commitment to the community and a sustainable future.

For more details about what becoming a B Corp involves, please see our article “B Corps: What are they and why are they increasing in number?