Posted: 07 Jul. 2021 5 min. read

11 responsible businesses we love

Production of shiny, exciting new episodes of The Green Room podcast is in full swing. The latest episode poses a huge question to guests... Can a business make money and do good at the same time? No company wants to be branded irresponsible, but how many are truly ‘responsible businesses’ – organisations that really walk the walk? We decided to share some of our favourite companies that choose to make a difference, not just profits. Read on and don’t forget to tune in to our latest episode.

To help us weigh up whether businesses can make money and do good at the same time we invited Natalie Campbell, Co-CEO of Belu (the drinks business that puts people and the environment first) and our very own Claire Burton, Head of Responsible Business at Deloitte UK, to join us in the virtual Green Room. But what exactly does it take to be a responsible business? Well, Natalie explains that responsible businesses do everything they can to ensure no one suffers when they make their products. In fact, many companies go further and use their profits to help people, communities and the environment.

11 businesses doing good

So, who’s doing good out there? Fortunately, there are lots of responsible businesses that are forces for positive change. While we can’t share all of them (and there’s lots more that we love beyond this list), we’ve pulled together 11 of our favourites in no particular order.

You can find out more about the social enterprises we work with at Deloitte through our 5 Million Futures programme – our social impact strategy that aims to help 5 million people to overcome inequality and barriers to education and employment. Keep an ear out for our social enterprise adverts when listening to our episodes too, you might spot some of them featured below…

1.  Luminary Bakery

Luminary Bakery creates incredible cakes and the best brownies we’ve ever tasted. The women who bake them have experienced extreme poverty, disadvantage or violence and the bakery provides a safe and professional environment to encourage ambition, restoration and second chances. Luminary Bakery uses baking as a tool to take women on a journey to employability and entrepreneurship, equipping them with transferable skills for the working world. In fact, to date, 13 new businesses have been started by Luminary graduates.

2.  Change Please

Change Please is a rather special blend of social enterprise and award-winning coffee. Every cup they sell at their 200 outlets in eight countries changes someone’s life for the better. How? 100% of their profits go into giving people experiencing homelessness a living wage job, housing, training, onwards opportunities and a fresh shot at life. So far, Change Please has supported 252 people and 85% of trainees have gone on to find employment.

3.  Loaf Catering

Loaf Catering’s core business is delivering outside catering to parties, meetings and special events. This social enterprise works with people with learning difficulties and Autism. It also runs six cafes in Northern Ireland, has a catering academy, an online store, a pottery shop and lives up to its strapline “Food with purpose”. Loaf Catering is an inspiring example of how a business can help people, generate income and engage with the local community.

4.  From Babies With Love

Babies are a great excuse for buying and giving gifts, but sadly there are millions of babies in the world who have no one to give them gifts, or anything else. From Babies With Love gives all its profits from its ethically sourced gifts to help vulnerable orphaned and abandoned children all over the world. £203,768 has been donated so far and helped 1,300 unaccompanied children in displacement camps in Nigeria, 1,400 Sudanese refugee children and 3,335 toddlers in 30 nursery schools in 19 countries.

5.  Ocean Bottle

Ocean bound plastic is a huge environmental problem – literally a truckload of plastic every day enters seas globally. B-Corp Ocean Bottle makes and sells reusable water bottles and each one sold funds the collection of 1,000 ocean-bound plastic bottles in weight via Plastic Bank and 4,300 plastic collectors who receive a fair income in return. They’ve already collected almost 1.5m kg of bottles (enough to fill 57 Olympic swimming pools) and are on a mission to stop seven billion plastic bottles entering our oceans by 2025.

6.  People’s Energy

Here’s another great example of a power for good. People’s Energy is an energy company that fights for people. They’re taking on the fight against fuel poverty by doing everything they can to make energy as affordable as possible. As the only Community Interest Company energy supplier in the UK, People’s Energy pledges that 75% of their profits are paid back to their members. All electricity is from renewables, they offer 100% green gas and three members have a seat on their board.

7.  Social Supermarket

Social Supermarket was founded by three university chums who left the corporate world to create an online store that showcases the most inspiring UK brands with net-positive impact. They’ve over 80 impact-led partners and sell over 1,000 products from award-winning relishes made with wonky fruit and veg to soap made by people with visual impairments. Social Supermarket assesses its partners’ and products’ environmental and social impact through Good Market to assess a range of criteria from supply chain to quality of material.

8.  Co-op

Founded back in 1844 on ethical trade, the Co-op is a big high street name that’s been adhering to its local impact model for years. When their members shop at their stores, they fund and support thousands of grassroots community causes through a Local Community Fund and get to choose which causes get their support. A new Community Partnerships Fund targets communities that need extra help the most. They trade with almost 2,000 UK farms and over 500 UK suppliers, all fresh meat is 100% British (love their burgers), they champion Fairtrade and their Co-op water is the only grocery brand charity water in the UK. Impressive.

9.  Madlug

Madlug (which stands for “Make A Difference Luggage”) is an award-winning certified social enterprise and bag brand that gives dignity to children in care. Shockingly, a child enters the care system in the UK and Ireland every 15 minutes. Most transport their worldly belongings in plastic bin bags or plastic shopping bags. For every Madlug bag purchased, a pack-away travel bag is given to a child in care. Since they launched, over 25,000 people have bought Madlug bags.

10.  Elvis & Kresse

Elvis & Kresse is a certified social enterprise, B-Corp and rather unusual trailblazing luxury brand. Back in 2005, its founders discovered that the London Fire Brigade’s decommissioned fire hoses were being sent to landfill. Elvis & Kresse was formed to reclaim hundreds of tonnes of material and craft it into luxury lifestyle accessories, donating 50% of all profits to charities including The Fire Fighters Charity. In 2017, it also partnered with Burberry to recraft tonnes of leather cut-offs into new Elvis & Kresse luxury items. Rescue. Transform. Donate.

11.  Belu

Didn’t think we’d forget our Green Room guest, did you? Belu is a drinks business that puts people and the environment first. With a purpose to change the way the world see water – they invest profits into saving carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere, championing a circular economy and ending water poverty. So far, they’ve given WaterAid over £5 million to bring clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene to everyone, everywhere.

Liked this post? There’s more where that came from. Visit our website to follow us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and SoundCloud. We also share what it’s like behind the scenes right here on our blog, Inside The Green Room. And if you've got any feedback or a great suggestion for an episode then we'd love to hear it. See you in The Green Room.​

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Cayman McQuillan

Cayman McQuillan

Communications Assistant Manager

Cayman is one of the project leads for The Green Room by Deloitte. Get in touch if you'd like more information or if you have any questions.