Express & Star

Tea and coffee co-operative now in world’s top five

An award-winning co-operative in Wolverhampton that sources and sells Fairtrade tea and coffee nationwide has been certififed as the UK’s highest scoring B Corporation – which means it meets the foremost standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability.

Revolver Co-operative\'s range of teas. Photo: Revolver Co-operative

Revolver Co-operative, based in Goldthorn Park, was co-founded in 2011 by Paul Birch – a former Labour councillor for Blakenhall – and has its origins in sister company Revolver Records, the independent music label he set up in 1978, made famous for being first to sign Manchester band The Stone Roses.

The co-operative joins a growing list of companies reinventing business by pursuing purpose as well as profit. It’s B Impact Assessment total of 163.8 makes it the highest scoring B Corp in Europe – and one of the top five in the world, having met rigorous social and environmental standards which represent a commitment to goals outside of shareholder profit.

Susan Sullivan, chair of Revolver Co-operative, said: “Receiving this B Corp certification with such an exceptional score is a testament to Revolver’s unwavering commitment to a new era of business, where purpose is as vital as profit. Our unique co-operative model, bringing together farmer producers, workers, consumers, and retailers, stands as a shining example of how diverse stakeholders can collaborate to drive positive change.

“This achievement reflects our dedication to upholding rigorous social and environmental standards, and it reinforces our belief that businesses should play a pivotal role in shaping a better world for all.”

The B Corp certification addresses the entirety of a business’s operations and covers five key impact areas – governance, workers, community, environment and customers. The certification process is meticulous, with applicants required to score a minimum of 80 points out of a possible 200, while providing evidence of socially and environmentally responsible practices relating to energy supplies, waste and water use, worker compensation, diversity and corporate transparency.

Chief executive officer Paul Birch added: “Securing the B Corp certification is a proud moment for Revolver Co-operative and a clear affirmation of our mission to redefine the boundaries of responsible business. As chief executive, I am inspired by the tireless efforts of our team and the unwavering support of our multi-stakeholder co-operative members.

“This achievement showcases our dedication to elevating the standards of governance, workers, community, environment and customers and it underlines our resolute belief that business can be a force for positive transformation. We embrace the responsibility to continue pioneering sustainable practices that benefit not only our stakeholders but also the greater global community.”

Revolver Co-operative operates as a multi-stakeholder co-operative, owned by its members, which include farmer producers, workers, consumers and retailers. Every member actively participates in the decision-making process – regardless of their investment or shareholding – and holds an equal vote.

Director and former chair John Boyle said: “I am so pleased that such a small co-operative has achieved such a tremendous position on the B Corp list. The work we have done in the dozens of countries that we source our coffees and teas from never ceases to amaze me.

“Working with communities who supply our products to sell to people here in the UK fills me with immense pride, knowing that we are delivering on our co-operative principles to make sure everyone in the supply chain is treated fairly and benefits from co-operative trade. Our customers are receiving an excellent and ethical product.”

The organisation is now one of 7,000 businesses globally that have been certified as B Corps. The B Corp community in the UK, representing a broad cross-section of industries of all sizes, is comprised of over 1,400 companies and includes well-known brands such as The Guardian, innocent, Patagonia, The Body Shop and organic food pioneers Abel & Cole.

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