Accessibility.2024-03-28 15_31_33
What does it really take to create an
accessible and inclusive brand?
This article gives practical guidance for designers aiming to make their brands more accessible and inclusive. It covers typography principles like legibility, readability, and clear structure, while addressing type sizes and weights. We share insights about the impact of colour on accessibility, including contrast and considerations for colour blindness and dyslexia, along with best practices for web accessibility and creating accessible PDFs and alternative content formats.
 

I wanted to write about B corp. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it's a growing network of 6,000 organisations worldwide, all of whom have one goal: to transform the global economy to benefit all people, communities and the planet. And we are one of them. 

But B Corp itself has recently been coming under increasing scrutiny as some of those certified do not appear to be abiding by the rules they signed up to. The news that Havas Media has been appointed as Shell’s new media buying agency caused controversy in the design industry. Havas currently has four subsidiaries that are certified B Corps and calls are being made to strip them of their B Corp status. But with the account being worth many millions (Shell spent a reported $240 million on paid media in 2022) maybe they don’t care. 
This and a number of other stories raised a question for us, is B Corp a genuine force for good, or has it just become another marketing opportunity?

Becoming B Corp certified involves a rigorous and comprehensive accreditation procedure where an organisation's performance is tested across five categories: governance, employees, customers, community, and environment. It took us two years. To pass it successfully, you must score at least 80 points. At the time of certification, ours was 87. So we passed, but we still have some way to meet the targets we set ourselves.   

Transparent on paper
Similar to ESG (Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance: the framework most commonly used to assess an organisation's performance on various sustainability and ethical issues), there are loopholes in the B Corp assessment. An on-trend certification scheme may look especially appealing to younger companies and founders who want to grow their business in the right way. However, it also attracts the brands that do not have the same intent or are less transparent, resulting in nothing more than virtue-signalling. In those instances, both B Corp and ESG metrics can be used to greenwash an organisation's otherwise ethically dubious practices.

B Corp application and the whole process that follows is quite complex yet extremely accessible. You might think that if Nespresso can be certified (raise your hand if you have their coffee machine in your office or at home), anyone can do it. From reported human rights violations to deforestation – even George Clooney can’t cover up the brand’s mess. 

So why bother applying for the status? Nespresso has proven that so-called transparency on a piece of paper often doesn’t translate to actions. In a B Corp’s case, there are no requirements to address or remediate the harms caused. Brands can publicly disclose whatever makes them look good and remain silent about areas that have been neglected. This is convenient and flexible in a way you wouldn’t – and shouldn’t – expect it to be. Subsidiaries can also be certified, regardless of the parent brand's behaviour. Take Innocent, the ‘not so innocent after all’ drinks brand that everyone loved in the early naughties but then sold a majority stake to Coca Cola in 2010. So, while Innocent may be B Corp certified, the brand does not seem too concerned with fighting the battle within its own parent company which is among the world’s biggest polluters despite its sustainability pledges. In some cases, lasting change does not start from within. In fact, sometimes it doesn’t start at all. 

B Corp is good for everyone
It’s a glass half full or half empty situation. The more companies commit to making a positive difference, the better. However, the growing number of businesses claiming to be responsible make it hard to distinguish between the talkers and doers, weakening the message and the impact of the B Corp movement.

Will we soon have a top achievers list, celebrating the most responsible companies? Are there going to be levels of greatness? Will that ignite competition or overshadow the real function of this certification?

Becoming a B Corp is a major milestone, especially for the smaller companies who work hard to survive and make hard choices to stay ethical. Having said that, the big players who hold the power should be encouraged to join the movement – and required to swear an oath or two before that. 

By now, everyone knows that brands with a proven commitment to making a positive difference just do better. They attract like-minded, socially conscious people and clients. They have a better public image. As long as it’s genuine and can be evidenced. Businesses need to work harder than ever to be noticed and attract top talent. They say money keeps the lights on, purpose keeps the people. Who wouldn’t want to work for or with a planet-friendly company, knowing it strives to make a positive difference? It’s a no brainer. 

It’s not all bad
Is it all greenwashing? We don’t think so. If we label it as yet another example of greenwashing we close the doors on the possibility of positive action. It would be cynical to diminish B Corp. It truly can do wonders for the company if used as a tool for improvement and is approached as a long-term process, not a marketing initiative which, having been achieved, is when the work stops. 

Accreditation identifies an organisation's weak points and offers a road map for adjustments by providing a guide on sustainable and social practices that should be adopted. Importantly brands need to be re-certified by the B Lab every three years to retain the status. This built-in accountability is important to avoid rewarding short-term gains that are damaging in the long-run. Here, everyone loses. 

The sceptics may still think ‘yeah, right…’. But it has proved effective. A year ago, Brewdog was stripped of the status following the ‘culture of fear’ accusations. This shows that peer pressure within the B Corp network can – to some extent – keep businesses accountable.

Don’t fake it till you make it
What’s important is to know your ‘why’ before applying. If it doesn’t match your company’s values and practices, don’t force it, change first. The market is already overflowing with fake sustainability claims – greenwashing, purpose-washing, social-washing, you name it. More and more businesses are pledging eco-friendly standards and most of them are falling spectacularly short. According to The European Commission, around 42% of companies have been said to exaggerate their sustainability claims. 

B Corp is and should be open for all. A high and enforceable bar shouldn’t get in the way of positive progress. What truly matters is the company's capacity to commit to choosing what’s right for the people, community and the planet before choosing what’s right for their piggy bank. B Corp is a broad doorway to enter and a narrow path to follow.

 

Megana Mikuciauskaite 
Frances Jackson

I wanted to write about B corp. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it's a growing network of 6,000 organisations worldwide, all of whom have one goal: to transform the global economy to benefit all people, communities and the planet. And we are one of them. 

But B Corp itself has recently been coming under increasing scrutiny as some of those certified do not appear to be abiding by the rules they signed up to. The news that Havas Media has been appointed as Shell’s new media buying agency caused controversy in the design industry. Havas currently has four subsidiaries that are certified B Corps and calls are being made to strip them of their B Corp status. But with the account being worth many millions (Shell spent a reported $240 million on paid media in 2022) maybe they don’t care. 
This and a number of other stories raised a question for us, is B Corp a genuine force for good, or has it just become another marketing opportunity?

Becoming B Corp certified involves a rigorous and comprehensive accreditation procedure where an organisation's performance is tested across five categories: governance, employees, customers, community, and environment. It took us two years. To pass it successfully, you must score at least 80 points. At the time of certification, ours was 87. So we passed, but we still have some way to meet the targets we set ourselves.   

Transparent on paper
Similar to ESG (Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance: the framework most commonly used to assess an organisation's performance on various sustainability and ethical issues), there are loopholes in the B Corp assessment. An on-trend certification scheme may look especially appealing to younger companies and founders who want to grow their business in the right way. However, it also attracts the brands that do not have the same intent or are less transparent, resulting in nothing more than virtue-signalling. In those instances, both B Corp and ESG metrics can be used to greenwash an organisation's otherwise ethically dubious practices.

B Corp application and the whole process that follows is quite complex yet extremely accessible. You might think that if Nespresso can be certified (raise your hand if you have their coffee machine in your office or at home), anyone can do it. From reported human rights violations to deforestation – even George Clooney can’t cover up the brand’s mess. 

So why bother applying for the status? Nespresso has proven that so-called transparency on a piece of paper often doesn’t translate to actions. In a B Corp’s case, there are no requirements to address or remediate the harms caused. Brands can publicly disclose whatever makes them look good and remain silent about areas that have been neglected. This is convenient and flexible in a way you wouldn’t – and shouldn’t – expect it to be. Subsidiaries can also be certified, regardless of the parent brand's behaviour. Take Innocent, the ‘not so innocent after all’ drinks brand that everyone loved in the early naughties but then sold a majority stake to Coca Cola in 2010. So, while Innocent may be B Corp certified, the brand does not seem too concerned with fighting the battle within its own parent company which is among the world’s biggest polluters despite its sustainability pledges. In some cases, lasting change does not start from within. In fact, sometimes it doesn’t start at all. 

B Corp is good for everyone
It’s a glass half full or half empty situation. The more companies commit to making a positive difference, the better. However, the growing number of businesses claiming to be responsible make it hard to distinguish between the talkers and doers, weakening the message and the impact of the B Corp movement.

Will we soon have a top achievers list, celebrating the most responsible companies? Are there going to be levels of greatness? Will that ignite competition or overshadow the real function of this certification?

Becoming a B Corp is a major milestone, especially for the smaller companies who work hard to survive and make hard choices to stay ethical. Having said that, the big players who hold the power should be encouraged to join the movement – and required to swear an oath or two before that. 

By now, everyone knows that brands with a proven commitment to making a positive difference just do better. They attract like-minded, socially conscious people and clients. They have a better public image. As long as it’s genuine and can be evidenced. Businesses need to work harder than ever to be noticed and attract top talent. They say money keeps the lights on, purpose keeps the people. Who wouldn’t want to work for or with a planet-friendly company, knowing it strives to make a positive difference? It’s a no brainer. 

It’s not all bad
Is it all greenwashing? We don’t think so. If we label it as yet another example of greenwashing we close the doors on the possibility of positive action. It would be cynical to diminish B Corp. It truly can do wonders for the company if used as a tool for improvement and is approached as a long-term process, not a marketing initiative which, having been achieved, is when the work stops. 

Accreditation identifies an organisation's weak points and offers a road map for adjustments by providing a guide on sustainable and social practices that should be adopted. Importantly brands need to be re-certified by the B Lab every three years to retain the status. This built-in accountability is important to avoid rewarding short-term gains that are damaging in the long-run. Here, everyone loses. 

The sceptics may still think ‘yeah, right…’. But it has proved effective. A year ago, Brewdog was stripped of the status following the ‘culture of fear’ accusations. This shows that peer pressure within the B Corp network can – to some extent – keep businesses accountable.

Don’t fake it till you make it
What’s important is to know your ‘why’ before applying. If it doesn’t match your company’s values and practices, don’t force it, change first. The market is already overflowing with fake sustainability claims – greenwashing, purpose-washing, social-washing, you name it. More and more businesses are pledging eco-friendly standards and most of them are falling spectacularly short. According to The European Commission, around 42% of companies have been said to exaggerate their sustainability claims. 

B Corp is and should be open for all. A high and enforceable bar shouldn’t get in the way of positive progress. What truly matters is the company's capacity to commit to choosing what’s right for the people, community and the planet before choosing what’s right for their piggy bank. B Corp is a broad doorway to enter and a narrow path to follow.


Megana Mikuciauskaite 
Frances Jackson

I wanted to write about B corp. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it's a growing network of 6,000 organisations worldwide, all of whom have one goal: to transform the global economy to benefit all people, communities and the planet. And we are one of them. 

But B Corp itself has recently been coming under increasing scrutiny as some of those certified do not appear to be abiding by the rules they signed up to. The news that Havas Media has been appointed as Shell’s new media buying agency caused controversy in the design industry. Havas currently has four subsidiaries that are certified B Corps and calls are being made to strip them of their B Corp status. But with the account being worth many millions (Shell spent a reported $240 million on paid media in 2022) maybe they don’t care. This and a number of other stories raised a question for us, is B Corp a genuine force for good, or has it just become another marketing opportunity?

Becoming B Corp certified involves a rigorous and comprehensive accreditation procedure where an organisation's performance is tested across five categories: governance, employees, customers, community, and environment. It took us two years. To pass it successfully, you must score at least 80 points. At the time of certification, ours was 87. So we passed, but we still have some way to meet the targets we set ourselves.   

Transparent on paper
Similar to ESG (Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance: the framework most commonly used to assess an organisation's performance on various sustainability and ethical issues), there are loopholes in the B Corp assessment. An on-trend certification scheme may look especially appealing to younger companies and founders who want to grow their business in the right way. However, it also attracts the brands that do not have the same intent or are less transparent, resulting in nothing more than virtue-signalling. In those instances, both B Corp and ESG metrics can be used to greenwash an organisation's otherwise ethically dubious practices.

B Corp application and the whole process that follows is quite complex yet extremely accessible. You might think that if Nespresso can be certified (raise your hand if you have their coffee machine in your office or at home), anyone can do it. From reported human rights violations to deforestation – even George Clooney can’t cover up the brand’s mess. 

So why bother applying for the status? Nespresso has proven that so-called transparency on a piece of paper often doesn’t translate to actions. In a B Corp’s case, there are no requirements to address or remediate the harms caused. Brands can publicly disclose whatever makes them look good and remain silent about areas that have been neglected. This is convenient and flexible in a way you wouldn’t – and shouldn’t – expect it to be. Subsidiaries can also be certified, regardless of the parent brand's behaviour. Take Innocent, the ‘not so innocent after all’ drinks brand that everyone loved in the early naughties but then sold a majority stake to Coca Cola in 2010. So, while Innocent may be B Corp certified, the brand does not seem too concerned with fighting the battle within its own parent company which is among the world’s biggest polluters despite its sustainability pledges. In some cases, lasting change does not start from within. In fact, sometimes it doesn’t start at all. 

B Corp is good for everyone
It’s a glass half full or half empty situation. The more companies commit to making a positive difference, the better. However, the growing number of businesses claiming to be responsible make it hard to distinguish between the talkers and doers, weakening the message and the impact of the B Corp movement.

Will we soon have a top achievers list, celebrating the most responsible companies? Are there going to be levels of greatness? Will that ignite competition or overshadow the real function of this certification?

Becoming a B Corp is a major milestone, especially for the smaller companies who work hard to survive and make hard choices to stay ethical. Having said that, the big players who hold the power should be encouraged to join the movement – and required to swear an oath or two before that. 

By now, everyone knows that brands with a proven commitment to making a positive difference just do better. They attract like-minded, socially conscious people and clients. They have a better public image. As long as it’s genuine and can be evidenced. Businesses need to work harder than ever to be noticed and attract top talent. They say money keeps the lights on, purpose keeps the people. Who wouldn’t want to work for or with a planet-friendly company, knowing it strives to make a positive difference? It’s a no brainer. 

It’s not all bad
Is it all greenwashing? We don’t think so. If we label it as yet another example of greenwashing we close the doors on the possibility of positive action. It would be cynical to diminish B Corp. It truly can do wonders for the company if used as a tool for improvement and is approached as a long-term process, not a marketing initiative which, having been achieved, is when the work stops. 

Accreditation identifies an organisation's weak points and offers a road map for adjustments by providing a guide on sustainable and social practices that should be adopted. Importantly brands need to be re-certified by the B Lab every three years to retain the status. This built-in accountability is important to avoid rewarding short-term gains that are damaging in the long-run. Here, everyone loses. 

The sceptics may still think ‘yeah, right…’. But it has proved effective. A year ago, Brewdog was stripped of the status following the ‘culture of fear’ accusations. This shows that peer pressure within the B Corp network can – to some extent – keep businesses accountable.

Don’t fake it till you make it
What’s important is to know your ‘why’ before applying. If it doesn’t match your company’s values and practices, don’t force it, change first. The market is already overflowing with fake sustainability claims – greenwashing, purpose-washing, social-washing, you name it. More and more businesses are pledging eco-friendly standards and most of them are falling spectacularly short. According to The European Commission, around 42% of companies have been said to exaggerate their sustainability claims. 

B Corp is and should be open for all. A high and enforceable bar shouldn’t get in the way of positive progress. What truly matters is the company's capacity to commit to choosing what’s right for the people, community and the planet before choosing what’s right for their piggy bank. B Corp is a broad doorway to enter and a narrow path to follow.

 

Megana Mikuciauskaite 
Frances Jackson

I wanted to write about B corp. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it's a growing network of 6,000 organisations worldwide, all of whom have one goal: to transform the global economy to benefit all people, communities and the planet. And we are one of them. 


But B Corp itself has recently been coming under increasing scrutiny as some of those certified do not appear to be abiding by the rules they signed up to. The news that Havas Media has been appointed as Shell’s new media buying agency caused controversy in the design industry. Havas currently has four subsidiaries that are certified B Corps and calls are being made to strip them of their B Corp status. But with the account being worth many millions (Shell spent a reported $240 million on paid media in 2022) maybe they don’t care. This and a number of other stories raised a question for us, is B Corp a genuine force for good, or has it just become another marketing opportunity?

Becoming B Corp certified involves a rigorous and comprehensive accreditation procedure where an organisation's performance is tested across five categories: governance, employees, customers, community, and environment. It took us two years. To pass it successfully, you must score at least 80 points. At the time of certification, ours was 87. So we passed, but we still have some way to meet the targets we set ourselves.   

 Transparent on paper
Similar to ESG (Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance: the framework most commonly used to assess an organisation's performance on various sustainability and ethical issues), there are loopholes in the B Corp assessment. An on-trend certification scheme may look especially appealing to younger companies and founders who want to grow their business in the right way. However, it also attracts the brands that do not have the same intent or are less transparent, resulting in nothing more than virtue-signalling. In those instances, both B Corp and ESG metrics can be used to greenwash an organisation's otherwise ethically dubious practices.

B Corp application and the whole process that follows is quite complex yet extremely accessible. You might think that if Nespresso can be certified (raise your hand if you have their coffee machine in your office or at home), anyone can do it. From reported human rights violations to deforestation – even George Clooney can’t cover up the brand’s mess. 

So why bother applying for the status? Nespresso has proven that so-called transparency on a piece of paper often doesn’t translate to actions. In a B Corp’s case, there are no requirements to address or remediate the harms caused. Brands can publicly disclose whatever makes them look good and remain silent about areas that have been neglected. This is convenient and flexible in a way you wouldn’t – and shouldn’t – expect it to be. Subsidiaries can also be certified, regardless of the parent brand's behaviour. Take Innocent, the ‘not so innocent after all’ drinks brand that everyone loved in the early naughties but then sold a majority stake to Coca Cola in 2010. So, while Innocent may be B Corp certified, the brand does not seem too concerned with fighting the battle within its own parent company which is among the world’s biggest polluters despite its sustainability pledges. In some cases, lasting change does not start from within. In fact, sometimes it doesn’t start at all. 

B Corp is good for everyone
It’s a glass half full or half empty situation. The more companies commit to making a positive difference, the better. However, the growing number of businesses claiming to be responsible make it hard to distinguish between the talkers and doers, weakening the message and the impact of the B Corp movement.

Will we soon have a top achievers list, celebrating the most responsible companies? Are there going to be levels of greatness? Will that ignite competition or overshadow the real function of this certification?

Becoming a B Corp is a major milestone, especially for the smaller companies who work hard to survive and make hard choices to stay ethical. Having said that, the big players who hold the power should be encouraged to join the movement – and required to swear an oath or two before that. 

By now, everyone knows that brands with a proven commitment to making a positive difference just do better. They attract like-minded, socially conscious people and clients. They have a better public image. As long as it’s genuine and can be evidenced. Businesses need to work harder than ever to be noticed and attract top talent. They say money keeps the lights on, purpose keeps the people. Who wouldn’t want to work for or with a planet-friendly company, knowing it strives to make a positive difference? It’s a no brainer. 

It’s not all bad
Is it all greenwashing? We don’t think so. If we label it as yet another example of greenwashing we close the doors on the possibility of positive action. It would be cynical to diminish B Corp. It truly can do wonders for the company if used as a tool for improvement and is approached as a long-term process, not a marketing initiative which, having been achieved, is when the work stops. 

Accreditation identifies an organisation's weak points and offers a road map for adjustments by providing a guide on sustainable and social practices that should be adopted. Importantly brands need to be re-certified by the B Lab every three years to retain the status. This built-in accountability is important to avoid rewarding short-term gains that are damaging in the long-run. Here, everyone loses. 

The sceptics may still think ‘yeah, right…’. But it has proved effective. A year ago, Brewdog was stripped of the status following the ‘culture of fear’ accusations. This shows that peer pressure within the B Corp network can – to some extent – keep businesses accountable.

Don’t fake it till you make it
What’s important is to know your ‘why’ before applying. If it doesn’t match your company’s values and practices, don’t force it, change first. The market is already overflowing with fake sustainability claims – greenwashing, purpose-washing, social-washing, you name it. More and more businesses are pledging eco-friendly standards and most of them are falling spectacularly short. According to The European Commission, around 42% of companies have been said to exaggerate their sustainability claims. 

B Corp is and should be open for all. A high and enforceable bar shouldn’t get in the way of positive progress. What truly matters is the company's capacity to commit to choosing what’s right for the people, community and the planet before choosing what’s right for their piggy bank. B Corp is a broad doorway to enter and a narrow path to follow.

Megana Mikuciauskaite 
Frances Jackson