Honeywell Bakes is part of an exclusive club of UK bakeries that have achieved B Corp certification – a movement that aims to drive systematic change so that every business is a force for good.
Having gained certification in June 2022, it joins the likes of Hobbs House Bakery, Meg Rivers and Mademoiselle Desserts in B Corp’s ranks. Founder Rebecca Honeywell says she wanted to show that her business is “serious about balancing profit with people and the planet”.
She founded Honeywell Bakes in 2012 at the kitchen table over a cuppa and a biscuit. Back then it focused on dessert tables but pivoted to decorated biscuits as they were “much more secure in the post”, with baking kits added in 2017.
The business has also grown from a small team in a home kitchen to 20 staff members in a bespoke, purpose-built bakery. It operates from two converted barns in the Northamptonshire countryside offering a combined space of 6,000 sq ft.
From here the team creates around 700 baking kits and more than 6,000 biscuits a week. And with more than 2,000 biscuit cutters in the bakery’s archives, the output is varied, with pumpkins, monsters and bats among the seasonal biscuits on offer right now and polar bears, festive dogs and woodland shapes on the menu for Christmas. Hearts, houseplants, rainbows and even log fires also have a place in its line-up.
However, Honeywell admits her favourite cutter of choice is “is an old family heirloom set of circular cutters, these never let us down!”
Honeywell Bakes comprises an all-female team but Honeywell notes that this wasn’t a conscious decision.
“Although we can do anything we put our minds to as women, we would love it if some men applied for the roles we advertise,” she says. “The artistic side of the role seems to appeal more to women, and we do recruit blind to prevent any unconscious bias coming into decision-making.”
Conscious decision-making, however, is a key part of gaining and retaining B Corp certification, which sees every aspect of a business interrogated to ensure it really is a force for good. Businesses undertake a B Impact Assessment to kick things off which helps them measure and improve against five areas – community, customers, environment, governance and workers. To qualify for B Corp, a firm must score 80 points out of a possible 200, after which the assessment is analysed by independent experts and at least one interview takes place to ensure what’s on the form is truthful.
A key part of this journey for Honeywell was around its supply chain as it looks to do “everything we can to make sure the products we buy are not causing harm in other parts of the world”.
“We are proud supporters of wonderful companies such as Little Pod for our vanilla and Matthews Cotswold for our organic flour. We purchase packaging where we can from local companies, and consider everything down to the ink on our labels,” Honeywell explains.
“We are not perfect, but we try our very best daily and, from bin liners to cookie cutters, we make conscious decisions considering people, the planet and profit.”