Startups 100 alumni Packfleet achieves B Corp certification

The tech-enabled courier has become the first logistics firm with an all-electric van fleet to achieve the prestigious environmental and social certification.

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London-based Packfleet, the ethical courier service that ranked in last year’s Startups 100 Index, has become one of the few logistics companies in the UK to achieve B Corporation status.

The green certificate represents a major milestone in the company’s ethical credentials. To become a B Corp, a firm must demonstrate its commitment to purpose, not profit, by using its business to support workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment.

To achieve the certification, issued by B Lab, Packfleet completed a rigorous B Impact Assessment scoring 80 or above.

Last year, the company won our first-ever Startups 100 Ecommerce award due to its anti-Amazon business model. Commenting on the award, guest judge Deann Evans from Shopify praised Packfleet for its “commitment to sustainability and society”.

B Corp win gives electric vehicles the green light

The news is the latest step in Packfleet’s green journey, which has seen the courier become the first B Corp-certified courier using a fleet of all-electric vans. Every Packfleet delivery is carbon neutral, with all of its vans powered using 100% renewable energy.

Electric vehicles (EVs) have taken the business world by storm this year, after the UK government announced that sales of new conventional petrol and diesel vehicles will be banned in 2030.

Almost one in five cars sold worldwide in 2023 will be a hybrid or fully-electric vehicle, according to the International Energy Agency. More UK business owners are choosing to get ahead of the transition this year by investing in an EV commercial fleet.

Tristan Thomas, CEO and co-founder of Packfleet, says this is a sound decision. He predicts that EV fleets will be the norm by the end of the decade: “Customers and businesses alike are calling for the courier industry to change its ways, and Packfleet is leading the charge.”

Government initiatives such as the Workplace Charging Scheme, which offers business owners a discount on EV charging equipment, can help to lessen costs incurred during the changeover.

The full package

Alongside EVs, Packfleet uses smart proprietary routing software, known as Pathfinder. Similar to vehicle tracking software, it  allows the couriers to pick up recyclable packaging from customers on their routes.

“Our focus has now shifted to making our fleet more efficient – improving our routing software and reducing the time our vans need to be on the road, rather than purchasing more vehicles,” Thomas explains.

The vans are also wrapped in an aquamarine blue, reducing the impact of fading in the sun meaning less need to renew the wrap and will soon proudly sport the B Corp logo. A tree is also planted for every parcel delivered.

Thomas states: “We set out with a mission to make sure every single Packfleet delivery improves our planet and we’re achieving that.

“B Corp is just the start. We have our eyes set on expanding carbon neutral deliveries beyond the M25 and helping form a truly circular delivery system fit for the future.”

A green, but not mean, machine

The Startups 100 Index is also interested in companies with a social impact, not just environmental. Packfleet’s focus is on treating workers with respect, not just the planet.

Every Packfleet driver is employed as a full-time staff member. They are also given private health insurance, customer-service-based bonuses, free lunches, and regular staff socials.

Rather than relying on the gig-economy, Packfleet says its fully employed drivers are paid 30% higher than the industry average, and receive competitive benefits and perks including enhanced paid parental leave.

Despite the added expense, this emphasis on ethical employment has done anything but slow Packfleet down. Founded just two years ago (the startup was also nominated for the Startups 100 Just Started award) Packfleet has since accelerated to a team of 100.

Customers are also happy. Packfleet now delivers for over 180 businesses including Cheese Geek, Peckham Cellars and Dishpatch. In 2022, the company achieved 10x growth and is quickly expanding its fleet beyond the capital’s borders.

“B Corp certification also recognises the work we do to make sure our people get the benefits and support they need to thrive at work and outside of it,” adds head vanman, Thomas.

“We refuse to take advantage of gig economy workers to deliver parcels – there’s a better way to do deliveries, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

Written by:
Helena Young
Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.

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