A Truro-based wine importer, wholesaler and retailer has become the first merchant in the UK – and only the second globally – to become a registered B Corp. Old Chapel Cellars achieved the highly regarded environmental and social certification this month, after undergoing a rigorous verification process.
They join Danish importer Østjysk Vinforsyning as the only B Corp accredited wine merchants to date.
Louisa Fitzpatrick, who runs Old Chapel alongside Co-Owner Jamie Tonkin, said: “We are extremely proud to have officially become a B Corp. It’s very rewarding to have our commitment to the highest environmental and social standards validated in this way.”
She continued: “Jamie and I would like to thank our fellow team members Emily Bone and Steve Brown for their amazing support in helping us achieve this. Certification will shape our future aspirations as a purpose-led business which considers people, planet and profit in every decision it makes.”
Based in a characterful former chapel on St Clement’s Street, Louisa and Jamie head up one of the UK’s top independent merchants, dealing directly with wineries all over the world.
Wholesale customers, including some of Cornwall’s top restaurants and hotels, benefit from Old Chapel’s unique access to exclusive wines carefully sourced from estates which share their ethos and values.
Meanwhile, visitors to the Old Chapel’s wine store enjoy an eclectic and constantly evolving selection of wines, spirits and beers displayed with helpful information and friendly advice on hand should you need it.
Louisa, who has been in the wine trade for over 20 years, explains: “When I went into partnership with Jamie at Old Chapel Cellars in 2020, we quickly discovered that we shared the same ethos regarding environmental sustainability, valuing people and being part of the local community.”
Jamie takes up the story: “We decided to attempt the B Corp Impact Assessment and see where we stood on becoming verified. You need to achieve a minimum of 80 points; our final total at certification was 87.9 points. We had invaluable help from consultant Muryel Boulay from B Other Wise Ltd, who helped us with a thorough audit of the business.”
In wine, as in many industries, ‘greenwashing’ is increasingly used in marketing to attract customers who want to shop more sustainably; by contrast, B Corp status signifies a thorough, holistic approach to safeguarding people, planet and profit which has to be recertified every three years.
As Louisa sees it: “Our business is not going to solve the world’s climate crisis, and neither are we perfect. However, becoming a B Corp commits us to transparency and continual improvement. We’re really excited to see where the journey takes us.”
Old Chapel Cellars joins a 20-strong group of Cornish B Corps, which together form a ‘B Local’ group.