As an SME, and social value consultancy, the philosophy of creating lasting value for all stakeholders is at the very heart of our purpose. We spent some time exploring the best way to “bake” this into our business and validate / benchmark our performance.
Applying for B Corp status was a natural next step to becoming a more transparent and accountable business for good, particularly as many of the requirements align with our existing principles. Much of what we already said and did already reflected the ethos of what B Corp certification represents.
Now almost twelve months into the journey (much of which was spent waiting in the assessment queue), we’ve learned a lot about ourselves, our business, what we are doing well and where we can improve.
So What Have We Actually Done?
The first thing we did was submit an interim assessment. We used this exercise to measure and document what we already do, and to identify the changes we needed to make to improve. We tweaked and formalised some existing policies to meet the assessment criteria. We changed our articles and memorandum of association to formalise that our purpose is to have a positive impact on society and the environment in addition to benefiting shareholders.
What Happens Next?
We passed our interim assessment in the summer, and are now in the final stages of verification by a B Corp assessor. On our current trajectory we hope to become certified in early 2022.
We believe that this certification will help us to congruently and modestly explain the positive impacts we have on our employees, our clients, our suppliers and most importantly, the people affected by the social value work that we do. By joining the B Corp family, we are consolidating our promise to put the interests of all our stakeholders on an equal footing with shareholder interests. We intend to use the B Corp approach to develop sustainably, in a way that supports people and planet.
Would We Recommend B Corp to Other Firms?
The process so far has been incredibly helpful in understanding where we stand against some very rigorous and widely respected ESG-style criteria. It has pushed us to think more critically about how our day-to-day operations can best support our beliefs and principles. Whether we achieve certification or not this time round, and if so, how that improves or supports our business and our culture, remains to be seen.
So far, every stage of our B Corp journey has been useful and beneficial. If you haven’t done so yet, take a moment to explore the values and business practices that B Corp endorses. We will share more about our own experiences as they unfold.