Being certified as a B Corp is a proud moment for any company – but it is also an incredibly humbling one. The assessment process makes you realise just how much you could do, should do, and genuinely want to do.
The B Impact Assessment continues to exist after you have passed the magical 80-point threshold, so curious companies can seek out more ways to improve their impact on the world. The system uncovers potential blind spots in your business, but it’s all for the greater good. It’s to help you to become a better business and a force for good.
Here are five things we’ve learnt since being a B Corp:
We are lucky to have a formidable leadership team, but B Corp pointed us to alternative governance structures which would help us to be more accountable. This consultancy led us to hire a non-exec director – Richard Green – who sits externally to the business. Richard’s principal role is to keep the board on its toes. Pushing the business to be the best it can be. His contribution is bringing a different perspective, and challenging things we hadn’t even realised needed challenging.
We are proud to work in a co-working space. Le Bureau – based in Battersea – has been incredibly flexible and supportive the past year. Our office set-up did, however, provide some challenges when going through the B Corp accreditation. We simply couldn’t get our hands on the information we needed from the building owner in the timeframes we were working to. While some companies might have felt compelled to jump ship to their own ‘owned’ office where they had control over every supplier decision, this didn’t feel right to us. Instead, we’re now working collaboratively with the building owner to have positive discussions around things like water conservation methods and waste management systems. This will help us to better understand our impact on the environment and bring greater transparency to other businesses in our shared office space. We’re only just at the start of this journey but we’re excited to see where we can make positive changes.
The B Corp system is evidence based. It’s not good enough to simply say your team is able to spend five percent of working hours volunteering or fundraising; you need to demonstrate they’re actually doing it. While we encouraged all our team to dedicate their pro bono hours to causes they are personally passionate about, they quickly reported back that identifying and confirming volunteering activities is a time–consuming business. We decided to make it as easy as possible for people to get behind worthy causes. We are finding ways to support local projects including Bees and Refugees and Power to Connect, in addition to our fundraising for humanitarian organisation Plan International. The next frontier is to make sure everyone tracks their time – and anyone who works in a PR agency will fondly appreciate that this is an ongoing battle!
One of the exercises we completed as part of our initial accreditation was a tracker of all the initiatives our clients have underway to support social and environmental progress. This opened our eyes to some of the fantastic work happening and built a great sense of pride among the team. We all got a warm, fuzzy feeling from hearing more about the wider good our clients are doing in the world. The energy we got from this led us to invest in our ‘purpose’ offer, and we are proud to now be working with a number of companies working towards B Corp status themselves.
As a people-led business we were proud to score particularly highly on the ‘workers’ section in the initial assessment. But there is always room for improvement. We have doubled down on putting actionable programmes and partnerships in place. This includes making a commitment to work with our industry friends to enable 250 diverse candidates into PR by 2025.
Being a B Corp means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. To me, it means continuous improvement, and an ongoing commitment to support people, purpose and planet.