People, Purpose, Planet

Our people first ethos

No two people at Milk & Honey are alike. Quite deliberately, we are a collective of diverse individuals who come together as a unified and effective whole. 

We do, however, have at least one thing in common: the belief that good business is ‘good’ business. It is a fundamental that underpins everything we do. As we create value for our clients, we bring benefit to our local, regional, national and global communities, and instinctively provide the support that each of us needs. Although not a fixed tenet of our recruitment policy, it is striking that this understanding defines us all. 

As such, we are all deeply proud to present Milk & Honey’s first B Corp impact report: People, Purpose, Planet. These three pillars support us as we work to make a positive impact on individuals, organisations and communities through our business. 

This report details our efforts since August 2019 when we gained our accreditation. Over the past year we have worked to ensure that we are committed, responsible and active citizens. While we are pleased with our progress, we are not complacent. Each year’s report is simply the baseline for the next: an annual waypoint to guide and inspire us as we seek to improve. To be a better business. 

We are proud, excited and hopeful — because this first report is simply the first step. 

Kirsty Leighton
Founder and Managing Partner

Our purpose

Milk & Honey was set up to be a different kind of agency. One where people come first. Where passion and creativity are prized. Where clients are celebrated. One where there is time to think, to go the extra mile. A land of opportunity.

We deliver brave, socially and ethically responsible campaigns that influence markets and inspire people. As a team we live and breathe our values of energy, bravery, passion, collaboration, respect and loyalty.

Our own growth is driven by three themes

  • To create a happy and nurturing place to work – our happy hive
  • To be bigger than ourselves, to pass on knowledge, skills and best practice
  • ‘Bee’ a force for good 

This report will walk you through what we are doing and what we have achieved in each of these three areas. 

Our focus

People

We are committed to an environment where people are valued, respected and empowered. Training, benefits and wellbeing are embedded to recognise and reward energy, bravery, respect, passion, collaboration and loyalty. Taking this forward in 2020, we have achieved an accreditation in Investors in People — ranking 14th out of 4,000 companies assessed and placing us in the top 0.35%. It’s a real achievement for any organisation, but particularly for an agency of our size. 

Purpose

We are committed to passing on knowledge, skills and best practice. We nurture the careers of future storytellers, so that powerful messages can be delivered through and beyond our agency. We dedicate five percent of team time to fundraising and volunteering — and in 2020 have teamed up with Plan International UK to support educational initiatives that will break the cycle of poverty and inequality across the world. 

Planet

We have the power to be a force for good — to be the change that we want to see. Our ambitions align with both the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the UK’s National Development strategy. Turning ambition into outcomes, we have partnered with rePurpose, an innovative plastic credit platform, to help promote and deliver plastic neutrality — an urgent global challenge. 

Our improvement pledges

  1. Go plastic neutral in 2020 
  2. Disclose the percentage of turnover from high carbon clients 
  3. Invest five percent of team time in volunteer projects and fundraising initiatives 
  4. Increase team ownership to a third by 2021 
  5. Go carbon neutral by 2022 

Aligning Development to the goals UN Sustainable

The United Nations sustainable development goals are the world’s collective call to action. To end poverty and restore our planet’s life support systems by 2030. We have identified five key areas for our business to make a positive contribution and support a decade of action.

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition
We put our people first, supporting them with healthy food options in the workplace, supermarket discounts and nutrition and wellbeing support.

Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages
Find out more about how we work with the Centre for Medical Health to drive change within our workplace.

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
We have an all female board and feel an obligation to support girls and women’s rights internationally. Read about our new charity partnership with Plan International UK.

Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
We are proud to be employee owned, which is key to our shared success. After two years everyone is offered shares in the business at no cost.

Reduce inequalities within and amongst countries
We are committed to passing on our knowledge and skills to the communities around us.

Creating a happy hive

At the core of our business are our values. We use them to run productive meetings, measure professional development, recruit brilliant people, make good decisions and guide our professional relationships. We run our Hive Happiness survey twice a year to better understand how our team feels and what we can collectively improve. Being a finalist in this year’s PRWeek Best Places to Work was a real high point, but we have more work to do here.

Culture

Five clients

No team member works on more than five clients

£1,000+ individual training budget pa

95% of the team feel Milk & Honey offers the resources and opportunities to grow professionally

100% of the team worked flexibly in 2019

Diversity

icon_lgbtq

15% identify as LGBTQ

Hive Happiness

38% of the team involved in industry judging

Negative gender pay gap

100% female board

25% staff non-white British

Career development

95% of the team love working for Milk & Honey PR

Mentor

100% of team members have an industry mentor

95%

95% of the team believe they will achieve their full potential working at Milk & Honey  PR

20% of the team own
shares in the business

I was really impressed with all the good practice I found at the business after only three years in operation. It is remarkable the level of sophistication Milk & Honey has in place for a business of its size. Great leadership and a happy, growing agency in which to build your career.

Javier Jaso, Investors in
People practitioner

Announcing…
Investors in People accreditation

Our number one priority has always been to create a happy and ambitious agency. To put people at the centre of our operation with strong training, meaningful benefits and wellbeing schemes in place.

In May 2020 we announced our Investors in People accreditation. We ranked 14th out of 4,000 companies assessed in the last year. Placing us in the top 0.35% of companies.

What is Investors in People?

Investors in People is a movement to make work better. To put people first and care about their work-life balance. Building a stronger, healthier, happier society.

The assessment process comprises of initial discussions around the company’s ambition, the production of an assessment plan, administration of an online survey and interviews conducted with a representative sample chosen from across the organisation.

portrait---Caroline-G---hall

Nine in ten PR professionals have struggled with their mental wellbeing in the past 12 months. Our goal is to protect our staff and provide them with the tools to look after their own mental health. This commitment goes beyond just ticking a box. We want to be a part of providing
practical industry solutions.

Caroline Gruen,
associate partner at Milk & Honey PR London

Announcing… Centre for Mental Health
programme participation

We are working with the Centre for Mental Health — a charity dedicated to understanding mental illness, promoting mental health and wellbeing and challenging inequality and disadvantage.

What does the programme involve?

Centre for Mental Health has been commissioned by social enterprise Mental Health First Aid England to work with London South Bank University (LSBU) on a large-scale three year study.

We are taking part in the study to discover the impact of mental health first aiders in the workplace. Contributing anonymised data including recruitment, retention, sickness and productivity.

Nurturing careers

Investment in people extends beyond our own workforce. We are committed to passing on knowledge, skills and best practice to the communities around us. It is also in our interests to bring on the next generation of PR professionals. They give us fresh perspectives and access to the brightest new talent.

We work hard to make sure that what we do is right. Not just for us, but the people we work with and the communities around us.

The first way we do this is through placement opportunities. These span school work experiences; paid one-month intern programmes; and 42-week university sandwich placements. Programmes are tailored to the individual to deliver insights into the world of PR, and to provide hands-on experience. We’re proud to have enriched the careers of eight individuals outside our hive – half ended up becoming fully fledged team members.

We get our energy and inspiration from engaging with the people and communities around us. So it’s only fair we give something back. Over the past 12 months we have led debates at events including the PRCA Career Development Day, and a panel on ‘tackling the glass ceiling in PR’. We are also actively involved in external mentor programmes both as mentors and mentees.
Harriet King, client manager, head of junior recruitment and development

Our Hive

Nurturing future storytellers

We stand with brave children everywhere, and we are incredibly proud to be supporting Plan International UK. Together, we will nurture and empower future storytellers. Helping to unlock the potential of young people.

What is Plan International?

Plan International is a development and humanitarian organisation that advances children’s rights and equality for girls.

Our commitment

To raise £10,000 per year to unlock the potential of young people, especially girls. To dedicate five percent of team time to fundraising and volunteering initiatives.

As a people-first agency, we are passionate about equal opportunities. Every child should have every chance to thrive – and our work for Plan International will help to unlock the potential of young people. We also have an allfemale board and feel an obligation to fight for girls’ rights.
Jess Ballinger, associate partner, London

Bee-ing a force for good

We’re a certified B Corp

We are proud to say we were only the fifth marketing agency in the UK to achieve this certification. We believe in the power of business as a force for good. We are rigorously assessed on how we are delivering our mission in the most ethical, environmentally sympathetic and sustainable ways possible.

Improvement initiatives

Since our accreditation in August 2019, we have focused on improving our governance and customers’ scores. Although not verified, the B Lab system has awarded us points for adding an independent non-exec director to our board and aligning our people processes to Investors in People standards. We also made huge strides with our UN Sustainable Development Goals commitments and formalised partnerships with Plan International, our charity partner, and rePurpose, which is helping us to go plastic neutral.

Like all B Corps, we must complete the B Impact Assessment every three years, cementing our ongoing commitment to raising standards of transparency, accountability and performance. This gives us a score out of 200. The median score for non-B Corps of our size is 53.7. In 2019 we scored
Governance Workers 87.3. Ten months on, we have increased that to 103.3. We are not due to be retested until 2022, but we have set Community Environment ourselves a target to keep improving our score by 10 points a year.

How we compare

Benchmarking against other companies is critical to identify where we stand out, and where we need to improve. The B Lab system shows us the mean for a company of our size (the grey box) and where we are right now (the white box). The slider shows the maximum number of points per sector. As you can see, we have made significant progress in most areas. Much more needs to be done under environment. Our shared office means this is slower.

Community 23.1

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 5.6
Economic Impact 9.3
Civic Engagement & Giving 4.3

Environment 7.1

Environmental Management 2.8
Air & Climate 0.9
Water 0.3
Land & Life 2.5

Customers 12.3

Customer Stewardship 4.5

Governance 16.1

Mission & Engagement 1.8
Ethics & Transparency 6.8

+Mission Locked 7.5

Recognises corporate forms and amendments that preserve mission and/or considers stakeholders regardless of company ownership

Workers 44.5

Financial Security 15.2
Health, Wellness & Safety 11.2
Career Development 7.5
Engagement & Satisfaction 8.5

Client carbon disclosure

One of our agency pledges is to disclose the percentage of turnover from high carbon
clients by 2020. So here it is.

Client carbon disclosure

Percentage of revenue from high carbon producing sectors

  • Oil & gas (0%)
  • Electricity and heat (0%)
  • Aviation (0%)
  • Road transport (0%)
  • Logistics (0%)
  • Residential (0%)
  • Agriculture (0%)
  • Forestry and land management (0%)

Client carbon disclosure

We are guided by our values when deciding which clients to work with. We operate with honesty and integrity always and we expect our clients to share our commitments and approach.

Percentage of revenue from client sectors in June 2020

Going plastic neutral in 2020

We’ve pledged to go plastic neutral in 2020. So there’s no time to waste. We will make it happen by working with rePurpose – a global movement of conscious consumers and businesses going plastic neutral.

What is rePurpose Global?

rePurpose, which is currently pending B Corp status, delivers the world’s first plastic credit platform. Helping individuals and companies of all sizes to remove and recycle ocean- bound plastic. 

Using a process of rebalancing, rePurpose helps companies to assess their unique plastic footprints, to take action by financing the removal of as much nature-bound plastic waste as their operations create, and reduce their usage of virgin plastic going forward. 

The innovative venture accomplishes this through its Global Impact Network of vetted recycling projects across six countries and three continents.

Step 1
Measure

Take a quiz to understand our plastic footprint

Step 1
reBalance

Offset our footprint through rePurpose guidance

Step 3
Reduce

Implement zero waste tips provided by rePurpose bespoke recommendations

Step 4
Impact

Combat pollution and empower marginalised waste workers worldwide

Big thanks to our magical team, committed partners and loyal clients for supporting us to create a better business. Putting people and planet first.