We’re really proud to be joining and helping to lead a movement towards more sustainable and balanced business practices that do good both in the world and also at a local and societal level.
The journey here first started last May when we undertook the initial self assessment and then put together our improvement plan to reach the required 80 point benchmark.
The process took 11 months from start to finish. Partly because we aimed higher than the initial 80 points, ending up with 88, and partly due to a global pandemic and backlog of auditing and verification at B Corp.
Where did we finish?
What I personally like about the B Corp system and framework is that if you’re genuinely committed to it’s fundamental aims, it’s a really great learning framework, and the improvement report it generates can act as a lightbulb moment. For example, we’ve always banked with Barclays since the inception of the business - it wasn’t even on our radar that some banks were significantly more ethical than others until we went through the B Corp process and started looking into the positive reasons to switch to Triodos bank, which gained us extra B Corp points and put our cash balances to much better use in the world. We also spent a lot of time updating, writing, and formalising our staff handbooks, firming up our ethical supplier policies and creating our environmental impact policies and strategy.
The way the framework scoring is cleverly weighted, coupled with the thorough verification and audit process means that if you’re a business genuinely wanting to do the right thing then it should be like pushing an open door, albeit with some potentially significant change management. On the other hand, for less committed businesses and boards that just want the accreditation as a marketing tool it would be more like pushing a locked door as the required amount of change would create too much friction.
Of course there are some potential financial business benefits too - B Corp is about balancing profit with purpose after all. We already work with a number of very ethically focussed clients, and we’d like to hope that certification will open the door to other like minded companies that we’d love to work with. We also feel that it demonstrates our ethical commitments to our team, and as we grow, to new potential recruits who want to work for a company that isn’t all about the bottom line.
So where next?
As we said previously the journey doesn’t stop here. We know there are further improvements we can make, and we’re going to be looking to tie those in with the UN created Sustainable Development Goals, which, conveniently, the BCORP framework has strong correlations with.
Dave now spends his time leading the Personal development and Culture within Engage. He is also a qualified coach.