On the evening of the 27th of January, Future Leap held a hybrid event on the topic of B Corp, kindly sponsored by Network members Digital Detox, a humanity-led digital product agency. Before the event began, the attendees enjoyed some pre sessional networking both in-person over refreshments and online.
Katherine Piper of Future Leap welcomed the attendees before giving an insight into The Future Leap Network, Future Leap Hub and the many benefits of membership, as well as the Festival of Sustainable Business. She began by highlighting the need for widespread grassroots climate action and leadership, as governments are failing to move decisively in order to enact the rapid pace of change that is necessary. She then introduced the speakers:
- Andy Hawkins, B Corp Consultant, Future Leap
- Liam Snelling, MD, Digital Detox
- Marta Villar, Finance Controller, Digital Detox
Andy Hawkins, Future Leap
Andy kicked off presentations by giving an overview of what B Corp is, how it has grown, the businesses currently going through it and the support available to start your journey. He covered the reasons why a company should go B Corp, and how the process works. Andy dispelled some myths and common misconceptions about B Corp, which can be found in “further information” below. It was an inspiring start to the event, and explained how Andy runs informative and friendly cohort sessions for those wanting to start their B Corp journey with the support of others.
Liam Snelling and Marta Villar, Digital Detox
Katherine then introduced the event sponsors, Liam and Marta from Digital Detox. Liam and Marta shared a talk, with Liam in the physical space and Marta in the virtual space. Liam started the presentation by explaining that adopting a people-first approach has been instrumental to Digital Detox’s success over the past 15 years. By becoming a B Corp, they are future-proofing their business and the world around them.
They explained why it is important to become a B Corp and how it can benefit a business. They then went on to give the audience an idea of what the application process was like, what lessons they learned and what new measures they introduced. Of particular interest was Liam’s inspiration taken from Doughnut Economics, and how they used this framework to create a healthy business strategy internally and externally.
They then finished their joint presentation by explaining next steps; what happens to a business after becoming B Corp?
Q&A and Breakouts
After all of the speakers had presented, time was given for an insightful hybrid Q&A. Both the physical and virtual audience were then invited to spend 30 minutes in break outs with facilitators, to discuss the current blockers for those starting their B Corp journey and create group plans on how to overcome these blockers. More information can be found below under “further information”.
60 second pitches
We heard snappy 60 second pitches from Garrett Creative, Mags Shapiro (Social Capital), Rehab Agency and Hoap Club.
Katherine presented the attendees with some next steps, including signing up to Bristol’s Climate Ask, joining Future Leap’s Network and applying for our 2022 Sustainable Business Awards. She then brought the event to a close, thanking all the speakers and attendees for their insight and interest. Those who attended virtually went into breakout rooms and those in person enjoyed networking with some sustainably-sourced catering.
Thank you again to Digital Detox for sponsoring this event and supporting Future Leap’s events calendar!
- One of the principle discussed blockers to becoming a B Corp was cost. Break out facilitators talked through this and reminded people that the online tool is free, so you can start to use it and self-assess without any outlay. The costs of getting certified is a cost and asking someone to help you (like Andy) to get certified could come later. B Corp could help provide a framework for building your business in the early days without incurring a fee.
- Another piece of feedback was that some people thought that there were mandatory questions in the assessment that if you answered no to, you could not be B Corp. We talked through the B Corp IA and explained that there are no right or wrong answers because the assessment was based on over 200 questions. Zero points on one question could be accommodated with more points elsewhere.
- A final point was that it could be difficult to get a larger organisation on board with B Corp because getting buy-in from the top level management to follow this route without understanding the benefits could be tricky. Additionally, there were many different teams who had the data which could be tricky to obtain. It was suggested that the business benefits were presented to management, and with them on board a meeting is booked to ensure everyone in the team has a part to play in the process (keeping everyone accountable and interested in their company’s future).