Event Write-Up: Better Business | Removing your Barriers to B Corp, Sponsored by Ecosurety
You may have spotted the B Corp badge popping up on more and more packaging, or perhaps included on a business’s website footer, but what is it?
B Corp is for business what Fairtrade is for food. It’s a private certification to identify social and environmental performance in for-profit companies. Founded in America, B Corp is now a growing movement across the globe, with the UK now celebrating 1,000 B Corp organisations.
Companies must re-certify every three years to maintain B Corp status. In order to first become certified, a company must meet a range of requirements in which their impact on the environment, employees and customers is assessed, as well as their governance and supply chain. The score is outlined through completion of the B Corp Impact Assessment, a thorough questionnaire of the businesses’ operations.
With certified B Corps consistently outperforming in the market, attracting and retaining top talent and clearly communicating their values, they are organisations delivering great things for People, Planet and Profit.
Future Leap provides coaching and mentoring around the B Impact Assessment while we also await our own audit following submitting in summer 2022. We are delighted to have been joined by our kind sponsor, Ecosurety, in delivering a session covering the challenges and advantages of the B Corp Journey.
The first producer responsibility compliance scheme for packaging, WEEE and batteries to become B Corp certified. Trusted by many major brands, their packaging data services and interactive analytical dashboards help to optimise packaging for new legislation, while driving strategies to reduce environmental impact.
Stephanie Housty, Marketing and Sustainability Manager at Ecosurety
Stephanie kicked off the morning event, discussing Ecosurety’s own B Corp journey.
First, their team outlined why they wanted to approach this certification. The reason being that they wanted to accelerate their contribution towards an environmentally sustainable world. They were also deeply driven in looking after their staff and putting the team first. With values already aligned with those of a B Corp, they set off on the impact assessment.
It did take some time, having initially shown an interest in the certification back in 2015. They first took a shot at the assessment in January 2019, submitting this completed assessment in November 2019. 5 months later, they became certified.
Each year they set board objectives to increase their score, ensuring the improvement of processes across the board. Ahead of them now is the recertification, taking place every three years.
Stephanie outlined their biggest challenge as a lack of time. The assessment is very time consuming for a team working in existing and dedicated job roles. A pitfall she outlined to avoid was to allocate the right amount of people to the project, ensuring that a project coordinator assigns the right person to each area.
Advice Ecosurety wish they had known:
- Don’t wait! Start the assessment as soon as possible to see whether it is the right fit for you
- Seek external support. There are many events, workshops and B Leaders available to guide you through the process
- Document the narrative behind your answers. It’s good to know why you have approached your answer in the way that you have
- Bring your team on the journey. This will help to stimulate ideas within the wider company
- B Corp standards are changing and evolving. They are due to move away from their current format as soon as 2024
Ecosurety have found that gaining B Corp status has helped them to reinforce their credibility. They receive regular positive feedback from their customers, their staff are proud to be a part of the team, they attract brilliant new prospects and it pushes them to continuously improve.
Stephanie finished through emphasising that B Corp continues to be a journey rather than a destination. The framework is there to be used as a tool to seek improvement. It helps you to be a better business, as well as in defining your own culture and values. Being a B Corp is a responsibility to lead by example and to inspire others to use business as a force for good.
Jake Backus, Head of Sustainability at Seacourt
Seacourt have set out to be the most sustainable printer in the UK bar none, and chose to approach B Corp to help achieve this. They have certainly gone on to achieve incredible things.
Seacourt came out as the highest rated printer B Corp in the world, while also sitting in the top 5% for the Environmental section of all B Corps across the globe.
Jake completed his first B Corp Impact Assessment with Seacourt, and has gone on to complete 4 more for other businesses.
Jake’s top tips:
- Splitting the assessment into two phases. Phase 1 to first approach the questions and set your ambitions. During phase two, you should get your questions off Excel and create a to do list using Word. Many of us who lose our heads in spreadsheets can appreciate this,
- A senior management team should lead on the assessment, rather than being spread out across many members of the team. Top level leaders must dive the project forwards while setting an example.
- Do not attempt to get through the assessment too fast, as this does not provide ample time for engaging with employees, stakeholders, customers and so on.
- Staff engagement is very important. Let employees know about the advantages and benefits that come through B Corp certification. Use this as an opportunity to survey your team on their engagement and analyse this feedback to do better.
- Be aware of the new structure due to launch in 2024!
Sam Longworth, Project Coordinator at Hubbub
Hubbub are an award-winning environmental organisation, running campaigns to encourage positive behaviour change and everyday actions that will benefit the environment.
Their small and experienced team aim to empower the mainstream to take environmental action through collaboration, community-led action and using playful approaches and great design.
Sam led the delivery of Hubbub’s Impact Assessment, here are his top tips:
- Sam outlined the key barrier as motivation. Knowing what’s at the end of this long and winding road can help to keep the end goal in sight. You are more likely to succeed if you focus on the bigger picture of why you are making this move as a business.
- Engage your team, include the B Corp mission during employee onboarding and introduce your employees to the B Hive Platform once you are certified.
- You’re going to want to make some noise! Update your website, as well as your printed materials and products. Shout across your marketing platforms, but ensure you contextualise your news with your own voice.
- Make the most of the B Corp community. Get involved in working and B Local groups. Connecting with like-minded businesses will help to raise awareness of the movement, as well as your own achievements.
- Aim for a higher score. 3 years provides ample time for improvement goals. There is an opportunity to highlight areas for this improvement.
60 Second Pitches
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