19 Jul 1 Year of B Corp & Recognised as “Best for the World” 2021
It’s been a year since we became a B Corp and what a year it’s been! We always knew when we received our B Corp certification (and confirmation we were the 1st Chartered Surveyors in the World to achieve it, and we still are!) that we had only taken our first steps in utilising our Business as a Force for Good.
So, what have we learnt so far?
1. The B Impact Assessment is not an examination, although it can feel like one at times. Becoming a B Corp is a ‘whole business’ thing and reliance on a select few to embed a cultural change post verification is not recommended. We are an SME, so we thought the internal communication of B Corp would be simple (and quick) – it isn’t! Embedding that culture and purpose has been a big focus this year and will continue to be so. We’d suggest taking advice and guidance from established B Corps before you begin the assessment process. The most important thing is to take the B Impact Assessment and see where you are as a business, that may be as far as you choose to go, and that’s fine.
2. Not everyone knows what a B Corp is yet! Although our enthusiasm and that of others in the community is infectious, many of our clients, colleagues and collaborators are still yet to discover what it means, but we are starting to change that perspective. We have created a clear and concise ‘elevator pitch’ for our colleagues. It’s not enough just being able to recite what a B Corp is – but we have found that highlighting how it impacts the way we do business and interact with others is more meaningful.
3. Make B Corp relevant and specific to your business. We adopted 3 pillars of focus – People, Places and Planet – this best reflects what we do and the areas we can influence. As a business, we now consider the impact of all key decisions in this context. It has also helped us create more consistent internal and external comms with clear themes and relevant topics.
4. Collaboration is king! The B Corp community is bigger than you think! There are endless innovators, thought leaders and genuinely kind individuals out there. We are consistently gobsmacked by the response of the community to requests for help, sounding board or inspiration. We must try to draw on this amazing resource more!
5. We are in this for the long haul. Successful verification is not an ISO that you simply renew when your accreditation expires. The ongoing Impact Assessment process is about continual improvement, strengthening areas where you may not have scored so highly, it’s a perpetual challenge to do better. We liken B Corp to a golden thread that runs through every aspect of our business, we have genuinely found that once you make a commitment to do ‘better business’ being a B Corp swiftly becomes part of your DNA and second nature.
6. B Corp Values and the drive for adding demonstrable Social Value are remarkably aligned. If you work in the Public Sector you will be well aware of the Social Value Act (2012) and the renewed focus on delivering social, economic and environmental benefits through public procurement. Although B Corp verification is yet to be listed as a required qualification for public sector procurement, the aims and objectives are well aligned, and importantly, are evidence-based. So, being a B Corp can significantly enhance your business opportunities and growth in arenas where Social Value is important.
As we reflect on year 1, we are also hugely proud to share that we have been recognised as a Best for the World™ B Corp in the impact area of Workers. This means that our Impact Assessment score in this area places our business in the top 5% of all B Corps in the world.
Looking beyond our B Corp first steps and as we start to face the new challenges of the journey before us, our reflection is that it has unquestionably been worth the effort, and we would encourage you all to take a look. If you would like any support in starting your own B Corp journey, we are here to help. Here’s a link to the B Impact Assessment https://bimpactassessment.net/ it’s free and it will give you a great perspective on where you are as a business.