In this third and final instalment of our series* about the business benefits of becoming a B Corp, Leap founder and B Corp Ambassador Matt Hocking shines a light on how the B Corp community help and support one and another, and how the benefits to his business have far outweighed the investment.
The B Corp community’s “buy from, invest in, work for,” by-line and commitment of interdependence is brilliant.
We will look to our fellow B Corps first, bar our locality. There is no large format printer that is a B Corp in the UK, so we use our local printers that are solar powered, ISO14001 and on our doorstep who we have a relationship – they fit the people and planet remit of who we will use. Definitely, we will go out to certain B Corps in our supply chain if we need certain skills. For promotional goods we’ve got Fluid in Cornwall, and Red Ink up in Brighton, both fantastic companies. We’re re-looking at Leap’s entire carbon footprint, historically and going forwards, to be aligned to science based targets below the 1.5 degrees. To do that, we reached out to a fellow B Corp. We know lots of people that do environmental auditing and we work with a couple locally, but relationship-wise there’s an added trust in value about doing the right thing.
We recently completed a website for the innocent foundation, and when I asked who else they invited to tender, it was three existing agencies but we were the only B Corp. That was interesting because there’s a lot of really good web design B Corps out there, but they said that it felt the right thing to ask a B Corp and we’d been highly recommended, and luckily enough we got the work.
The business benefits of becoming a B Corp have easily outweighed the costs (both time and financial commitments) associated with certification.
And this is the really interesting thing, because certification is so rigorous and it is going to take time. But it’s playing the long game, because what you invest in now, whether you’re in start-up mode or you’re an existing business, is going to prepare you for a much more attractive, resilient, profitable future because you know everything. It’s the first time that you’re going to look at your business through multiple lenses, rather than just look through the environmental lens, or the profit lens, or the people lens; it’s everything at once. And then you choose what’s going to be most viable for you to work on during certification periods. For me, resiliance is key. We’re in a time of rapid and mass change for our planet and its people, even monetary systems.
We’ve got lots of touch points where we can say, “right, this is happening, how should we respond to it?” and it’s not so much of a firefight. I will always say that whatever level your business is at, to designate time to using this tool to discover where you are as an organisation (and not necessarily to certificate, but just to get that overview) is incredibly valuable. Then if you feel that it’s something that you wish to move forwards with and invest further time in, you can.
Once you become a B Corp you’re then into an ever-improving cycle. Also, now is the future and we know that business has to change, and B Corp is just one route for that change making. We all, as individuals and business owners and employees, are stakeholders in the future of people and planet, but what we need is that framework to understand.
To have that badge on top of all the other things is worth doing, and so is putting it out there to inspire other businesses that maybe haven’t looked at a better way to do business. People are starting to recognise these businesses as having something different about them. There’s individuality and a togetherness that is apparent in the way that they work. It’s future proofing.
As a B Corp, you’re in a bigger community of changemakers.
One of the biggest rewards is sitting at the table. As a very small business in a very impoverished area of the UK, indeed if not of Europe, when doing our own thing for many years and doing good by it we always felt like a bit of an anomaly or the odd one out. Now we’re in this community of changemakers on a global level. One of the things to be conscious of with being a B Corp is that yes, the community is growing and will get bigger and bigger businesses joining. The certification and the business community is thriving around the world, but we are in our own bubble at the same time and we have to be conscious to explore outside of the fantastic bubble that B Corp is.
If you’d like to learn more about the road to becoming a certified B Corp, get in touch with Matt on firstname.lastname@example.org.