Businesses around the world are joining the growing B Corp movement, to reduce their impact on the environment and invest in their people, the planet and the future.
Gloucestershire-based Optimising IT is one of them — and it's sharing its experiences of becoming a B Corp with SoGlos in the first of our Gloucestershire B Corp series, to help other companies in the county take steps to achieving the prestigious certification.
When did Optimising IT become a certified B Corp?
We got our certification on Saturday 4 February 2023.
How long did the B Corp process take from start to finish? Can you tell us a bit about what it entails?
We started the process in March 2022, so the end-to-end process was around 11 months for us.
The first step was to complete the Impact Assessment, which gave us a score based on the policies and practices we already had in place, the makeup of our business, our environmental impact, etc. Then we worked on increasing our score through making some fairly minor changes to policies and uploading evidence for all our answers.
We submitted our application at the end of May 2022 and then continued to work on our score through making further improvements — for example, moving to an ethical banking service. Our initial evaluation with B Corp took place in early December 2022, during which we had to provide evidence of the answers we’d given in the Impact Assessment and talk about various aspects of the business.
What does it mean to be a B Corp?
Being a B Corp means running our business in a way that always considers our impact across a number of areas, including the environment, our people, our local community and our customers.
Why was becoming a certified B Corp important to Optimising IT?
We felt that we were already doing things in a
responsible and sustainable way, having B Corp certification gives us external
verification of these things and also pushes us to keep improving.
What impact has the certification had on the business?
It’s been a really good talking point, not only with existing and potential customers, but also in building stronger relationships with more local businesses, sharing knowledge and learning within the local B Corp community, which includes a massively diverse range of businesses, all with something to teach each other. Our team have really engaged with it too and very quickly people started thinking ‘like a B Corp’ in their day-to-day work.
Has it been a positive experience?
Definitely! It’s always nice to have that external verification that you are doing the right things and heading in the right direction. It’s also led to new business for us, which is a bonus.
With more businesses around the world embracing the B Corp movement, why do you think local businesses should consider working towards certification?
Buyers are increasingly looking at the impact of their choices and including environmental and social impact questions in their tender documents. B Corp certification means we already have answers to these questions and verification of those answers. B Corp certification is also attractive to potential employees — who wouldn’t want to work for a business that treats their people well and looks to continually improve?
Some businesses and consumers are rightly wary of greenwashing — how does B Corp certification help to combat this?
The environment score in the Impact Assessment is much broader than just looking at whether your business is carbon neutral, although this is part of it. It’s focused on positive impact through actions such as reducing energy and water use; removing toxic cleaning chemicals; improving recycling facilities; among others.
Having a board-level commitment to environmental management through an Environmental Management System with stated objectives and measurable targets is also encouraged.
How can Optimising IT help other local businesses looking to become a B Corp?
Our Climate Conscious IT service is our award-winning, cyber focused IT support service, with the added benefit of the option to offset your workforce’s carbon with official certified carbon credits, managed tree planting, or both.
You get to see your impact with your own forest, your carbon offsets and also get invited to participate in relevant local events for our chosen charities and community projects. We’re also always open to having a chat about our experiences of the B Corp certification process, what you can expect from the evaluation and more.
For more information about Optimising IT's Climate Conscious IT service, visit optimisingit.co.uk.