As consumers and businesses become more conscious of environmental and social issues, the growing B Corp movement provides certification that shows the world that you're not just paying lip service to sustainability, but living and breathing it throughout the business.
SoGlos speaks to Gloucestershire B Corp, Optimising IT, about how being a B Corp benefits business and gets some top tips on how to get started with certification, in the second of our Gloucestershire B Corp series.
What are some of the benefits of becoming a B Corp?
I think more to the point are the benefits of being a B Corp, by which I mean operating your business in such a way that consideration for your environmental and social impact runs through the core of everything you do.
This not only has a huge impact on employee engagement, as your values are clearly laid out and lived, it also makes you a more appealing place to work.
Customers like to know that their money is being spent with a responsible business and they respond well to our lived values in our day-to-day interactions with them.
It’s also good to know that we are giving back to the local community through volunteering, charitable donations and sponsorships.
The main benefits of holding the B Corp certification are having that
external validation that you not only say you run your business in a
responsible and sustainable way, but you have provided evidence that you do. It
also opens up a network of businesses whose values are very much aligned and
leads to conversations, sharing and learning that helps your business to
Are more businesses becoming interested in B Corp certification?
Most definitely. I speak to a lot of businesses who have either started
their journey to certification or are considering doing so.
Why do you think that is?
Awareness of B Corp is increasing with more information and news items coming into more mainstream media. Also the individuals running businesses are consumers themselves and are likely seeing the B Corp logo on more and more products and services that they buy outside of the workplace.
Many businesses are already taking steps to become more sustainable, why should they consider working towards B Corp certification as well?
Before we began working through our Impact Assessment, we thought we were
doing fairly well in our sustainability and positive impact — and our initial
score did reflect that. However, there were some available answers that have
been really useful prompts for how we can do better in all kinds of areas.
If a business does want to go for B Corp certification, what’s the first step they should take?
Go and do a quick first-pass of the Impact Assessment. It’s free and doesn’t commit you to anything until you decide to submit. It’s a really useful tool to help you understand areas where your business is doing well and areas that have scope for improvement.
Also, speak to a business which already holds the certification and they’ll be able to demystify the process and share what they learnt.
What are the key elements businesses need to consider when going for certification?
It will take time and resources to go through the certification process and
its reach is throughout the business. Be prepared to be honest with yourselves
and open to ways in which you can improve. Staff engagement is crucial to
success, so keep communicating and involve people from around the business.
Are there any policies or procedures businesses can implement to help them achieve B Corp certification?
There are certainly going to be policies that may be in action within the business, but not explicitly written down, that will need documenting for the assessment.
However, I think if you’re having to implement procedures and
working practices specifically to gain points in the Impact Assessment then
maybe the business would struggle through the certification process.
Are there any pitfalls to look out for which businesses might not be aware of?
Supply chain is definitely an area that can take a lot of work to improve.
Part of the assessment process is looking at where the majority of your
business spend is going. Changing that to reduce environmental impact or
increase community impact can be challenging as some alternatives may take a
lot of research, for example choosing a truly sustainable and fit for purpose packaging
How can Optimising IT help businesses on their B Corp journey?
We’re always happy to talk to businesses who are looking to start their B Corp journey and share our experience and what we learnt from it. We can also help with the information security aspects of protecting your staff and customers’ data.
And of course having a B Corp certified IT provider will
ensure you have a supplier whose values align with your business.