In this instance B stands for Benefit, although you could be forgiven for thinking it stands for Bane, after you’ve spent a year getting your agency in order to submit your application to become a certified B Corporation, which we finally did last week. Yet despite the faff, it’s something I’m immensely proud of doing, far more so than any award we’ve won.
What underpins the B Corp movement is a belief that businesses can and should be a force for good. Moving beyond simply making a return for shareholders, the B Corp community works to reduce inequality, lower levels of poverty, create a healthier environment, stronger communities and more jobs with dignity and purpose.
While certifications like Fairtrade are given to products like bananas, B Corp certification looks at a business as a whole, peeling back the skin of Banana Corp to reveal what’s within.
The B Corp movement has spread like wildfire across America, and is starting to take hold here in the UK too, with the likes of Innocent and the Guardian having recently becoming certified. In fact, the B Corp directory is starting to read like a list of dream clients.
Not enough impact
I went into the process somewhat cocksure. I had set up Nice and Serious 10 years ago to ‘Make creative work the world needs’. We do comms and marketing for charities and sustainable brands, so I assumed we would breeze through the process. It wasn’t as if we were in the coal mining business. But as it turns out, I was wrong; there was a mountain to climb.
You set out by using the B Impact Assessment tool which evaluates how your agency’s operations and business model impacts your staff, the community, the environment and your customers. Doing a bit of pro-bono work, carbon offsetting a few flights, or writing a lofty purpose statement won’t cut it.