B Corp Certification – creating an impactful and sustainable future for all
October 16, 2023
We’ve been working hard to redefine our own purpose as an agency for some time. We talked all about this in a previous blog (Redefining purpose through brands to empower the change makers of tomorrow) but here’s a recap if you haven’t read it yet. Our commitment is to pay close attention to what we do, how we do it, and who we do it with. We’ve worked closely with others who are aligned with our values and really dug deep into how we can not just talk about our values but actually live them. That’s where B Corp certification comes in.
For some back story, our Managing Director, Darren Taylor has been a part of The Xfactor Collective (now Benefolk) since 2018. Towards the end of 2021, there were about 15 companies in the Collective who were all ‘on the same bus’ so to speak, with regard to securing their status as ‘for-purpose’ businesses. The Xfactor Collective did its thing (empowering change makers with the tools and support they need, so they can make a lasting impact without burning out) and specialist trainer Karen Porter led a group of keen changemakers (including Darren) through the fundamentals of B Corp certification across almost a dozen powerful sessions. This included what B Corp is, how to do it, and what changes needed to be made to secure accreditation. The seeds were planted.
So what is B Corporation Certification?
B Lab is a global non-profit that has developed a set of standards and governance enabling businesses to validate their commitment to meet high goals of verified performance, accountability, and transparency. Their mission is to “transform the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet”.
Craig Bulman is General Manager at Taylor & Grace and was integral to the success of our certification. “After talking for years about the positive social and environmental impact organisations can have, Darren and I agreed we should just go for it”, explains Craig. “We did our research, we believed in it and we wanted to prove that we could do it and become a part of that movement”.
The assessment for this certification evaluates a company’s practices and outputs across five categories: governance, workers, community, the environment, and customers. It’s an innovative concept and one that has attracted admiration and controversy in equal measure. Each business will approach the concept of B Corp Certification with its own agenda, however for us, we see it as a framework that will support the journey we’ve chosen, and continue to ask us the tough questions along the way. We’re growing and learning in this space and felt that having a model to align with would give us the critical direction and support we needed.
“It’s an important milestone for our team, but it’s not about us. Not at all”, explains our Managing Director Darren Taylor. “B Corp certification is about adopting a new way of business – a multi-stakeholder model that balances making profits with looking after people and our planet. It’s not just what the world needs, it’s common sense and simply put, it’s the right thing to do”.
Why us, why now?
It’s common to see a B Corp logo on consumer-based businesses but there is a different set of considerations for service-based businesses. The way forward in that space isn’t necessarily as clear cut and the focus shifts much more towards internal behaviours, policies and values.
Building a creative agency requires some alchemy and the clients you work with really determine the kind of agency you become. “In agencies, the kinds of people you want to work with and the type of work you want to attract are everything”, says Craig. “The B Corp assessment made us look internally at how we function and operate as an agency, how we look after our staff, what policies we have in place around gender, race, religion, parenting and so on and revealed to us exactly how we could improve the way we operate”. These insights then helped us to get really clear on the kind of businesses we want to work with and the kind of agency we wanted to become – one that “prioritises purpose and meaning over profits and achievements”.
So what’s next?
The for-profit model is notorious for making the pursuit of both purpose and profit extremely difficult for leaders. It can be a tough pivot to apply the kind of vision and courage needed to implement change that is about something bigger than the bottom line. However more and more people – from shareholders to consumers – are demanding meaningful choices and credible action from the companies they engage with.
Not all businesses are equipped to make this kind of change immediately and our vision is to be a catalyst for change in helping organisations find the courage and clarity they need to start the journey. We are embedding our B Corp experience into everything we do and will pass our learnings on to those we work alongside. It’s a time of great change for humanity and for business and we are fueled equally by frustration and excitement. In a world that continues to be turbulent and unpredictable, the only thing we can really count on is our own capacity to stand up and act.
We’re committed to maintaining this level of accountability for ourselves and being able to move forward feeling more empowered than ever. We’re here to support others in the kind of change we all want to see in the world.
– Craig Bulman,