Why choose BCorp & could it be right for your business?
Here at Jennings we’ve always done our best to be a responsible, values-led and people focused business. It’s lovely when people tell us this is what stands us apart as an organisation. So, when someone suggested looking into becoming a B-Corp around 5 years ago, we were pretty intrigued as it seemed a great fit with our ethos. If ethics and integrity run deep in your business then read on to understand how B Corp could benefit you too.
Why choose B Corp?
Jennings have looked into lots of different standards over the years (CSR, ISO and various other badges & gongs) but we felt that B Corp is the most authentic and challenging out there. The assessment process is rigorous, it takes a long hard look at how you run your business which can feel a little painful at times but it comes with meaningful and genuine value. Of course to be worthwhile it should be hard work, and not all ‘sparkly hotpants’ to get the points you need to certify! There’s a stack of evidence needed to back things up and you sometimes feel under the microscope in so many different ways. But our opinion is that it’s totally worth it for the learning you gain and the amazing platform it then offers.
‘B Corp is the most authentic and challenging out there. The assessment process is rigorous, it takes a long hard look at how you run your business… but it comes with meaningful and genuine value.’
How did you find the process of applying for B Corp?
Honestly, it was tough – but then we wouldn’t want it to be too easy, otherwise it would dilute the value in reaching certification. It certainly helped us look at ourselves more closely, codify what you already do and find ways in which you can improve. We realised that we needed to be much better at measuring and evidencing our impact, plus we now have much clearer policies around what we do and how we do it. We understand our ‘why’ an awful lot better too!
What hints and tips would you give to other businesses thinking about applying?
We’d recommend that everyone at least tries the free B Impact Assessment (BIA), which is available for anyone to download and read through. It’s incredibly useful for organisations who want to challenge themselves and see where they’re strong and where they could improve – whether or not they carry on to get full certification. It really stretches you and helps you learn from others (those who have certified or are on the B journey) as to what greater positive impact you can have.
Is there anything you wish you knew at the start of the process that others could benefit from knowing?
It will take time and resources. You’ll need someone really committed to the whole idea, and it works better if all the team/staff/family are on board from the start – that includes Directors, Chairs and everyone in the business. We were lucky to find an excellent external adviser who’d helped others through the B Corp application. He saved us a lot of time and frustration in some of the more complicated areas. If getting this kind of help is an option for you then grab it with both hands!
There are more workshops, discussions, and people with specialist knowledge in B Corp out there now which will help you along the way too, either understanding it better or just giving you a morale booster when you need it. It’s great to hear their first-hand experience and be able to learn from those who’ve trodden the path already. It also gives you a network of like-minded people and businesses who can share best practices and everyone supports each other in so many ways. This really can be invaluable.
‘The triple-bottom-line of People, Planet, Profit is a really good balance of how to operate as a truly responsible business.’
Since BCorp accreditation, what benefits have you seen to your business?
It’s still early days, and our business hasn’t fundamentally changed for B-Corp, but we do have a much better understanding of how we do business better. By measuring our impact we can share the difference we’re making more tangibly. Our kudos has definitely increased too and cemented our reputation in the business community, plus people who are considering a similar path are as keen as ever to engage with us. The benefits we expect are that will attract like-minded businesses to us and we’ll be part of an inspirational community meeting and learning with other B Corps. Bring it on!
What does BCorp mean to you?
Above all, becoming part of the B-Corp community is a very proud and significant moment for all the team and the Jennings business as a whole. The triple-bottom-line of People, Planet, Profit is a really good balance of how to operate as a truly responsible business.
And did you know March is ‘BCorp month’? Find out even more about the benefits of BCorp across social media channels using #wegobeyond and @bcorpuk