The B Corp diaries (2) – the company soul

I thought we’d be further along.

I was naïve when I first started thinking about becoming a BCorp. We’re a small agency, not much of a footprint. How hard could it be?

Turns out it’s a bit more complicated than that.

It’s obviously been designed to create ripples. If you agree with its principles, you start changing your behaviour. You calculate your carbon footprint and then start wondering about your supply chain.

Where there were no questions, now it’s a line in the RFP- “Dear vendor, please detail your carbon reduction plan”.

It’s unashamedly a journey, not a quick fix. It’s a pilgrimage for the company soul.

So, how far have we got?

January’s optimism got me about three quarters through the initial assessment.

Then I hit some brick walls. Namely:

1. We didn’t have an intern programme.

2. Our bank’s not on anyone’s good list.

3. We didn’t know our carbon footprint, let alone have a plan to reduce it.

Progress just took a bit of time.

So, we set aside time and resources to address each in turn. Showing the power of small steps.

What did we do about interns?

We didn’t have an intern programme, mainly because we’d not got around to it.

Now we have.

Our two amazing, super smart interns will be joining us this summer.

This year is a test and learn, next year we hope to work with 10,00 Black Interns to help improve the inclusivity of the research sector.

How can I find an environmentally friendly business bank?

When you start the BCorp process, at some point you’ll realise that your bank probably isn’t a bastion of sustainability. Just look at who they invest in.

One of the lovely things about BCorp is the community. It’s full of people who have been on the journey and are super keen to help you.

A call on Friday led to a conversation about banking and the telling me about

It does the hard work for you.

We’re now in the process of moving to Monzo Business.

How can small businesses measure and offset their carbon footprint?

I found this whole process mind-numbly complex and needlessly opaque. I’ve spent hours and hours trying to find a pragmatic tool for measuring our footprint.

All I found was guidance for big organisations – guidance which was massive overkill for a business like ours.

Eventually, we found: Normative.

It’s bloody marvellous. You put your expenditure in for the year (e.g. how much you spend on hotels, travel) and it calculates an approximate carbon footprint.

Took me about 5 mins.

If I’m completely honest, I don’t care if it’s not 100% accurate. I don’t need that level of detail. I need to run my business, not get lost in a load of arcane carbon nonsense. Pragmatism is the only way forward.

And how can businesses offset their carbon footprint?

There are a bunch of options here. As I understand it, the best thing is to pay to remove actual caron from the atmosphere. But this is super expensive as the technology is new and the demand isn’t there to help make it cheaper.

So, the next best thing is to offset it until other options become more achievable. We’re working with Ecologi and have invested in a wind farm in Mexico.

When we can we’ll offset our team’s personal footprint. Then we’ll offset our historical footprint.

What’s next?

We need to sort out our articles of association and some other governance areas. Our articles of association don’t reflect our broader purpose.

By default, the purpose of a company is to make a profit. This can be changed to acknowledge the importance of supporting your community and environment at this fundamental level.

We’ve started defining who our community is (we’re all remote so this is less obvious for us) and how we can support them.

I want our learning and development plan to be a bit more structured and to ensure people are using what’s on offer.

Then it’s time to re-run the assessment and see what lies ahead.

By: Jeremy Hollow

Share on LinkedIn :
Subscribe to updates:

Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Listen + Learn Research: