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Our B Corp journey part 3: The journey so far and looking ahead to 2024 

In 2023, Base Creative began the process of becoming a B Corp. Now, we’re offering advice based on our journey so far and our next steps in the new year.

Your business won’t do good just because your team is full of good people. However, if we’re going to take the next step and ingrain high environmental and transparency standards into companies across the UK, each company needs to be judged relative to its ability.

For example, a 4000-person international corporation should be held to a higher standard of environmental reporting than a small business relative to their ability to both impact the planet and to take on that daunting tasks. Fortunately, this is something that – right now – the B Corp process appears to account for.

Since August, I’ve been writing short blog entries to track our journey towards becoming a B Corp. My hope is that they not only encourage other businesses to do the same, but that the obstacles we run into, how we overcome them and the lessons we learn can help those businesses on their B Corp journey when it’s their turn. 

Back in the summer, I explained why we want Base Creative to become a B Corp. In my opinion, you can’t rely on your business doing good in the world just because everyone who works there agrees on a moral direction – you need to institutionalise those morals into the company’s policies to ensure that it acts ethically when the chips are down.

Last month, I explained how we had filled in the B Impact Assessment to get an initial understanding of where Base Creative was in terms of progress, and what we needed to work on to qualify.

Now that it’s the end of the year, I wanted to talk about the experience as a whole so far, what we have planned next, and give you some quick-fire advice based on everything we’ve learned on our journey up until now. Let’s dive in.

The journey so far

When we left off, we had been working with Business on Purpose to run through all of the questions on the B Corp “B Impact Assessment” – a questionnaire covering a company’s policies regarding Governance, Workers, Community, Environment and Customers.

Initially, we had scored about a 40 – half of the 80+ score needed to move on with the process. With Business on Purpose’s help, however, our score is now, pending review, at 85.

That seemed almost impossible in August, but it didn’t actually take too much work to get our score up. Here’s why:

We answered ambitiously

In many cases, our answers now require action. For example, we are putting together an environmental audit of the business, to be conducted in January. We’re also sending out a diversity questionnaire to our team around the same time. This allows us to provide evidence for questions we answered in the positive.

In both cases, this allowed us to get higher scores. Instead of being defeatist, we became ambitious. But that’s not all.

We focused on effort 

The B Impact Assessment can be intimidating. Take that environmental audit I just mentioned. What Business on Purpose helped us to understand, however, was that the B Corp assessors are often looking for effort.

For a company of Base Creative’s size, we didn’t need to hire a third party to conduct a huge environmental impact assessment of the entire business – although for a larger company, that might be necessary. For smaller businesses, the fact that we will have conducted our first impact assessment based on readings taken by each team member at home and some information provided by our landlords should be enough. 

Take nothing for granted

Now that we have completed the B Impact Assessment, we need to compile evidence before submitting it. That process led to another realisation. In many cases, especially at a smaller business, there won’t be formal evidence of things that seem self-evident.

At Base Creative, for example, we know the percentage of the team who identify as female – but we’ve never actually sent out an anonymous survey to get everyone to confirm that individually. That might not seem like much, but it goes a long way (and again, it shows effort). It’s just as I said at the start of this article – you can’t rely on your business being good just because the people in it are, you need to be able to systematise those good intentions. 

So where does that leave us?

At the start of next year, it’s time for the whole team to get involved.

Now that we’ve filled in our answers, we know what documents we need to put together as evidence, and what actions we need to take to show that we’re ambitious enough to meet a B Corp’s high environmental and transparency targets.

That isn’t going to be easy. However, it’s also far less intimidating than it felt when we began this process back in August. At no point in this process so far has it felt like we’ve come up against an impassable block, or any intentionally difficult obstacle. 

Instead, each step of the way has made us feel more confident that we understand the intent of the process as a whole.

I’ll see you in the new year.

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To discuss digital marketing or our B Corp journey so far, email me at [email protected].

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