A Passion For Purpose: Our Journey to B Corp
In late 2019 we made the decision to commit to becoming a Bcorp, and we’ve been on the journey ever since. In this article our Operations Manager Megan explains what that involves, why it’s important to us and the work in progress.
Understanding The Steps
A B Corp company is one that has been assessed by B Lab (a nonprofit network transforming the global economy) under several factors, including but not limited to; employees’ rights, environmental impact and social standards and that have been proven to be either meeting, or raising, high standards in these areas. Part of the B Corp certification is transparency in these areas looking back and going forward, holding the business accountable to maintaining the standards set.
B Lab have tailor-made an impact assessment, which is used by both parties, which awards points in the areas a company is starting with, and where they can gain more. Becoming certified involves months of going through the companies’ best practices and policies in order to see that; one, if that specific policy exists and two, if that policy is still current, whether it reflects the current climate and/or specifically updated nation-wide policies.
"We are a successful small company, but we wanted to do more than just make money, we wanted our purpose to be more than bring in work and this is where we landed."Chris Page
A Unique Position
The challenges for us as a production agency were that we were not manufacturing anything physical, we don’t produce work through something like a factory or brewery, so it is harder to reduce our environmental and social impact so directly. There is a heavy focus on ‘going green’ and zero carbon footprint in B Corp, which is fantastic, but as an animation production company it’s harder to find where you can cut back. Another problem for us was how far you take your consideration when it comes to our business decisions, do you cull a huge percentage of your client intake? Do you refuse to work with certain companies point-blank? This was something we really had to think hard about, but B Lab were great in directing us back to focusing on what we can do here in our office and with our employees.
“In trying to become a BCorp you get the opportunity to consider what you’re doing for your local community or more realistically, what you’re not”
Where It Started
Our owner Chris Page brought this to the table after a period of reflection at a tumultuous time for the world. We started to have conversations around what, if anything, we could do to effect change locally and what that might look like. We are a successful small company, but we wanted to do more than just make money, we wanted our purpose to be more than bringing in work, and this is where we landed.
The initial benefit of becoming a B corp is knowing that a company’s employees are being looked after, considered, and listened to. Throughout the process of becoming B Corp we had to really drill down into what benefits / policies / rules and regulations we had in place for everyone here at Jelly/Think Artfully and whether that was representative of the complete spectrum of societal needs. It may sound boring and mundane but ensuring that these things are put in place is beneficial to the culture of your company and knowing that everyone working there feels heard. Once you’ve become a B Corp you are privy to a wealth of other companies, across different industries, who are also B Corp, encouraging working together with these companies not only maintains the exacting standards set but also influences other companies to aim for the same goal.
I would say the benefit of the wider community is not only the biggest, but the most important. In trying to achieve B Corp status you get the opportunity to consider what you’re doing for your local community, or more realistically, what you’re not. It was this reflection that led us to think hard about our charitable efforts, our work with underrepresented demographics and our environmental focus, which has been the biggest shift in what we do and who we are. As an ongoing commitment to B Corp and all the standards it sets, we have officially partnered with some incredible charities and schools across London with whom we work with regularly to bridge the gap between the creative industry and these communities. Work like this is so impactful, not only for the demographic we’re trying to reach, but us! It is quite a frank realisation how easy it is to do so little and how comfortably one can turn a blind eye, but this needs to change and B Corp is a wonderful way to start this journey.
After we certify we obviously have access to work with other B Corp companies, which is fantastic, but more importantly we have set standards for ourselves which we have now a responsibility and accountability to uphold. Being a B Corp in a heavily consumerist society is tough, but it encourages other stakeholders and industry leaders to look at their structure and do the same. As B Lab said themselves ‘we must be the change we seek in the world’! Your work is by no means over once certified, you should continue to look for ways to better your practice and policies, keep alert to any proposals or suggestions given by other B Corp companies or B Lab themselves –