Head of People & Internal Technology
Well, that’s how this started. A chat with Tom Ray, our CEO, about what mattered to me. Shortly after that conversation, a chat message from Tom with a link ; “Hey, have you ever heard of B Corp?”
No. But this was right up my street.
And for a company to say “This is what you want to do – And we back you” I felt honoured, and excited by what we were about to embark on.
Here we are, almost exactly two years later, and we receive our email saying we’re certified. So what’s the story? And how do you get some of that too? Let me take a moment to reflect…
Ultimately, B Corp certification is an audit. Firstly, you self-assess using their online portal. There are 5 sections (governance, workers, community, environment and customers) and over 160 questions. You’ll need a minimum of 80 points (out of 200) to pass, but they recommend getting more before you submit your assessment because you tend to lose about 10% during the audit, given companies are typically more generous in their own judgement!
When I say it’s an audit, don’t expect that you can just tell them what they want to hear. You’ll need to provide evidence. Not for every single question, but for a lot of them – they’ll choose which ones they want to spot check.
Once you’ve passed, you’ll have to recertify every 2 years. So heed my warning; if you’re doing this to tick a box – remember that you’ll need to maintain that box long term. So I strongly recommend you, and your company, actually care and be committed to good business practice, fair treatment, society and the environment.
Because of its length and complexity, we didn’t want to get it wrong. So we went through the questions and made a decision on which of the remaining recommendations were feasible for our company, and which could make the most impact.
We spent that year truly implementing these policies, focusing on communication, collecting data and ensuring they were working.
Once we were confident with our 92 points, and we had evidence that people were truly using and benefiting from these newly implemented policies/processes we submitted our self assessment and…We waited in a queue for 9 months! During those 9 months, we continued to see the great things we’d implemented and changed grow and not only influence, but become core to who we are today.
The audit comes in two stages, a selection of questions (we got about 80) get chosen within the portal for you to evidence. Some with shorter deadlines than others, but generally, with about 4-6 weeks to complete.
Nearer to our final deadline date, we got a call with our auditor – During this call we went through everything we’d evidenced, and anything we hadn’t, using the time to ask any questions and talk through our processes.
Once that was done, it was just a matter of submitting the last evidence before the deadline – And not dipping below the 80 points!
Just a few weeks later, we had confirmation we’d passed – great news! – with the added fun that, in the same week, we’d secured additional investment and therefore potentially needed to revisit our audit due to a change in holding company name…
Initial panic over, we’ve now confirmed that we have officially passed!
B Corp has a great community, and a lot of ideas about how businesses can do better. We’re really proud of achieving our certification, but we aim to grow our points for each recertification. We want to keep getting better, keep being better people, keep doing more responsible business. We want to be part of making a difference.
That was what mattered to me. And if that’s what matters to you… reach us at careers.cts.co