I’ve just about given up recording the stats on what % of employees are wanting to Get Purpose At Work…
It’s not surprising though, because purpose is something we ALL have a desire for.
It’s a human driver to know that what you are doing is contributing to something bigger than you.
That you are doing what you are meant to do.
It sounds kinda easy to work out but actually, it can become quite tricky to examine your own purpose.
And where to start?!
Well, I think the best place to start thinking about the contribution you are making is to understand and measure it.
By taking the B Corp Impact Assessment.
To get a benchmark of what good you are doing and also an understanding of where you need to Grow Good.
Then you can look to extend your purpose horizon by going on the organisational and individual purpose journey as a team.
If that’s what your employees are wanting right now, we should chat.
It’s all Steve Ardagh’s fault.
Sometime back in 2014 I stumbled across this concept of B Corporations.
I’d recently had what’s called a subconscious awakening and had got to realising that working in a bullshit job for the rest of my life wasn’t for me.
But where to?
Well after some Googling around my awakening I stumbled down this rabbit hole of B Corp.
Business as a force for good.
Purpose and profit?
Ummm, tell me more…
Back then there were 2 B Corps in NZ and unfortunately for Steve he was the one nearest to me.
A 45-minute meeting morphed into a couple of hours of my mind being blown from discovering there was a better way to run a business.
Fast forward to today and I get to have my Raglan Coconut yoghurt with my Pukka Herbs tea and then get into the shower to use my Ethique body wash, now paid for by my recently B Corp certified Kiwibank.
We are part of a community of over 4000 businesses co-creating a better future.
Positive change takes time, cos if it was easy they’d all be doing it.
If you want to know more about the benefits of being a B and how to go about it I might know a guy…
Put a “B Corp me baby!” in the comments if you want a free copy of my e-book “To B or Not To B? The Case For B Corp Certification”.
What are B Corp Consultants?
B Consultants or B Leaders are specialist consultants that have successfully undertaken training by B Lab (the organisation that administers the B Corp Certification).
This training ensures they are able to facilitate B Lab’s Impact Assessment process for companies interested in becoming a B Corporation.
When you begin the assessment it can seem overwhelming so these qualified consultants can help.
“Gaining B Corporation Status is a rigorous but achievable process and companies can benefit from my years of experience as I guide them through the process”, says Tim Jones, CEO, Grow Good Ltd
Additionally, B Consultants are also ambassadors for the B Corporation movement in different countries around the world.
“We spread the word about B Corporations, who they are, and grow the movement”
Why engage a B Corp Consultant?
If doing good was easy, we’d all be doing it.
And it’s kind of the same with B Corp Certification.
That’s why at Grow Good, we specialise in helping businesses just like yours, in navigating the B Corp Impact Assessment and maximising your score.
Typically, we find our clients sit in 1 of these 3 categories:
- You have started the Assessment but have gotten overwhelmed or just ran out of steam
- You haven’t started the Assessment but want to complete it as quickly and efficiently as possible
- You have completed the Assessment but didn’t reach the 80/200 benchmark and need a hand establishing relevant impact improvement goals, in order to get there.
Most of our clients have the skillset to complete the Assessment, but have all said one or more of these things to us:
- I’m not sure I’m answering all the questions correctly
- I don’t understand what some of the questions are asking me
- I find it hard to make time to just sit down and go through the Assessment
- I feel like I’m completing this in isolation and just want to have some confidence in what I’m doing
- I don’t have time to think about, let alone create, all the policy documents I’ll need for Certification
- I want to connect with other people and businesses going through the journey
Essentially, they all want someone who can help them get Certified with ease, speed and efficiency.
Someone who will guide them step-by-step through the Certification process.
Someone who will be there to help them until they’ve pressed submit and have the B Corp Certificate hanging proudly on their wall.
Someone, like us.
We are a leading consultancy firm that specialises in helping businesses just like yours to go B Corp and Beyond.
It’s like you’re taking an open book exam, but you never took notes – we have taken the exam multiple times, have all the notes, a lot of the answers, and we are keen to share!
Our founder Tim Jones is one of the world’s top B Corp Consultants. He has been working with companies to navigate the B Corp Impact Assessment since 2017 and Grow Good was the 6th Business in New Zealand to certify as a B Corporation.
Since then that time Grow Good has helped in excess of 60 companies from around the world successfully complete the B Corporation impact assessment.
Beyond his consulting for the certification, he delivers inspirational, motivational, memorable and impactful consulting, training and coaching to individuals and organisations around impact improvement, to increase their B Corp score and connect to higher levels of purpose.
So, what is B Corp Certification?
Certified B Corp. You might have spotted their signature B logo on one of your favourite ethical brands.
But what does it mean to be a certified B Corporation? And what makes them stand out from other sustainable certifications?
Where did the idea of B Corp come from?
The concept of B Corp came about in 2006 after one of the co-founders of the movement, Jay Coen Gilbert realised the power of business to make an impact on the world.
Having seen the wide stakeholder benefits of running a company that aimed to balance purpose and profit he was keen to see how a movement of businesses with this aim could be created.
This idea would mature into the notion of B Corporations, where the B stands for “benefit.”
Certified B Corps are a new form of business that seeks to balance purpose and profit. This means that rather than solely focusing on profit maximisation, they consider the impact of their operations on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment.
B Corps are leaders of a global movement of business as a force for good. They meet the highest verified and independent levels of transparency and accountability on their social and environmental performance.
The B Corp movement has met its moment.
There are now over 4000 B Corps around the world, with 53+ in Aotearoa. Australia/New Zealand is one of the world’s fastest-growing regions for B Corp Certification. In 2020 the movement saw an increase of 25%.
This has been driven by two levels of factors. At the higher systemic level, we are seeing more companies taking an active stance in matters relating to environmental and social challenges. Covid-19 has also added a layer of existential questioning:
If your business wasn’t able to operate during a lockdown then how essential is it to humanity?
At the lower level, businesses need 4 main groups of humans and they are all demanding that business steps up to do more. Customers, employees, suppliers and investors all want businesses to prove that they are doing their fair share to make the world a better place.
How does a business become B Corp certified?
To get B Corp Certified you need to take an initial self-assessment, called the B Impact Assessment or BIA. This measures your business performance across the five pillars or sections shown below, as well as answering the disclosure questions.
Once you have met the threshold score of 80/200 you are eligible to submit your work and get it verified by one of the teams at B Lab (the global non-profit body that runs the certification tool).
The BIA is a positive screening tool that measures your operational goodness, or in other words how much benefit are you creating for your stakeholders beyond just the owners and shareholders.
The BIA is completely free to take – you only pay a Certification fee if you want to have your assessment verified by B Lab.
The typical journey to Certification looks something like this:
To B or not to B?
Well is it worth it? From an impact perspective B Corps are definitely doing the mahi:
Beyond it being the right thing to do there are solid economic arguments for undertaking B Corp Certification.
The Grocer, a UK journal for consumer brands, reported in 2018 that average year-on-year growth across the 150 UK B Corps was 14% compared with 0.5% growth in GDP.
35% said they had attracted new customers since Certifying, while almost half (48%) found that prospective staff had been attracted to the business specifically because it was a B Corp.
And in the most recent B Lab impact report we have seen that B Corp’s are a resilient bunch:
The B Corp movement started in 2006 after one of the co-founders of the movement, Jay Coen Gilbert realised the power of business to make an impact on the world.
Before launching the idea of B Corp into the world, Jay was also co-founder of basketball apparel brand AND1 where the seeds for the movement had been sown.
AND1 was a hugely successful business both financially but also with it’s positive impact.
It was ahead of the curve when it came to the idea of business as a force for good. They were doing CSR and socially and environmentally responsible business before it was a thing and way before the idea of conscious consumerism.
They did this by providing benefits beyond requirements for their workers, suppliers and the local community. Employees benefitted from better working conditions such as parental leave, personal care options like on-site yoga classes and employee ownership schemes.
Their supply chain was well looked after and regulated by world-class codes of conduct, ensuring the highest standards of worker health and safety, wage conditions and other worker benefits.
And in their local community, they had a standing commitment to donate 5% of profits to local charities.
Let’s face it, there are not that many businesses that could claim to be doing that today even!
In 1999 the team at AND1 hit their first major bump in the road. Preparing for more growth they had received investment in the business. Soon after this unfortunately a downturn in the market coincided with increasingly intense competition from their biggest competitor Nike.
This combined with a stall in sales ultimately led to pressures on their profitability and their first-ever round of staff layoffs.
The next hurdle was going to be a bigger and more personal one for Jay as he received what I call the existential wet fish to the face.
On September 11th 2001 Jay realised that his sister was in one of the Twin Towers in New York. Fortunately, though she was one of the lucky ones to get out alive.
Not so long after this, one of his friends and colleagues at AND1 passed away.
These two moments were the existential shock he needed for him to ponder on his own mortality and if he was doing enough with his life.
Over the next few years, Jay and Bart Houlahan (CFO/COO and President of AND1) got the business back on track and things were looking good again..
Fast forward to 2005 and Jay and Bart decided that they were going to put AND1 up for sale. Going to the market though they were quickly told that whilst the brand had value they were leaking profit because of all the employee, supply chain and community initiatives they’d implemented.
They went through the sale but came out the other side heartbroken as they realised that all the good they’d put into the business was seen as worthless to the money people. Worse than that the new owners quickly put an end to them.
It was obvious to them that shareholder primacy, caring only about the stock price at the cost of everything else, leads to a toxic short-term mindset. Jay felt that wasn’t something that he wanted to be a part of anymore.
Jay and Bart got together with a like-minded connection from Wall St called Andrew Kassoy to think about how they could challenge the status quo.
Initially, they pondered on creating a new business, in the mould of AND1 but built from day one with the intent of creating a positive impact.
But they felt that just one more business doing good wasn’t going to be enough…
Having experienced first-hand the benefits of running a company that aimed to balance purpose and profit they began to imagine the change that a movement of businesses with this aim could do.
And so they decided they were going to start an organisation that would allow companies to apply for a designation that would publicly hold them accountable for the ways they benefitted workers, communities, the environment, and customers.
In 2006 they launched B Lab and working with like-minded entrepreneurs, investors and other advisors they began creating the B Corporation Certification framework. The first cohort of companies successfully completed the Certification in 2007.
Why B? Well, the B stands for “benefit”, as in businesses providing a benefit to all its stakeholders, not just its shareholders.