To be sure of a better future, we need to embrace a new way of doing things. And Tomorrow was set up with the specific aim of contributing to this change. We make money part of the solution and combine the business side of things with making a positive contribution to all our tomorrows. Because we want to solve real problems rather than generating artificial demand.
And luckily we aren’t the only ones: there are a whole host of great companies with this very same aim in mind. Some of these companies are certified B Corps, which means they belong to a global association that doesn’t promote growth over values. Their aim is to work together to ensure that this ethos becomes the new status quo.
There are currently over 2,500 B Corps across 130 sectors and 60 countries worldwide, such as companies like Ecosia, Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s. Now we are officially certified too – and we feel right at home in the B Corp family.
B Corp stands for “Certified Benefit Corporations”. In other words, companies that are geared to making a profit, but do not use their business purely to maximise profits. Instead, they provide added value to society with the emphasis on environmental sustainability. Any member of this elite group is required to fulfil stringent standards in terms of social and environmental performance, transparency and corporate structures.
To do this, they need to prove what specific actions they are taking to resolve social inequalities and protect the environment. They also need to show how their business and management structures are organised, demonstrate the working conditions of their employees and reveal their relationships with customers and the community as a whole.
All stakeholders and their specific needs have to be taken on board for certification to be granted. Stakeholders include all interest groups who are directly or indirectly affected by a company’s activities, i.e. our investors, our employees and our customers. As part of the certification process, we not only made all our mechanisms and key performance indicators fully transparent in order to safeguard the interests of all these groups, but also incorporated a clause in our articles of association to guarantee that this will remain the case.
So B Corp certification could be compared to the Fairtrade label used on food. But while Fairtrade offers consumers a guarantee that individual products are produced sustainably, B Corp has the entire world of business in its sights.
The road to certification is a long one – it took us many months to reach the finishing line. The process starts with what feels like endless questions from the B Lab not-for-profit organisation about the company itself and its impact. Then there are weekly question and answer sessions to go over all relevant topics once again. This is followed by an extensive assessment call that looks at the topics in even more detail, scrutinising yet more documents as B Lab sees fit. The assessment is then reviewed internally within the B Corp by another group of analysts. And only then can a decision be made.
So the process isn’t anything but a walk in the park! But rightly so, as this is the only way to gain a real understanding of corporate structures and their impact.
Our total score was 118.1 points out of a possible 200, which we are extremely proud of! To put this in perspective, a company can call itself a B Corp if they score 80 points or more, while the best 10% of all B Corps in our business segment have an average score of 131 points.
We have already started working on getting a higher score in our next assessment. One of the reasons we lost points was that, at the time of the assessment, we didn’t yet have enough products to generate a large enough impact. But that’s due to change very soon, as some of you may have already heard. We can’t wait to tell you more about what we’re currently working on and how this will bring about even more positive change.
To remain a B Corp, companies are required to document their positive impact in precise detail and re-submit themselves to the assessment process every three years. We’re only too happy to do that though, because with every new day we are getting closer and closer to achieving our ambitious targets.
But for the time being, we’re patting ourselves on the back for the fantastic results of this initial assessment. And after that we’ll be getting straight back to work because, as we all know, there’s still a lot to be done.