After two and a half years of working on our B Corp application, certification has finally become a reality. As we celebrate this milestone, I’m reflecting back on the journey we have taken.
Really, it’s a journey we began long before the application process. The genesis is at least 18 years back when Jeanie Coates invited me into a partnership and we embarked on a plan to cultivate mission-driven clients that somehow serve the public good. Fast forward to this past fiscal year, and more than 80% of our business came from such clients, whether the issue was public health, energy efficiency or creating inclusive opportunities for people living with disabilities.
B Corp has given us another lens with which to look at our business. Through it we received confirmation of some of the things we’d always been doing well, but also illumination on some places we could do better. It’s not enough to just have good intentions; you’ve got to have the structures and monitoring in place to be accountable for the results. In the end, I think we all want rigor over rhetoric.
Some highlights from this past year of aligning our operations with B Corp values include:
- We’ve elevated our training with regard to social equity and environmental sustainability.
- We’ve committed our ideals to written policies to hold ourselves accountable to our community and to each other.
- We’ve invested agency time in pro-bono work for non-profits. These efforts had a budget, but not a budget to do the job right. Still they had an issue that couldn’t stand for anything less.
- We’ve paid our staff to go out and volunteer in the community. This has taken many forms from SOLV cleanups, to Habitat for Humanity projects, to design work for the local ACLU chapter to earning news coverage of the stories of women with HIV in our community.
- Together, we’ve hosted blood drives, lowered our carbon footprint and shopped (on the agency credit card) for families in need.
Still, probably the biggest contribution we make is the work we do for our clients. Serving their missions – environmental or social, health or sustainability – is probably our biggest contribution.
Altogether, I’d call it a start. A place to grow from.
And for us, while the certification is complete, the journey has just begun.