9 Steps to Making B Corp Easy (okay, easier...)

B Corp Consultant Erin Ewing of Greener Matters spills the T on finding an easier route up the B Corp mountain...

The New Year always blows in on the winds of change and 2022 is no different. From gym and diet resolutions, to finding a new job, taking up a new hobby, or studying for a new qualification, January is the month where we are most determined to ring in the changes and chart a new, better course in our lives. But we all know that most resolutions do not see past the month of March, and commitments set with the best intentions fall by the wayside; get pushed into the ‘too hard for now’ box.

In the business world, 2022 is the year that many of us hope to do better business. We want to help meet the net zero emissions commitments of the 2015 Paris Agreement in order to avoid much bigger problems in decades to come. So, businesses in their droves have made the resolution to change, with many choosing B Corp certification as their preferred route. But just like personal New Year’s resolutions, the reality of this journey is not as easy as some may hope and the risk is that this too will quickly fall into the ‘too hard box’ without the proper planning.

Someone once said, although something is complex, it does not have to be complicated. B Corp is not easy, nor should it be. Becoming B Corp means to fundamentally transform your business from the inside out, reshape your ethos and set you up for greater resilience in an unknown future. So, no, it will not be a walk in the park, but at the same time it is not rocket science. Taking a pragmatic and methodical approach is the key to success, so based on experience of taking many businesses through the process of applying for B Corp certification, I have come up with a few steps which can help you along your journey.

1. Make the decision and stick to it. First things, first: the most senior levels of your business should decide this is the direction of travel and build it into their strategy. Once set, communicate to team, your suppliers, your customers, and all relevant stakeholders, that you are about to undertake this journey, and bring them along with you.

2. Create a team. As with everything in your business, this all starts with people. Identify a passionate group of people, with representation from all levels of the business, who are willing to take on the task at hand. Empower them to steer the ship ahead. Do not underestimate the number of passionate people in your business that will be willing to support.

3. Treat it like a business transformation project. A quote by Tanmay Rova, that truly encapsulates the B Corp journey is ‘Change fixes the past; transformation creates the future!’ Your B Corp commitment is a true transformation, and you will not only be preparing yourselves for the new economy, you are also creating a new business from the inside out. It is important to remember that projects fail for several reasons but from experience, mostly because they are not adequately planned. Use your existing project methodologies and run B Corp in the same way that you run other initiatives, with a clear scope of work, targets, job descriptions, master delivery plan, risk mitigation and of course governance.

4. Be realistic yet aspirational. B Corp certification should not be the end itself because a successful submission is not always possible the first-time round. Take the time to answer the questions authentically and with conviction and decide what can be done in the short, mid, and long term. It is always better to take your time. Remember this is not a sprint, it is a marathon!

5. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate! Make sure you are taking all your stakeholders on this journey with you. A clear delivery plan underpinned with a transparent and concise communication strategy sets you up for success. Also, share your failures and/or when you miss goals. This will help the learning process and will garner support from those who are vested in your success.

6. Set clear goals and celebrate them. As with anything, breaking jobs down into smaller parts makes the journey far less daunting and more easily managed. Set weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual goals and celebrate when you complete. To maintain motivation, teams should feel that their efforts are recognised and valued.

7. Hire a consultant (only if needed). Now, this is not a necessity for your success because the B Corp Impact Assessment is free to complete but bringing expertise to help you along and clarify the questions and their required evidence, can prove to be a useful resource. To join the Greener Matters B Corp Buddy Programme, go to https://www.greenermatters.com/b-corp-consulting

8. Maintain your certification. Achieving certification is just the first step. Maintaining it year after year is where the real work kicks in. Keep your B Corp team in place as a permanent fixture in order to ensure your activities are still aligned and ever evolving towards greater positive impact.

9. And last, but most certainly not least, have fun! Create a relaxed environment where your team can flourish and enjoy doing the work. Sustainability does not have to be pious, boring, or laborious. This will be an adventure that your entire organization can be proud of, so make it light, collaborative, and celebratory. After all, who doesn’t like a party?

Good luck!

26 views0 comments