Yesterday on Adopt & Embrace's second birthday, we received one of the best birthday presents we could hope for. As of 12 October 2017, Adopt & Embrace is a Certified B Corporation.
As a team we believe in paying it forward (in fact, it is one of the eight pillars of our strategy).
It is one thing to say that you are going to do pay it forward. It is another to seek and then be recognised by an external, independent third party. Finally, it is a stretch to then sign legally binding contracts that ensure that your organisation will continue to focus on purpose, not just profits. But that is what we have done.
Becoming a Certified B Corporation pushed us to put in place a sustainable, structured approach to the purpose we all share... using business as a force for good. To be honest... it is something that we are really proud of, so we thought we would share with you what it means.
There are over 2,200 Certified B Corporations from more than 130 industries in 50+ countries with 1 unifying goal – to redefine success in business.
B Corps are important because they inspire all businesses to compete not only to be the best in the world, but to be the best for the world. Certified B Corporations meet higher standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability.
It’s like Fair Trade certification but for the whole business, not just a bag of coffee (or USDA Organic certification, but not just for a carton of milk; or LEED certification, but not just for a building).
The performance standards B Corps meet are comprehensive, transparent and verified. They measure a company’s impact on all its stakeholders (e.g. workers, suppliers, community, customers and the environment).
Unlike traditional corporations, Certified B Corporations are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions not only on their shareholders, but also on their stakeholders.
To become a Certified B Corporation, organisations need to achieve a score of 80 out of 200 in the B Impact Assessment. The Impact Assessment is a comprehensive tool that digs into how your organisation engages with its stakeholders, governance, the environment and more.
For us at Adopt & Embrace, it was an eye opening experience the first time we completed the assessment a little less than a year ago. Our original score was far from the 80 required. What the process did highlight was what we could do as a business to improve the way we operate and engage.
Over the last 10 months we worked together as a team to put in place processes and practices. Juliet (one of our Business Analysts) took the lead and worked with the team at BLabs (who provided great advice along the way). Over the last financial year we slowly increased our assessment score to the point Adopt & Embrace was ready to be audited for certification.
The verification process is quite detailed (you definitely can not just mail this in). A video call interview with a standards analyst from B Lab over in the United States. Randomly selected documents and evidence that need to be produced for verification. Detailed conversations about supplier diversity policies, employee handbooks and purchasing practices have continued over the last couple of months. All to ensure that organisations that are certified as B Corporations absolutely make the grade.
We are proud to share that we are one organisation that made that grade. Adopt & Embrace's verified, audited B Impact Assessment result as of 12 October 2017 is 91.6
There are a number of key programs, and plenty of small process or policy changes that we have in place at Adopt & Embrace that support our focus on positive impact. Here are three examples...
Mental Health impacts many people in the workplaces where we deliver our Adoption Programs. Whilst we can help individuals, teams and organisations create more flexible workplaces through the use of technology, or improve digital literacy to reduce frustration at work... we can't have a direct impact on on how mental health plays a factor of an inclusive workplace.
Because of this, as a team we agreed to support a charity that can. Batyr provides preventative education in the area of youth mental health. Our monthly donation helps batyr run programs in schools and universities that support our next generation of team mates entering the workforce.
The biggest impact on the environment we make is through air travel. Last financial year we took close to 180 flights as a team... each time contributing significantly more CO2 to the atmosphere than our trips in Ubers, Taxis, vehichles, or the power we draw in our co-working space (which we measure down to the workstation)
We are working to reduce the amount of flights we take this financial year. We have restructured some of our engagement models that make better use of video conferencing for 1:1 conversation (vs trying to facilitate large group workshops that necessitated travel).
For all the emissions we do track, we offset them with GreenFleet. In FY16 this meant that 177 additional native trees were planted in reforestation programs in Australia.
We all believe that volunteering or pro-bono work is valuable not only for the communities we serve, but also for our own personal development. Each team member at Adopt & Embrace has 10 days of additional leave each year to pursue the volunteering or pro-bono work of their choice. In fact, it isn't just a policy, we actively encourage the team to volunteer and discuss it in our regular 1:1 catch ups.
Some examples of where the team have volunteered include:
Certification as a B Corporation is for a two year period. Now that we are a member of a community of B Corporations around the world, we look forward to hearing from them to see where we can further improve our governance and impact on the stakeholders and communities we serve.