Becoming a Better Business: The Road to B Corp
It brings us great pleasure to announce that Join the Dots, as part of Edit and The Salocin Group, are now B Corp certified as of the 16th of February 2022. We continue our drive to be a force for good, a business that cares for people and planet, not just profit.
To explain why this is such a momentous achievement, and how we accomplished it, key contributors People Director Stace Day, Business Systems Manager Tom Mudd, and Join the Dots Managing Partner Ben Briggs share their experience below.
But first, a brief explanation of B Corp
B Lab is a non-profit network with a mission to transform the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet. Starting in 2006, with the idea that a different kind of economy was possible, B Lab became known for certifying B Corporations, which are companies that meet high standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
Doing business a better way
Tom: We zoomed out and looked at how businesses are run and realised that many of the values that are integral to becoming B Corp certified align with our existing values at Edit & Join the Dots, or what we want them to be.
We were passionate to be a force for good, and felt strongly about how business should operate, with the focus being on people and planet, so achieving B Corp would solidify this aim into a more defined process.
B Corp is leading the movement on how business should be run, and out of all of the certifications available for businesses, it made the most sense for us to go for it over others where the focus is more commercial.
Ben: When we set up Join the Dots, we knew we wanted our sustainability and purpose driven values to be at the heart of what we do internally and externally, and B Corp helps show that outwardly. Our work with clients, suppliers and each other is entrenched with being purposeful and creating a positive impact.
The challenges we faced
Tom: From my perspective the biggest challenge came from dealing with the vast breadth of data from across business that we needed to capture, to be able to use to evidence that we were meeting the requirements and standards.
Stace: One thing we found particularly tricky was changing our articles of association. It essentially involves having to amend the company’s founding documents– so there was a steep learning curve! The more time we invested in the process, the more areas we discovered where we saw that we had the potential to grow into, to make the necessary changes. The process became about the continual push for development.
Advice for other organisations
Stace: My biggest piece of advice for any organisation who wanted to begin the B Corp certification process would be to build networks. Find companies that have achieved it already for their help and guidance, it’s tough to go it alone. Be open to collaboration, build relationships with someone that can advise you.
Tom: You’ll need support from people that have a broad understanding of your business. For us, the combination of myself and Stace make a great team, with Stace in a people focused position, and me with a wider understanding of the business’s processes. Therefore, we had great scope to be able to respond to all of the requirements for evidencing our policies and ways of working.
Be prepared for total transparency in the interviews, there will be areas of your business (as there are with all, especially those that have been around a few years) that don’t perfectly align with B Corp’s purpose, and that’s okay. But you have to be ready to bare all and then you can start to commit to making the changes for better practices in future. Business will always be about making money, but ultimately, capitalism needs to become a force for good.
And don’t underestimate the undertaking – the time and detail required are huge, this is not a tick box exercise. Don’t do it on a whim, it will take more than a year. If you want it, be ready to commit and give it your all, and ask for support from those who have achieved it already.
Strengths and next steps
Stace: Join the Dots & Edit were already providing some great B Corp aligned services, including our mental health awareness drives, charitable initiatives, Lifestyle Benefit, and existing sustainability efforts. However, the B Corp certification process really opened our eyes to how much more could be done and it really captured the hearts and minds of everyone in the team.
I’ve realised now, that if I were to change jobs, it would be a definite requirement for any business to be B Corp certified. It’s really impressed upon me the people and planet-first approach to working.
We’re taking this brief pause to celebrate, and then we are getting right back to it, to making business better for people and planet, not just for profit.
Ben: From day one, Join the Dots started life as a sustainable and purposeful agency. We can’t imagine our every day without this level of focus and positive change, it’s gives us a great feeling of pride and satisfaction knowing the Join the Dots and Edit integrity has been recognised through our work to gain B Corp accreditation.
Our B Corp journey doesn’t end now that we’ve become certified, this is just the beginning.