Our fourth Q&A during B Corp month focuses on communities and what it means to be part of a 'better business'.
I’m Robbie Staniforth, Head of Innovation and Policy at Ecosurety. In a few months, I’ll celebrate a decade with the company, having joined as an account manager and progressed to becoming a Board member a few years ago.
I’m now responsible for the development of our new products and services, interactions with industry stakeholders and influencing the Government to improve policy. I’m proud to be an external figurehead for the company.
B Corp gives external verification for what I have known for many years, that Ecosurety cares about much more than just profits. I have always found the status of “not-for-profit” a poor proxy for validating that an organisation is “doing good”.
The rigour of the B Corp accreditation is a much better measure for understanding how an organisation is run. Profit should not be considered a dirty word. The problem is the environmental and social sacrifices that are often made to achieve profit.
There is now an illustrious list of B Corp companies who I draw inspiration, but the most personally inspiring interaction was attending the celebration of Resource Futures becoming a B Corp way back in 2016. At the time, I was just starting managerial roles at Ecosurety and understanding the options for how businesses could be organised.
I knew immediately from the speeches given on that day that there was a new way of doing business that contributed to protecting people and the planet. I reported back to the business at the time, but it was clear that we needed to do a lot more research before going for accreditation.
It was only a year or two later when a colleague had a meeting with a client that had become a B Corp that the idea started to gain traction. Subsequently, Resource Futures helped us plenty when going for the accreditation so the link I made 5 years ago really helped.
For me, there hasn’t been a huge shift in my day-to-day responsibilities as I’ve always been at the sharp end of Ecosurety contributing to creating a better planet. However, I am much more mindful of the B Corp framework when it comes to strategic planning and ensuring we create well-rounded objectives for the business to achieve.
I am involved in contributing to and leading many different stakeholder communities, including various scheme forums, local action groups and Government working groups. Being a better guardian is about ensuring that these communities don’t lose sight of their purpose.
They all exist in one guise or another to improve outcomes for the environment, but they often get lost in the minutia of technical detail, rather than focusing on what will really make a difference. I take my responsibility for guiding and steering these discussions towards tangible, positive outcomes very seriously.
Time is precious and I’m acutely aware that I want to use mine to have as big a positive impact as possible.
The biggest success has been in helping the Government to understand what is happening in the world of recycling through the pandemic. There were regular meetings with Government and support offered, if required.
Ultimately, the system for collecting recycling held up very well overall, thanks to the sterling effort of those in the sector. Government and industry don’t always have the best of relationships, but we can be proud of how we all pulled together during a difficult time.
In terms of environmental policy for recycling, there is relatively widespread agreement on desired objectives and outcomes, but when cast-iron proposals are released there is a risk that the sector could depart from these to protect their best interests.
Given that we are a B Corp, we are in an enviable position of being able to act in the best interests of the overall policy design and consequently work out our own role, rather than trying to engineer a result merely in the interest of shareholder profit.
The people. Being a B Corp, we attract the right people that may have totally different personalities and background but a common outlook on what is important in life. Working interactions are simply much easier and more enjoyable when you’re all working to the same goals.
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Marketing projects specialist
Ben joined the team at the beginning of 2015 and helps drive marketing communications and projects for Ecosurety, including project managing the launch of the Ecosurety Exploration Fund and website content development.