Our second Q&A during B Corp month focuses on customers and what it means to be part of a 'better business'.
For the second week of B Corp month, we feature an insight with head of partnerships, Jon Brookes, who explores why being B Corp matters and what it means to be a better steward to customers.
Hi Jon - please can you introduce yourself and your role at Ecosurety?
I'm Jon and I joined the business over three years ago, driven by a desire to work for a company where the values, culture and passion of the team matched my own, and the desire to make a positive difference. My role is really focused around our customers and prospective customers, which means overseeing our business development, client services and marketing teams.
I also work with the Ecosurety board to ensure we can continue to deliver better service, support and added value to our members, whilst fundamentally helping their business make a positive impact on the environment, and shape future regulation to those ends.
What does being a B Corp mean to you?
A great deal! Before we became a B Corp driving a change for good was already at our core, and we have an extraordinary culture that genuinely encourages our team to express their passion and strive to fulfil our values.
Becoming a B Corp, however, felt like a momentous step in recognising that, and going beyond our own words to demonstrate our commitments as a business to our customers and our industry.
Making statements about company values and commitments is easy; becoming a B Corp is hard, and takes genuine commitment and shared passion throughout the business.
What inspiration have you found from other B Corps?
Throughout the long process of certification, and since becoming certified, there is a huge amount that we have gained from connecting with the B Corp business community, which is certainly one of the benefits.
We’ve learned how important it is to ensure that everyone in the business sees it as a priority (rather than one impassioned person or team owning sustainability agendas), and ensuring everyone fully understands and buys into commitments and values in all they do.
We had some of our local B Corp friends in Bristol visit to share their story with our team and answer questions, which also really helped to inspire us all and get us fired up to continue to strive to get better.
Ecosurety has been B Corp certified since April 2020. What has changed for you in your role since then?
I think more structured consideration of how my, and my teams actions and objectives, deliver every day on the principles of operating as a B Corp business.
There is a heightened sense of responsibility, and I feel more empowered to engage with other businesses with a slightly different dynamic – that we are speaking and acting as a B Corp, not just as Ecosurety.
What does it mean to be a better steward to customers?
Since our certification, we’ve had a huge amount of positive feedback, and it clearly matters to our customers and others we engage with in our industry. We have always differentiated ourselves through our values, dynamism, and commitment to deliver tangible impact, and I think becoming a B Corp has reaffirmed our commitment to our purpose and our values to our customers, particularly as we have grown significantly in recent years.
We operate in a world of producer responsibility where there has been a historic cynicism in the system and in some of the operators therein, so I feel our certification as a B Corp has helped to continue to build trust in our partnerships with our members and prospective members, that we are genuinely committed to make a positive impact and drive change, rather than simply profiting from the system.
What are the key successes Ecosurety has achieved in this area in the last year?
It’s clearly been a hugely challenging year for everyone, and our B Corp certification couldn’t have come at a better time, a month into the first lockdown, which definitely boosted spirits in the business!
It also helped to guide our decision making in engaging our supply chain and customers to work together to get through the challenges the pandemic presented. I’m really proud of how our board proactively approached these issues, as well as putting a huge amount of support in place for our team’s wellbeing.
We also successfully managed to balance the immediate risks and disruption caused by home working, and other COVID-19 related pressures, to stay focused on delivering our strategic objectives, including completing the first round of funding for the £1m Ecosurety Exploration Fund, and driving forward a number of other really exciting projects with both our members and others in the industry to increase recycling in a number of areas.
Finally, we managed to grow our team by 10 people over the last 12 months, which is really testament to our commitment to continue to get better and enable ourselves to drive more positive change with our partners. Too many successes to list!
What are the challenges ahead?
Clearly, the recovery from COVID-19 in the UK will be a huge challenge in multiple sectors that we interact with, so navigating our way through that and supporting our customers will be fundamental, but we certainly have the resilience and team in place to rise to this challenge.
There are also fundamental changes coming in the resources and waste sector in the next couple of years and we will need to continue to play an extremely proactive role in trying to shape future regulation to deliver the best outcomes with industry and policy makers. Developing our business to adapt to those changes and support our members evolving needs will be a key focus. I certainly feel excited by the opportunity rather than nervous of uncertainty, as we have proven ourselves to be adaptable and nimble, and as long as we continue to adhere to our values and purpose then I’m sure we will be successful.
Lastly, what one thing do you like the most about working for a B Corp?
Knowing that everything I am working for will in some way make a positive impact to the world, and knowing that my colleagues genuinely share the same values and purpose. We are not churning out ‘greenwash’ just to drive profits.
It’s a great environment to work in with lots of like-minded, passionate people, and we have a lot of fun! The opportunity to engage more with other B Corps is also a really exciting prospect.
Find out more about B Corp
In case you missed it, last week we featured a Q&A with head of human resources Luke Hutchison, considering the importance of 'workers' and what B Corp means to him. Want to find out more about the B Corp movement and why it matters? A great place to start is to get up to speed with the story of B Corp UK.
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.