B Corp month is a chance to celebrate the movement and spread the word about what it means to be part of a 'better business'.
But what exactly do we mean by 'better business'? In this context it is certainly not about being as profitable as possible - rather being a ‘better business’ means prioritising constant improvement to continuously exceed the expectations, demands and needs of society and the planet.
B Corps are prime examples of ‘better businesses’, proven by their verified B Corp score and a commitment to place stakeholders at the centre of decision making.
With a focus on workers for the first week of B Corp month, our very own head of human resources, Luke Hutchison, shares some insight about why being B Corp matters and how it inspires us to be a better business.
I'm Luke and whilst I am the head of human resources at Ecosurety, my role is quite broad. I see it as being focused on ensuring the inner workings of Ecosurety are healthy.
This is about the people - their wellbeing, skills and behaviours - but it's also about the teams, systems and organisational structures within which they operate.
Being a B Corp means we treat our company as a living organism, rather than a machine. It is made up of people both internally and externally that have needs, beyond just the economic one. These people have a need for meaning and purpose in their work.
So, it is essential that Ecosurety has a clear purpose, as well as recognising that economic need is the life blood that allows us to pursue higher goals.
I am part of a group called the SW England Ethical HR forum and there are several B Corps within that group, such as Pukka Herbs and Sawday Publishing. I have found organisations that are clear on their values are much more able to articulate their purpose and create a clear culture in their organisation.
Years ago I was impressed how Greenhouse PR (who are a B Corp) could articulate this idea. Organisations I have admired are not all B Corps, but I think the B Corp certification helps to define what they are doing right.
Previous to B Corp, Ecosurety was Investors in People Gold accredited. For the people element of B Corp these are very similar certifications, so we have not had to change substantially, just incrementally. However, Investors in People was perceived as an "HR thing", whilst B Corp integrates across the business.
I would say it simply means we don't delude ourselves. We strive to measure our impact, be that on employees or through areas like purchasing. We then take steps to get better. Even if we find an area where we are at a low starting point, we acknowledge it and strive to get better.
The last year has been dominated by COVID and home working. Ecosurety has been incredibly lucky that our business was not substantially affected, we didn't put anyone on furlough and we had already moved to a remote working IT platform from January 2020. COVID has pushed back some planned employment practices, simply because we are not in the same building, but it has also brought employee wellbeing, IT platforms and social connection to the fore.
I think we have managed really well to maintain connection through a host of methods and this is reflected in our employee surveys.
Diversity and inclusion is high on the people agenda, along with further digitisation and the impact of an economic downturn, but really the biggest challenge will be defining the new normal, once COVID has passed. We won't be going back to old ways of working and none of us know exactly what the new ways will look like.
I like that the phrase "Balancing profit and purpose" has drifted into being a normal thing. A few years ago, putting those two words in the same sentence would be unusual, but now it is normal and certainly part of our thinking at Ecosurety.
Find out more about B Corp
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.