To celebrate B Corp Month, we decided to take you through our own B Corp journey. It has been one year since our accreditation was made official and we could not be prouder to have achieved such a feat.
The journey has empowered us to think about every aspect of our business - down to the smallest details - to help us be the purpose-lead, values-driven recruitment agency that we are today. One that not just positively impacts our industry, but is positively impacting the planet too.
B Corps are modelling the kind of business the world needs - business that meets rigorous standards for social and environmental impact, is transparent, and is accountable to all its stakeholders. B Corps of all sizes across multiple industries are joining together to achieve our collective vision of an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative global economic system that benefits all people and the planet.
We first heard the term B Corp back in 2018 whilst supporting our client, Ella's Kitchen - Mark Cuddigan, their CEO, is an inspirational B Corp Ambassador and candidates have always been encouraged to proactively research B Corp as part of their recruitment process. Mark would also give talks to prospective candidates about B Corps and their mission and values – he has had such a positive impact on our journey.
When the pandemic hit, we wanted to take stock of our business and knew we had to stand for something other than our bottom line. We felt that undertaking the B Corp assessment was the right thing to do, even if it seemed like a daunting journey at the start with potentially up to 200 separate pieces of evidence to submit for scoring.
Our CSR & Planet Mark Accreditation
Luckily, we had a starting point in that we were undergoing our CSR Accreditation at the time which helped us produce detailed records about the business and helped us categorise all our community and philanthropy projects before we got going.
Such an undertaking showed us we were light on our sustainability potential, an essential requirement where B Corp certification was concerned. We partnered with Colin Curtis at Support The Goals to align the business with the UN SDGs, we became a partner of B1G1 and supported causes that directly impacted people and planet. We worked with Planet Mark to analyse our carbon footprint, and enacted initiatives to reduce it, which resulted in a 62.4% drop in the 2020-2021 year.
We also partnered with B Corp ambassadors such as Paul Hargreaves, Founder of Cotswold Fayre, to gain more insights on the process.
We started our B-Impact assessment in the summer of 2020. With our CSRA certification and our Plant Mark certification both confirmed around that time, we felt confident moving into the assessment phase knowing we had a realistic chance of scoring the necessary pass mark of 80.
It took around two months of work to complete the initial questions with a further 2-3 months of further refinement. We aimed for a score of 100, but we required more evidence of knowledge in the public domain and the projects we were conducting to achieve this.
On 4 March 2021, our B Corp status became official!
With a passing score of 92, it was a proud achievement for the business. Right now, the median score for ordinary businesses who complete the assessment is 50.9.
We became the first High-Street recruiter in the UK to become a B Corp, and only the 8th recruitment agency in the world to achieve B Corp status at the time.
Our full score breakdown can be seen on the graph below.
Criteria that is not always relevant to our industry is still scored and we may not be able to improve in some areas, but it does give us further incentive to continually improve our score where we can.
B-Corp's re-verification model means we cannot rest on what we have already accomplished. We must keep on building our community partnerships, inspiring our clients and moving forward with new projects that will benefit our core mission.
We will begin our evidence gathering process at the end of this year for re-verification in 2024.
We are passionate about committing more to our community efforts and supporting amazing organisations close to our heart, including Naomi House & Jack's Place, Panathlon and Buddy Bag Box Challenge.
We are also entering into more great partnerships to improve our environmental impact through working with organisations like Toilet Twinning, and our community inclusion impact with partnering with organisations like Includability – a B Corp Pending organisation – that offer a breadth of best practice knowledge through their extensive community.
This purpose-led journey that has taught us so much - chiefly how we can better serve our planet and our community, the clients we adore, the candidates we cherish, and the EK team mates that we love.
Thank you to Mark Cuddigan, Paul Hargreaves and Masami Sato for inspiring us through your amazing work with Ella's Kitchen, Cotswold Fayre, a certified B Corporation, a certified B Corporation and B1G1 to begin this journey. Thank you to everyone who has inspired us ever since.