Our B Corp journey to make us a “Force for Good”
In 2020 we wanted to, and decided to, embrace all aspects of best Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) practice, making it our ambition to create a business that is a “Force for Good”. This is a common desire for so many leaders and businesses, but how do you go about this? Our journey and the benefits we have experienced are the content for this article.
We are driven by the very real desire to make Motivates a business which puts equal emphasis on our People, The Community, The Planet and Profits. This is what it means to become a B Corp. We wanted to ensure that this philosophy is enshrined in our DNA, where we consider the local community and give back where we can, that we ensure that we minimise our carbon footprint, that we provide the environment for our people to grow and develop into the best versions of themselves whilst giving opportunities for those who are disadvantaged to join us and to build careers.
This will take time but it’s an ambition we all share and are all embracing and working constantly to achieve. Here are some of the 3,500 businesses that have become certified B Corps. If you want to better understand why companies do this, here is a great article from the Harvard Business Review.
Some brands that are already there!
Our journey & progress
We began our journey last year, selecting the B Corp assessment as a guide on the areas we needed to focus on. Their assessment tool, which is free to use and is currently being accesses by over 50,000 businesses around the world, embraces all aspects of ESG and provides guidance in terms of what this means and the areas that need to be considered. It is a gold mine of information and ideas.
We have involved our people all the way through the process and have collaborated to agree on the charities we should support, how we offset our carbon footprint, our diversity and inclusion policy and what how we can improve, grow and move forward together. We broke the project into three teams, who are responsible for the direction and changes needed in the three core areas Workers, Environment and Community.
The B Corp benchmark is to achieve 80 points on their assessment, and by May of this year we hit 90 points allowing us to submit our assessment, with certification to take place over the next few months. The summary below highlights some of the initiatives that have been put into place since the start of 2021.
1. Supporting the gift card industry
Our intentions are to support the whole of the gift card industry to join us in becoming leaders in the ESG field, if they wish to. As a result, I have personally trained to become a B Leader, a certification provided by B Corp, in April 2021. This gives me the skills and the network to support other businesses to improve in all areas of ESG. Motivates would look to provide advice, support and training to other businesses to ensure that the whole industry can become leaders in this field.
To embed the principles into the Motivates’s DNA we changed our Articles of Association in May 2021 to make it a requirement for every Director to consider our community, our workers, the planet, and our profits in every decision they make.
To add diversity to the Board we recently added an employee elected director, to enrich our decision making. She is currently being trained in the skills needed and attends our fortnightly Board meetings where she represents our employees.
We now keep all employees informed on the business’s performance with monthly financial reviews and half yearly ESG reporting. The three internal teams are managing our transition in the following areas Environmental, Community and Workers. This is a constant work in progress and will continue for years to come.
3. ESG 5-year targets
We have set our targets for the next five years, with an annual impact report to be publicly disclosed at the end of every financial year. Our targets include the following:
- Our B Corp score is over 100, currently 91.
- We now pay 10% above the London Living wage for all employees, including interns
- 10% of profits are distributed equally to all staff, each year.
- Employee Satisfaction – above 80%
- Pro bono service days – an average of 1.5 days per employee
- Mental wellness days – an average of 1.5 days per employee
- Carbon footprint – 0.80 tonnes per £1m of turnover, currently 1.01 tonne per £1m.
- The business is Carbon neutral – we now offset any footprint
- Our own produced products are 100% environmentally friendly
- £1,000 per employee is donated each year to charities and the local community through staff and company contributions
- All staff have a personal growth plan
- 2 days ESG training each year – 100% of all staff
- We place 2 interns from the local community each year
- We publish an impact report each year, including diversity stats v national and London averages.
We now offer all our staff 2 paid community days a year, with a focus of supporting causes within the Hackney authority. We have identified two areas, the first is the weekly support of the Hackney Food Bank along with raising funds and supplies and secondly maintaining and improving the local Shoreditch Park as a group from within the business.
Our charitable work will also focus on Hackney as will our desire to recruit 2 interns a year from the local state schools and colleges.
We are reviewing our complete supplier list to ensure that we buy more products from our local supplier base, deemed to be from within the greater London area.
Over the past year we have reviewed, discussed and implemented a number of initiatives which have been focussed under three broad headings; Health; Happiness and Peace of Mind. These include:
- 10% of all profits are shared equally and distributed to all employees. Our first distribution was made in [June] 2021,
- Minimum pay levels – including interns – have been set at 10% above the London Living Wage,
- We have introduced new polices designed to ensure that work and personal life can be better balanced, including 2 paid mental wellness days, 6 summer early home days as well as 2 paid pro bono days each year.
- All employees receive a cost-of-living wage increase annually
- We have increased the Group Life cover to give peace of mind
- Increased pension matching above the statutory minimum
- Diversity and Inclusion policy reviewed, agreed and is being rolled out, with comprehensive training for all staff
- Career goals – training of management team in place on leadership and life goals.
- Access has been provided to all staff to the Linkedin training portal, allowing everyone to access courses as their needs develop.
We have calculated our carbon footprint (Scope 1 & 2) for the year ending March 2021, and have offset it through Climate Care. We have set reduction targets and now measure our performance every six months. Our plans are to measure our Scope 3 emissions in 2022.
All our packaging on goods produced by us will be environmentally friendly or biodegradable by end of 2021. Our gift cards in the shopping malls are already done, and we are working on changing all of our B2B collateral.
No doubt about it, this is a challenge for any business. What I have now come to realise is that it isn’t really about getting certified, that’s just a great box to tick. It’s been about the journey we are on, the way the Company has embraced the concept, the ideas that have flowed, the debates we have all had, the skills we are all learning, and of course the impact we can see happening around us even at this early stage.
It genuinely feels great to be part of this. It’s certainly good for business in so many ways. In particular, over the past 12 months we have seen our business grow, with new products, & services launched and many new clients choosing to work with us. We have also enjoyed greater levels of employee and community engagement as we have all come together behind our B Corp journey.
Bill Alexander, Chairman
Motivates Inc. Ltd
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