29th November 2019
Ethics. Innovation. Passion. Trust.
These four words are our values. Four small, yet important and powerful words. These words are not just necessary for our mission here at Studio Republic, but they’re also necessary for the future of the planet and all that lives on it. It’s these four words that inspire us every day to work hard to do good.
Doing good is important to us. “Creative for good” is, after all, our motto. This year we released our sustainability policy and our first sustainability report. We’ve even expanded our business to include sustainability marketing as a service. But we didn’t stop there. As part of our journey to doing good, in true Studio Republic style, we decided to put ourselves out there against the best and become a Benefit Corporation - or a B Corp to you and me.
And guess what! We did it. We’re a B Corp baby!
A B Corporation is a new type of business that considers the impact of the company’s decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community and the environment. They are a step away from capitalism, because they balance purpose and profit. By becoming a B Corp, you become part of a community of inspiring leaders who value and take seriously their role as a force for good.
In the UK alone there are 195 registered B Corps, and globally there are 3,128 companies who are B Corp certified. And we’re proud to become a part of this ever-increasing community.
Much like individuals, businesses have a power each day to cast a vote for a brighter, more just and prosperous future. We can use the resources we have – our business, our investments, our voice – to make changes that add real value to the world. That may be supporting a community, providing workers with equal and fair pay, or contributing to the restoration of an ecosystem - whatever gets your inner ethical warrior going!
By becoming a B Corp you pass that power onto your clients, your employees, and the world around you, too. When they choose to work with your business, to buy your products or hire your services, they’re choosing to vote “yes” for positive change. Every day is election day.
What this means is that we can all work together as a global community to build a future where everyone and everything is considered and cared for.
The task of becoming a B Corp was an arduous one. Lots of fact finding, information gathering, email chasing and triple checking hundreds of answers. But, like all good things, it was worth fighting for.
The B Impact Assessment is made up of a couple of hundred questions that tackle B Corp’s five main categories: governance; workers; community; environment; and customers. The assessment is effectively a large checklist that you can use as guidance to practicing business in the right way - see it as a road map to keeping you on an ethical track.
Whether you’re a startup or a fully fledged multinational corporation, the assessment will encourage you to measure your social and environmental performance. It allows you to see what you’re already doing well and where you can improve in the future. It runs off a simple point scoring system, with each question answered giving you a set amount of points. The more points you have, the higher your overall score. The scoring system allows you to assess your own performance, compare your impact against other B Corps and set improvement targets so that you can hold yourself accountable and continue to make positive progress.
We’d be lying if we said the journey was easy. We didn’t qualify as a B Corp on our first attempt. But following a reassessment, we achieved a score of 85.9 making us officially a B Corporation.
When we first heard about B Corp in the summer of 2018, we knew immediately that it was something we wanted to do. The purpose of B Corp aligned perfectly with the values we have here at Studio Republic. We wanted to be a part of a network of like-minded businesses who want to make a positive change in the world.
Being a part of this inspiring and challenging movement is a way to keep us motivated. It’s great to be a part of a larger movement that collectively strives to change the world for the better.
Completing the B Impact Assessment taught us a lot of things. The first and probably most important takeaway was that ethical business and sustainable business means a lot more than what we initially thought. It wasn’t about simply being carbon neutral and treating each other fairly. It was about much, much more than that. Like many people, in the beginning we assumed that being sustainable was largely associated with reducing environmental impacts. We didn’t even realise that community, governance and worker impacts were in the mix.
We also learnt that sustainability and ethics can be written into every aspect of your business, and that we were already doing more good than we thought we were.
The assessment encouraged us to put in writing a lot of our policies and update some of our procedures – because, although we live and breathe equality and fairness, sometimes the supporting written policy just wasn’t there. We wanted to change that.
We learnt that transparency (something becoming a B Corp encourages) is fundamental to being a business for good. As part of gaining certification, B Corp adds us to their network of B Corporations and makes public our impact report. Although this sounds daunting for some, whether you’re an ethical business or not, it’s actually a really cathartic process. It shares where we are now, how we used to be and keeps us motivated to make changes in the future to keep improving. Every day is a day for learning, and B Corp is the silver lining that keeps us moving forward towards a brighter future.
Undertaking the assessment got us all excited as a team and the buzz it generated internally was great. We were all chatting about becoming B Corp certified, and even began to encourage our clients to become part of the B Corp community too. Suggesting to clients that they adopt a more sustainable business practice fell into perfect alignment with our aspirations to offer sustainability marketing as part of our service offering. And completing our own Impact Assessment gave us that final push to formally set up this new venture for Studio Republic.
“Undertaking the B Impact Assessment – a fundamental part of the process to certify as a B Corporation – has helped SR to take a more holistic view of the business. It identified blind spots and internal processes that were otherwise neglected. It reinforced the need to undertake certain activities and also confirmed that many of the steps they had already taken on the journey to be more sustainable were the right ones.” Paul Coverdale, Sustainability Consultant and Founder of Winchester Sustainable Business
To be a part of a network of people who care about more than just their bottom line is an incredible feeling. It provides a platform for businesses big and small to voice their opinion, share their journey and make a difference. It provides you with inspiration and encouragement to use your position as a business to make a difference - to not rely on governments and policy changes, and to just simply be the change you want to see in the world.
B Corp offers countless benefits to your business. You become a leader in a movement that really matters. You build relationships with other businesses around the world who strive to achieve the same goals as you. You attract top talent. You improve your positive impact. You amplify your voice and protect your mission into the future.
We’re the first Winchester-based business to become a B Corp and certainly won’t be the last. Why not join us in becoming a B Corp too?
For more information on how you can start your sustainability journey, or to find out more about us and our sustainability services, check out our sustainability marketing page.