We became a B Corp to audit our ethics

August was a big month for us. After a year in business, we knew we were doing good things for good people, but couldn’t shake the question: were we doing enough of it? Don't become a B Corp if you’re not ready to be challenged.

October 12, 2020

August was a big month for Harvey

Not only did we celebrate the arrival of our littlest team member, Margie Smallchua, but we achieved our long-standing goal of becoming a certified B Corp. We got the good news while I was in labour. Simon is very sorry for checking his phone.

For those who haven't heard, certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy. They’re things we talk about a lot, so it made sense to practice what we preach.

After a year in business, we knew we were doing good things for good people, but couldn’t shake the question: were we doing enough of it?

Led by conscious decision making, not perfection.

The term ‘conscious business’ is an important one for us, as it reflects the belief that to be a good business owner you need to be aware of the world you’re doing business in.

We were really careful to choose the word ‘conscious’ rather than ‘purpose’ because we understand nobody’s perfect. All businesses are unethical in some way or another.  We’re interested in working with good businesses that are looking for ways to be better.

This desire to be better is the ‘why’ behind our B Corp certification. Going through the months-long process provided us with a helpful framework to make changes to the business, as well as the opportunity to reflect on our personal values.  

Learn more about the 5 small changes we made (like choosing suppliers and policy making), and the 5 big changes we made (like a giving model).

Auditing our ethics. Don't become a B Corp if you’re not ready to be challenged.

So here we are, a B Corp. Do we feel any different? Not really, but we do have peace of mind.  We always felt a little uncomfortable saying we were doing good when we didn’t have the certificate to prove it. Going through the certification process allowed us to really take stock of our business values and gave us the opportunity to change things.

However, it wasn’t without its challenges.

One thing that really challenged me was the ‘designed to give’ section of the process. You’re asked if you donate a percentage of your revenue to an organisation of your choice. My honest immediate reaction was that I didn’t want to do it. I thought it was money we could use to buy a house or go into a bank account for Margie. But then I remembered something Justine Flynn, co-founder of Thankyou and a good friend used to say...

You can never lose by giving.
Justin Flynn, Thankyou

Suddenly, the answer was simple. We chose to donate 5% of our revenue to Greening Australia and in doing so, put to action what we truly believe in. Our donation contributes a small part to the amazing work they do by planting enough trees and shrubs to store 240 tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2030.

Validating our mission as a business. The importance of sticking to your values.

Choosing to go through something like B Corp certification is all about values. Individual business owners have to decide what they believe in. We asked ourselves what would make us happier: a big house and regular holidays? Or knowing we’ve made a difference to someone? When we thought of it that way, the answer was crystal clear. We were in a position to give, so why wouldn’t we?

In some ways becoming a B Corp was something that happened organically for us, but in others, it was always part of the plan.

To be a B Corp you need to achieve 80 out of a possible 200 points. They evaluate and audit each organisation with hundreds of questions across workers, community, customers, environment and governance.

We scored 134 on our assessment, which meant we qualified. Now it’s our job to keep and hopefully improve that score. Hear us talk more about the why and what we learnt through the certification process in video below.

Read here to find out more about our B Corp assessment journey.

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