Updated: Jul 11, 2022
If you have followed our company over the near-decade since we began, you will know 3 key things about Anywise and how we like to operate:
We believe businesses can be a force for good and can make big impacts in their local community - even the world - no matter if they are a small, medium or large organisation.
We share our skills and experience with those in need (learn more about our AIDE service). People who help one another, grow together.
When SMEs work together, we can do just about anything. With the right Governance in place, we can accomplish just about any task set before us.
If any of the above aligns with your personal or business goals, odds are you want to help make a difference. Traditionally, businesses have been viewed as self-serving with very little concern for the wellbeing of their staff, the environment, or their local community. Often, the larger an organisation, the more ‘cold’ or even ‘ruthless’ they are perceived. This is slowly changing as more businesses are pursuing sustainable practices. Knowing where to start can be the hardest part. One potential route is to consider becoming B Corp certified.
What is B Corp Certifification?
In its simplest form, by becoming a Certified B Corporation, you want to help those in your sphere of influence. You want to help give back to both the community and the environment in a meaningful way. Not forgetting, you want to treat your staff well and run your business transparently and uphold the highest level of corporate governance within your business.
However the B Corp website says it best: “B Corp Certification is a designation that a business is meeting high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials.” https://www.bcorporation.net/en-us/certification
How it works
Each business that begins its B Corp journey must first state the size of its organisation as this will set its targets. Next, the organisation will receive a score on a number of categories based on their application. If their score is below 80, the criteria aren’t met, and they are not certified. Every 3 years, the company is required to re-apply and ensure that they are maintaining a B Corp ranking. It also provides a chance for organisations to review what they are doing well and what areas they can improve in. For instance, we are ecstatic to announce that when Anywise was first certified in August 2018 our score was 89.2, but upon recent recertification, we have achieved a score of 102.6. A huge increase and something which we are tremendously proud of, this has motivated us to keep pushing ourselves.
What we have learned on our journey so far
To help you start on your way towards better-for-the-world business practices, we jotted down our most prominent pain points and lessons to date.
Our primary challenges consisted of 3 points
Respond to the questionnaire in 1 day. If that’s not possible, at least within 1 week. Internally we struggled with coordinating meetings which allowed all contributors to attend and this hindered our progress. ‘Business As Usual’ work was our main priority, so we met in available time slots over a period of approximately 2 months. This delayed our application process and created further challenges.
There is currently no way to view previous responses within the application. Without that visibility, it was incredibly challenging to ensure consistency in our responses. This caused further headaches to rectify as we were again confronted with the challenge mentioned above: trying to coordinate meeting attendance.
There were delays in B Corp reviewing our responses which caused confusion in reporting periods. While B Corp was accommodating to our timelines and guided us on our journey, the inevitable delays did cause challenges. The best solution is to remain patient and clearly identify the reporting period so there can be no further confusion in responses to their RFI's (Request for Information).
Bite-sized advice we wish we had known earlier
Ensure your record-keeping is spotless. There were some options in the questionnaire which we could have selected, however without any supporting evidence at the time, we were unable to select those options and potentially missed a higher score in this recertification.
Clearly identify the reporting periods in each answer e.g. "Our response to this question is the reporting period 01 Apr 22 - 31 Mar 23". This eliminates any confusion around dates or timelines for both your company and B Corp.
Keep a copy of all documents to which you refer to. For instance; profit-loss statements, company handbooks, etc. You may be required to submit the documents as evidence or in response to any enquiries from your B Corp rep.
For reference, record all of your responses in a separate document as you are unable to review previous answers within the application.
Be prepared that some additional questions can appear, even though you may have responded to all current questions at that time.
Allow the time this application requires. Schedule a day or two in the week to tackle each and every question with everyone required in the same room at the same time.
Take the time after the application to discuss internally how things could be improved for the next recertification.
Consider what could be incorporated into the business structure and potentially lead to both a higher score next time and an overall increase in the impact your business practices make on the world.
And lastly, it is okay not to be perfect. This allows for continuous improvement, giving you targets and goals for when you next recertify.
We wish you the best of luck on your B Corp journey. Together we can make the world that much better.
Contact us if you'd like to learn more about the work we do and how we can help you with your projects.