Here at Localize, we became a B Corp two years ago. As such, we just completed our first recertification. (Are you not sure what a B Corp is? Check out our other blog post about it here). Completing our renewal has been an especially insightful time to reflect on how our business has grown and evolved as a values-driven business.
In the two years since we originally certified, our impact assessment score jumped from 89 up to 120. The growth is related to a few factors that have strengthened or changed about our business, including:
- We continue to grow on our mission to enhance opportunities for local food producers and to connect them with buyers in grocery stores. Further to that, we’re working to more deeply connect and share transparent information about how that food was produced with our relationships with organizations like Ocean Wise and GODAN.
- More than 76% of our budget for major suppliers and external contractors is devoted to business local to our company. We don’t offshore, and we are committed to hiring local to our offices.
- Our team grew and we produced jobs which significantly surpass living wage standards for the communities in which we employ our people.
- We have measures for ensuring transparency within the company, such as financial visibility across the team.
- We have an equitable representation of both men and women across levels of the team including senior management.
- Our policies and practices are even more clearly defined and broadly align our business with the values we wish to represent to the world.
As we completed our renewal assessment, it caused us to reflect on a number of things, including our status as a B Corp and what it means to our business. Even more so than for our original review, the B Corp recertification process made us look not just at 'what' Localize does, but also 'how' we do it. It turns out that the 'how' was more impactful in so many ways than just the mission.
This seems like an important reflection as we work to share the story of B Corps with others and motivate more businesses to certify. The renewal was an opportunity to dig deeper into each opportunity we have for improvement, and our business will see the benefits of this audit in many ways. It reaffirmed that while our external mission is important, our internal way of doing things is just as vital.
Being a B Corp isn't hard. Scaling a business is hard, and if you're doing the scaling part right, then becoming a B Corp is a wonderful way to increase the depth of your organization's awareness and resolve as an actor on the world.
When we originally certified, we were told by lawyers at the time that it was illegal to add a social commitment to our articles of incorporation in Alberta. We had to jump through hoops to include a statement which reflected a corporate commitment to society alongside our fiduciary duties as a corporation. Today, as B Corp certification becomes more predominant, I expect that these challenges will lessen over time so that other businesses do not face the same hurdles.
Being a B Corp is both an external benefit, and an internal one. Externally, it has evolved how we talk about the company. We used to say we were a social enterprise, which is a broad and ambiguous type of business which ranges from non-profits to large for-profit businesses. Now we say we are a certified B Corporation, which is proof that we have achieved a legal and compliance standard for society, with a report card to prove it. The internal benefits are noted above and can be summarized as generally striving to be better and more accountable to all our people.
Interested in learning more about B Corps? Check them out here.