Opinion piece from Ben Scoggins, CEO of digital agency Organic
Having been B Corporation certified in 2019, the team at Organic has joined the merry group of other B Corp businesses in committing to fulfilling ethical business practices. There’s now over 4000 B-Corporations and thousands more on the waiting list. As one of the first agencies in the UK to receive this accreditation, we have seen the network grow at speed over the last few years. This growth is, we think, largely trend driven, as sustainability, consumer consciousness and ethics in business become increasingly attractive for businesses to tap into.
However, it’s not as simple as just giving a ‘nod’ to these things. For us, joining the B Corp community was a natural progression. It mirrored our agency values and goals – most of which were ones that B Corp requires for certification. It’s always been important for us to strike the right balance between profit and purpose, and the B Corp certification supports our own brand purpose, Digital for Good, perfectly. Being a B Corp allows us to use the business and our expertise in digital to make things better. Whether this is for our clients, their end users or our own employees and society as a whole.
But it doesn’t just stop there, becoming a B Corp also helps with recruitment, and not just recruiting anyone – recruiting the right kind of people; people who will reflect the values of the business. At Organic we want people who identify with and embody our Digital for Good ethos, and being a B Corp is a good marker for candidates looking for a like-minded employer.
It’s not just new starters though, holding that B Corp certification is beneficial to existing employees too. It makes people look beyond revenue and profit and realise the broader social and environmental goals of the business. This results in collaboration and a wider understanding of everyone being accountable and responsible, while also creating a company that makes a positive contribution to the wider world.
When we embarked on our journey of attaining B Corp status, it required a real understanding of the business outside of profit-making. Issues that businesses might not have paid such close attention to before, whether that’s quantifying our level of recycling, or using environmentally friendly cleaning products, became paramount.
Whilst there are so many benefits to the process, becoming and maintaining B Corp status isn’t plain sailing. It takes time, commitment and serious effort, considering you need to allocate resources to the application process, as well as ensuring necessary changes are made to the business to qualify for certification. Once you receive certification, you have to complete an annual impact report, and then after getting recertified three years later you have to ensure you have improved your score. It’s an evolving and ongoing process that ensures accountability and continued improvement.
But that’s what being a B Corp is all about. Dedication to making a positive difference. It’s not easy for agencies to jump on the ethical business bandwagon. By having the desire to do it, and for the right reasons, it will be a business journey that’s worthwhile.
As we know, sustainability, conscious consumerism and ethical business are increasingly important in the current climate. This is why we also use our B Corp certification as a way to ensure we are working with the right clients too. We want to be associated with brands and businesses who look to create positive digital experiences to improve their customers’ lives.
There are of course other ways to pursue ethical business practices but for us, becoming a B Corp stands out from CSR programmes. We feel part of a network of businesses, which keeps us connected and accountable. It’s a chance for purpose-driven businesses to attract brilliant talent and focus their efforts on better business practices. If this is something your business wants to achieve, then B Corp certification may well be worth the effort that comes with it.