At face value, becoming a Certified B Corporation (or B Corp) means meeting a set of independent standards. In practice, it often means exceeding them and raising the bar for businesses everywhere. We look to B Corps for inspiration: their leadership in times of crisis, their innovation in a world of challenges, and their willingness to work together when competition drives us apart.
Over the years, B Corps have invested time and energy into improving their own business practices. Rather than keeping their newfound knowledge to themselves, they’ve shared it to encourage other businesses to do the same. These are some of the ways B Corps have opened up their resources to drive change for the better.
Code for Australia open sources its policies
During their journey to B Corp Certification, Code for Australia realised that much of the ‘goodness’ they were proud of had never been documented, formalised or ‘codified.’ That documentation of policies and processes is an important part of achieving the certification, and the team at Code for Australia were determined to bring it to life.
They excelled in their impact for customers and communities, so their improvement focus was in the environment, workers and governance areas. And so began an extensive process of policy and process documentation. “It let us take stock of many of our practices as an organisation, how we could improve them, and how to go about doing that,” Esther Semo, Head of Community and Communications, reflected.
Once they were done, they didn’t just submit their assessment. They shared it with the world hoping that it would help other businesses do the same. “Sharing our learnings is a key part of what we do at Code for Australia, and in the true spirit of keeping things open, we decided to share our journey to becoming a B Corp as well as the outcomes of that journey, so that others could learn from our experiences,” Esther remarked.
Here are Code for Australia's policies and documents you can adapt for your business:
Leave Policy, including more flexible definitions of family for Carer’s and Bereavement Leave, codified Community Service Leave and Birthday Leave (yes, that’s officially a thing)
A process for new team members to let them know what days they want to celebrate, or what days they celebrate that are different to Australian public holidays
They made all events vegetarian to make them more welcoming and to have a lower impact on the environment.
They introduced Net Promoter Scoring across all program as a baseline metric to understand customer satisfaction, and started building in-depth evaluation and improvement processes
As the cherry on top of this transparency sundae, Code for Australia has been sharing blogs about the policy creation process over the past few months. Check out the series here.
Intrepid Travel is using its voice for change
Since becoming carbon neutral in 2010, the adventure tour operator Intrepid has been on a journey to measure and reduce its carbon footprint. It sounds like no easy feat for a travel company - and it isn’t. But that hasn’t stopped them from offsetting over 310,000 tonnes of carbon emissions, pursuing Climate Active status, declaring a Climate Emergency, and committing to becoming climate positive. Setting science-based reduction targets and transitioning to 100% renewables by 2030 are just two pieces of the ambitious project
Intrepid has been known to share everything from its Reconciliation Action Plan to its animal welfare policies publicly so travellers can hold them accountable. Now it’s calling on the travel industry to use the pandemic to stop, reflect and ‘rebuild better’ with its 10-step guide to decarbonising your travel business.
“We fundamentally believe that the tourism industry can rebound even stronger than it was before, but only if it rebuilds more responsibly. And the best way to act on climate change is for individuals, businesses and governments to work together to reduce our collective carbon emissions,” James Thornton, Intrepid’s CEO, wrote. The guide hopes to serve as “an easy-to-follow action plan for other tourism businesses to get started on their journey, and to encourage our industry to rebuild more sustainably.”
The guide has plenty of takeaways for those outside the travel industry, so head to their blog to see how to apply it to your own organisation.
Beyond Bank took notes from B Corp leaders
As a customer-owned bank, Beyond Bank Australia does banking a little differently. Their customers come first, which puts serving the community at the core of what they do.
Back in 2015, the team took the leap to formalise their values by becoming the first B Corp bank in Australia. When it came time for recertifying as a B Corp in 2018, the question was not ‘how do we keep our certification?’; instead, it was ‘how can we raise the bar for ourselves and other businesses?’.
The team set off on an around-the-world study tour, meeting with leaders from B Corps like Danone, Ben & Jerry’s and Patagonia along the way. These purpose and values-led legends guided Beyond Bank’s strategy-making, and helped them become a leader in the Australia and New Zealand B Corp community. Learn more about lessons from Beyond Bank on the B the Change blog.