Last May, while enjoying the virtual New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility Annual Conference, I had a chance to hear Fiona Hill and Erin Allgood present information about the UNH B-Impact Clinic. In their Zoom presentation, the two described the purpose of the clinic, its connection to the B-Corp certification process and encouraged NHBSR members to consider applying to become a B-Impact company partner. By the end of their talk, I knew I’d be sending in my application for the chance to join their ranks and begin our agency’s journey towards B-Corp certification.
To become a B-Corporation, one must first achieve a minimum of 80 out of 200 points on the B-Impact Assessment (BIA), an extremely rigorous questionnaire comprised of five subject categories: Environment, Governance, Workers, Community and Customers. The goal of the BIA is to examine a company’s commitment to balancing profit and purpose in each of the five areas. It’s deliberately labor intensive and requires very specific answers, copious documentation and creative problem solving throughout.
Suffice it to say, completing the assessment is not for the faint of heart! I found myself getting “stuck” on more than one occasion, and had it not been for the encouragement and expert advice of my student advisors, I wouldn’t have found my way through!
By now, you may be wondering why am I so determined for our media planning and buying agency to become a B-Corporation? Why would I take on this daunting challenge, spend so much time and energy, and open up my company to such scrutiny?
The simple answer is that it’s the right thing to do.
In addition, here are four more reasons why I’ve chosen to invest my company’s resources in this arena:
- To be a better corporate citizen and a more compassionate company leader, I realized that I needed to make changes to our agency policies and benefits. The B-Impact Assessment offers a clear step-by-step guide to help me along the way.
- The huge groundswell around social justice issues, including diversity and equal opportunities for women and people of color in the workplace should not be ignored. As we grow and hire new employees here at RMG, I want to take the necessary steps to prioritize these issues.
- Since I began to study beekeeping, I’ve gained a greater understanding of how connected we all are to each other and to the sustainability of our planet’s natural resources. Respect for the earth doesn’t just stop at home. I want to bring this awareness into our workplace, as well.
- Finally, becoming a B-Corporation hands RMG the key to a community of like-minded, purpose-driven organizations. It’s a way to differentiate ourselves from other advertising agencies and to follow a more meaningful and intentional path for future professional growth.
“Businesses can not only be less of a problem, but can be a driver of solutions.”
– Dr. Fiona Wilson, Director of UNH’s Sustainability Institute
Flash forward and we’ve come to the end of the Fall 2020 semester. At the B-Impact Clinic’s Fall Showcase on December 9th, my students and I shared our progress with the rest of this year’s participants and past alumni. I’ve enjoyed working with my four talented and engaging UNH students who’ve brought such extraordinary energy and knowledge to help jettison RMG toward certification. Along the way, I’ve done my best to share snippets of my entrepreneurial story with them and in return they’ve walked me through the assessment process, step by step. I’ve learned that a few of my students aspire to run their own consulting businesses one day and it’s an incredible honor to be a role model to them.
Together, we’ve gone from an initial 44 points on our B-Impact Assessment to 69.3 points through a great deal of hard work! With only about 11 points to go towards meeting the 80 point benchmark, we’re closer than I could have ever imagined when we first started out.
I highly recommend company leaders consider joining the UNH B-Impact Clinic to pursue their B-Corporation certification. You’ll get much-needed support navigating all the myriad requirements while enjoying a unique and rewarding opportunity to work with a dynamic group of young people along the way. B-Corporation certification ultimately supports the health of our planet, as well as benefiting businesses and the people who work for and purchase products and services from them! The 3,500 B-Corporations around the world today are a reminder that all of us are inextricably linked and that our collective health and wellbeing are dependent upon one another!
Feel free to email me to learn more about RMG’s experience so far with the B-Impact Assessment and the UNH B-Impact Clinic. Ultimately whether you choose to go all the way to B-Corp status or start by adopting a few of its important tenets, you’ll be making important corporate choices that will benefit your company and the world.