Keeping good company
Narda Shirley, founder and MD at Gong Communications shares the unexpected benefits of B Corp certification
Our motivation to become a B Corp was primarily rooted in the need to attract great people. We reasoned that certifying would be a powerful third-party endorsement that Gong is a ‘good’ company to work in, and for a while at least, a useful differentiator until all of the other communications companies in the world certify (which you should hurry up and do, by the way if you are reading this).
But two years in, by far the biggest impact on Gong has been the company we keep. And by that, I mean the impact on who we do business with. Part of our journey to becoming a B Corp was to scrutinise our supply chain to make better choices about what we buy and where we source it from.
There are some pretty obvious ways to make sure that you are using your purchasing power wisely as a business. As a service provider, a few of ours are recycled and FSC paper, renewable energy, Fairtrade coffee and carpet tiles (we specified Interface who make theirs carbon neutral from recycled plastic).
But the B Impact Assessment makes you think beyond the obvious environmental and societal credentials of products and services to the ownership and values of companies. Before the B Corp prompt, we had not actively researched the values and diversity balance of company founders, but now we think about it every time we source a new supplier.
During B Corp month in February, we sought out products from other B Corps, consciously choosing Divine chocolate to power us through our 3 o’clock productivity slumps, Pukka cuppas and Toast Ale for beer o’clock (and Innocent smoothies to ensure we get our greens). We have even found inspiration for expert panellists among the ranks of fellow B Corps when programming events. Tribe Impact Capital’s inspiring female founder is speaking at our ESG event this month and we are constantly pointing conference producers at other B Corp CEOs and founders. For a relatively young movement, the global reach of B Corps is also surprisingly relevant and useful. Our team in Nairobi met a great crowd of people at a B Corp event in East Africa recently.
We’ve even opted to work with a B Corp for our most crucial business continuity service –Fluid IT. Knowing that we share values and a common approach to the role of business as a force for good will make it easier to navigate any bumps in the road with such a crucial new supplier. It hasn’t all been one-way either. Having B Corp in common helped us connect with clients InspiraFarms and Resource Futures, two amazing companies leaving the world in better shape than they find it every day in terms of food loss and waste and resources consulting expertise.
So while we wear our B Corp badge with pride as an employer, we are seeing the biggest change in the company we keep in our supply chain. Having spent lots of time thinking about the integrity of B2B supply chains for clients, it feels good to do something proactive about our own by doing business with people who share our values and priorities. That isn’t by any means the sole preserve of B Corps who choose to work together of course, but it is a happy outcome regardless to find ourselves in such good company.
Have you seen the new B Corp video? Click here to watch it now and take the next steps to reinventing business.
A first step for businesses interested in measuring their social and environmental impact is by using the free B Impact Assessment tool. Any company wishing to certify as a B Corp has its performance assessed by B Lab across all dimensions of its business. These companies are on a journey of continuous improvement to ensure business leverages its power to be a positive force in the world.
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