One Stone, creating ripples
How Fran Van Dijk, founding partner of One Stone Advisors, discovered that a small company can have a bigger impact by joining (and working with) the B Corp community
Tell us about One Stone Advisors
One Stone is a sustainability strategy and communications team that helps companies become successful sustainability leaders. For over a decade, we’ve helped clients identify and prioritise their most important impacts, align core business with sustainability and raise the bar on communications. We specialise in working with them on their Sustainable Development Goal opportunities.
What excites you most about the B Corp movement?
The power of positive thinking, the feeling that together we can make a real difference, being surrounded by excellence in all dimensions.
What was your journey to becoming certified as a B Corp?
I’ve always worked to use business as a force for good. In 2010 a colleague who I admire enormously told me he was heading to San Francisco to help design an assessment for an organisation called B Lab. It was the first time I’d heard of B Corp, was impressed by what I saw, and introduced the idea to our team at our retreat in 2011. It took me a year to persuade our partners because no-one in Europe was yet certified, and in 2013 we became the third B Corp in the UK and the first in Scotland.
What has changed in your organisation as a result of taking the B Impact Assessment?
We are much more organised about our policies and volunteering, think harder about our supply chain and most of all, consciously make sure our business model is as impactful as possible.
How have your employees responded to the certification?
Our associates in particularly are thrilled about our certification. And when I receive requests from potential interns, they always mention that our B Corp certification was a compelling reason to apply to us for work.
Can you tell us about the impact that your company is having in the world?
In helping companies become successful sustainability leaders our aim is to move the needle. Our impact has included inspiring a company to transition to Science Based Targets, running a B Corp Hackathon with B Lab UK on SDG 12, resulting in a successful kickstarter drive and product launch, and advising an impact investment fund on how to ensure their investments deliver on the SDGs.
What benefits have you seen since certification?
As a small company, for us the key benefit is being part of a like-minded and supercharged community.
How can we most effectively scale the movement?
A vibrant B Corp community will inspire others to join. I would like to help grow the values-led business community as a whole, encouraging everyone to think about the BIA as a useful impact measurement tool, with certification as the icing on the cake. It would be amazing to come to the point where B Corps can prove that their certification really helps them win new business. We’re not there yet, but when we are, people will be clamouring to join the movement!
What are the challenges that face the B Corp movement? How can we best overcome these?
We’re unevenly spread geographically, so it’s not always easy to get a buzz from the action going on elsewhere.
What is inspiring you at the moment?
Three days ago I met a fellow B Corp over Skype for the first time. This morning I met a second. This afternoon we’re submitting a proposal together. I mean. WOW.
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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