Working towards B Corp – making CIVIC a force for good
“Our most challenging problems cannot be solved by governments and nonprofits alone. By harnessing the power of business, B Corps commit to positively impact all stakeholders – workers, communities, customers, and our planet”. - https://bcorporation.uk/b-corp-certification/what-is-a-b-corp/
It's statements like this that resonated with the people in CIVIC and it's the reason we've started to work towards B Corp and widen what we consider when we make decisions.
One of the reasons it resonated with us was that the people involved strived to make the decision they saw as correct, even when it wasn't the easiest option. I'll summarise our experience and thoughts as we work through this process towards an organisation that always considers the broader impacts.
Understanding the ground
A journey of a thousand miles starts under one's feet. DDJ chapter, 64
As we've grown and more people have joined, our impact on the life of our people within and the wider world has become more tangible. This awareness began a cascade of discussions that showed that collectively we intended to positively impact the world or at least not increase the suffering.
Although a small organisation, we're diverse in thought and background, which means that our perspectives can be mixed; even with this, we've found large areas of agreement.
The initial assessment process
Working through the assessment tool helped to see that much of what we were doing was in line with the standard. In other areas, we need to make a change and decide the degree and speed at which we can introduce changes to the organisation.
During this time, we also surveyed the staff to get their feelings on things and to begin conversations on the output of the information. During this period, we also began to work with an external HR specialist.
The end of this initial process was/is much like looking at a more detailed map than the one we navigated with before, and with this new level of resolution, there'll be inevitably change.
Pausing to think
It's natural when considering the information gathered during this initial phase to pause and gain an understanding of the ground beneath our collective feet. It's from this point that we can plan the way forward and correctly ask the questions we need to answer to define that direction.
One of the problems that can be found in standards and any formalised process is that it can’t account for all the different possibilities - by its nature, it provides a single framework. This view often excludes things that may address these issues, which are already in place.
In the beginning, I mentioned that “we're diverse in thought and background”, although how diversity is expressed and measured very much depends on the criteria used to make that measurement. In specific environmental contexts, other factors may be a more relevant indicator of diversity or breadth of experience.
The next step
We began this with the image of understanding the ground that we're currently standing on, so what's our next step?
Our next step is to discuss who develops and answers the questions that have been brought up through the process so far. For example, do we want our staff to contribute to things that are important to them and support this, and how do we facilitate this and support them?
We'll regularly provide updates on our progress and, in later blogs, we’ll look at the different issues/decisions we will have to make.