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John Quinton-Barber, founder and CEO of Social, considers that while B Corps are duty-bound to demonstrate how they go the extra mile, all businesses can take small steps to increase their impact – and they can start today.

This has been the first B Corp month since we achieved certification last summer. There’s been some fantastic work to raise awareness and promote the B Corp movement. I’ve seen plenty of displays in shops, coverage in the media and events across the UK. I was delighted to welcome other Manchester B Corps to our head office as part of B Corp month’s activities.

Securing B Corp Certification is tough. Our team responded to over 200 questions, and transformed the way we worked in some areas. Examples included formalising engagement with our colleagues, learning more about the ownership and practices of our suppliers and introducing volunteering leave for our team. It’s a rigorous and demanding framework that requires participants to review every aspect of their operations.

But at its heart, B Corp is a movement designed to harness the power of business as a force for good across the globe. It’s about business leaders recognising our impact beyond our organisation, critically reviewing how we conduct business and what we do with our profits. It means putting purpose at the heart of our business. And you don’t need to wait for B Corp certification to make a start on that.

The B Corp Impact Assessment tool (BIA) is free to use and a fantastic starting point for any business wanting to measure its impact systematically, to understand what it’s doing well and where it needs to improve.

The two main areas that focus on people are Workers and Customers. They take a wide ranging view, considering career development, health, wellness and safety and engagement and satisfaction for the former. Customers considers the formalised feedback mechanisms and the systematic monitoring of customer complaints.

Community also looks at a company’s engagement with the places and people where it operates, including civic and community organisations; charitable giving and volunteering. This section also includes the ‘community’ of the business such as supply chain partners and its approach to equality, diversity and inclusion.

Environment covers environmental management and monitoring systems, recycling policies and the usage and monitoring of water, energy and waste. This is an area where we will be working hard to improve what we do.

B Corp is restricted to for-profit organisations. Governance looks at a business’ ethics and the transparency of its financial information, as well as whistleblowing policies. It requires organisations to lock-in their commitment to people and planet into their articles of incorporation. It’s the latter point that makes B Corp a uniquely demanding certification.

Certification is a journey that needs strong leadership along with the support of everyone in the business. Our Head of Operations shared his thoughts on the process earlier this year, reminding me of how far we have come – and how much more there is to do.

The Chinese proverb says, ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’. That has never been more pertinent than in the week in which scientists issued a final warning to take action on climate change.

So, what are you waiting for? B Corp has provided us with the tools. We all need to use them – and fast.