Life as a BCorp

B Great or B Better?

There is lots of controversy in BCorp world at the moment which begs the question – what is the point of BCorp?

Is it an exclusive club for businesses that demonstrate impeccable environmental, social and governance credentials? Or is it a welcoming movement that encourages normal businesses to do things better?

This dilemma is at the heart of the noisy debates and demonstrations afflicting a number of businesses, in particular Havas since their appointment to the Shell media buying account. Is this an irreconcilable breach of BCorp principles, or a misstep by a business that does a lot of good work?

The Nursery’s journey to be BCorp won’t be typical, but it might be instructive. We became Employee Owned in November 2020 and one of the important roles we put in place post-ownership change was that of Partner Representative – an elected employee collates feedback and suggestions from partners (employees) and attends board meetings,  to ensure the voice of the employees is heard loud and clear at senior management level.

Amongst an array of recommendations – flavoured squashes for all, a new meeting room booking system, our new best-in-class family policy, was a suggestion that we explore BCorp certification. The board looked into it, and agreed this was not only something we could do, but something that fits with the values that have been central to the business since we started more than 20 years ago.

So we audited and reviewed our processes against all of the BCorp criteria and 6 months later were proudly and successfully BCorp certified.

BCorp certification relies on an array of good business practices, to reflect the overall BCorp objectives:

  • That we must be the change we seek in the world.
  • That all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered.
  • That, through their products, practices, and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all.
  • To do so requires that we act with the understanding that we are each dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations.

It is about being a decent business that cares for people, planet and profit. But above all it is about creating an environment where our people can flourish and do good work. Not everything we do is perfect. We have bills to pay, employees to manage and clients to look after.

BCorp status gives us a framework to assess, manage and improve. And in an imperfect world, trying to be better every day feels like a decent goal.