Yes! We’ve done it; we’ve become the first UK translation company to achieve B Corp accreditation and join the 5,000 strong B Corp business community. We’re extremely proud to be delivering the high professional standards that this certification rewards and to become part of such a ground-breaking group of like-minded, forward-thinking companies.
What’s B Corp and why does it matter?
For the uninitiated, B Corp is a global movement of businesses that are a force for good. To achieve B Corp status, you must prove that as a business, you are continuously meeting very high standards for positive social and environmental impact. There are legal commitments to be made and a willingness to show transparency is essential.
Back in March we wrote about how we’d started our journey towards accreditation. We knew it would be a tough ride, but also that it would be well worth putting in the effort to achieve such an important and relevant accolade. Sounds scary, but actually, it was the rigorous nature of B Corp’s application process that really gave us the impetus to go for it – nothing that comes too easy is really worth having, right?
We had a hunch that we were already operating in a B Corp-friendly manner, as our company ethos is built around doing business in the right way – focusing on transparent relationships with our clients and our linguists, giving back to the community – in particular to young people, looking after the professional development of our employees, and working towards a more sustainable environment. But still, we realised we’d have to work hard to meet B Corp’s stringent and on-going requirements.
Putting a solid structure in place
We always endeavour to make a positive impact, so to be encouraged, under the application process, to put a structure to the things we do naturally, made perfect sense. It would make our work more measurable and ultimately make us more accountable to always coming up to the mark!
And in pulling together our application we uncovered four key areas that we could grow and improve:
- The experience of our employees
- How we manage our external partners
- Our relationships with our clients
- How we integrate and contribute to our community
A big wow moment came when we realised that our ingrained company values, based around contribution and care, meant that we weren’t about to undergo a huge culture shock! We were already walking the walk. B Corp gave us a framework to enhance our behaviours and formalise our output. So, in keeping with our ‘work together towards a common good’ philosophy, we formed a core team, supported by external consultant Danielle Thompson, to work on building a robust application. Each member chose an area to focus on, based on individual preference and experience, resulting in everyone being massively engaged and on board from the get-go.
Going for the gold standard
Even though we were already doing much of what was required to meet B Corp’s expectations, we identified a number of key areas to further improve to really make the grade. We’ve expanded on a few here:
Work experience programme: we’ve always paid special attention to how we can help young people understand the world of work and have supported work experience placements for many years. However, going for B Corp status led us to refine our process and open our offering to university students as well as our usual GCSE and A Level intake. And we’ve formalised our work experience objectives and KPIs so the tasks we set can be evaluated and students can achieve something tangible. We’re also collecting feedback so that we can keep improving our offering.
Internship programme: we’ve given this area a bit of a shake up. Foreign students are now back in the programme – following the series of COVID lockdowns worldwide; and we’ve partnered with Bunac, which allows us to become sponsors for our interns and eases the visa application issues that exist post-Brexit. We’ve also reviewed our induction and training programme for our interns to deliver the best opportunity for them to gain a deep knowledge of our industry.
Charity commitments: pre-Covid we did a lot of work with a charity local to us, Helping Hands, who work to give people the support and opportunities needed to feel better about themselves, be more active in the community and get back into work. Now that we can, we’re reconnecting with them and will be involved in their Soup Kitchen Takeover, where our team don their chefs’ aprons to cook and serve meals to homeless people within the community. Alongside this, we’re supporting the Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre by giving them help with their interpretation costs and sharing our expertise in this field.
In addition, if any of our employees are taking part in their own charitable endeavours, we will provide sponsorship – and lots of encouragement too!
Environmental awareness: as a service provider, rather than a producer, and without autonomy over our rented office space, we needed to really dig deep to see how we could ramp up our efforts in the environmentally friendly field. We had to look at this on a small scale. So, we audited the products we use on a day-to-day basis and replaced them with eco-friendly, recycled and refillable items; and we became paper police – only printing things (on unbleached, recycled stock) if absolutely necessary. We’ve changed the branded materials we give as corporate gifts to greener alternatives like seeds, tote bags and reusable coffee cups. And by conducting quarterly audits of our commutes, and utility consumption we are aiming to offset our collective carbon footprint by planting trees or making space for wild gardens. We discovered that there is always something you can do to become a better guardian of the planet – lots of little can add up to a lot!
Raising standards for good
Owing to our company-wide, can-do attitude, the mindset to achieve B Corp recognition was very much in the room and it turned out to be a pretty straightforward, albeit labour-intensive, process. However, the level of work needed to gain this accreditation shouldn’t be underestimated and we’re rightly proud of our achievement!
B Corp certification shows we operate holistically and responsibly with a view to making the world a better place for all. But it’s not just a certificate to decorate an office wall; B Corp will hold us to account, with re-accreditation occurring every three years, so we’ll be kept on our toes to always demonstrate socially and environmentally responsible activity.
In fact, next up for us on our B Corp journey is to ensure we keep delivering as a B Corp business and continue to the next level to achieve “business for good.” With this in mind, our established working groups meet quarterly to review and put plans in place for the coming months.
What B Corp certification means to us
We’ve always been a company that operates with integrity, so we’re not just attaching ourselves to the latest trend. However, it does make good business sense to be officially aligned with the B Corp message as there is a growing movement for the corporate world to operate in a more holistic, people and planet-centred way, and that’s what B Corp’s vision is all about.
Created in 2006 to inspire business towards creating an inclusive, equitable and regenerative economy, B Corp-certified companies now range from huge multinationals to sole traders and most for-profit organisations can apply for certification.
We’re delighted to be part of this inspiring network of brilliant companies jointly pushing towards a better future and a more sustainable economy. As a collective, we’re making tangible changes on a local and global scale.
And it feels great!
Got B Corp curious?
If we’ve whetted your appetite for the B Corp movement and you’d like to know more about how to apply for accreditation, you’ll find all the information you need at B Corp’s website. Additionally, now that we’ve been through the process (and it really is quite a beast!) we’d be happy to chat and offer you our learnings and advice on how to put a successful application together.
We love sharing our knowledge and expertise on this, and many other language, culture, translation, and localisation-related subjects. Please do get in touch, our friendly team is always very happy to help.
Call us on +44 (0) 1926 335 681 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.