B Corp, here we come
B Corp is about a business becoming a force for good as well as profit-making and that’s been one of the guiding principles of Torchbox from day one. Our cornerstone value is “Make the World Better”, roughly 80% of our work is for non-profits (the other 20% is sponsorship of our open source work), we’ve always been a purpose led-organisation, powered by people for whom this really matters.
And yet, perhaps because of that mission, we felt we could skip the B Corp thing - no need to join another association, save a few quid in membership fees, you know how it goes. We should have known better, B Corp is a powerful movement, a force for good in business, and we ought to have lined up alongside years ago.
Frankly, B Lab (the organisation behind B Corp) hasn’t felt our absence too keenly, we’ve just submitted our application and such is the popularity of the B Corp movement we've been told it could take them twelve months to assess it (nice pipeline!). We’re pretty confident we’ll get through having scored 106.7 points in the assessment where the threshold for certification is 80. We’re strong in many areas of the B Impact Assessment and the fact that we are employee-owned counts for a lot, but we aren't counting our chickens.
The B Impact Assessment is a valuable process. It gives you a framework against which to evaluate and improve in Governance, Workers, Community, Environment and Customers. There are a bunch of goals we have set ourselves as a direct result of the B Impact Assessment. For example, we are relatively strong on Reducing the Impact of Travel/Commuting: we have a sustainable holiday travel policy, an unlimited Cycle to Work scheme, free electric car charger at our Oxfordshire office and we’re working on an incentivisation scheme for sustainable commuting, but we don’t have a Written company policy limiting corporate travel - one of the B Corp recommendations - so we’ve set ourselves a goal to create one. The framework opens your eyes to lots of things that you could and should be doing and helps you make a plan to improve.
Alongside the B Corp process, we are improving Torchbox’s impact on the environment, contribution to society, and making Torchbox an even better place to work. As an employee-owned company approaching financial freedom, it's an exciting time for us. Keep an eye on this space, we're looking forward to sharing more of our plans.
And, to the person in Torchbox who has kept banging the B Corp drum; thank you, you know who you are.