Certifying as a B Corp in 2019, and becoming the first ecological consultancy in Europe to do so, meant the world to Wildwood. It is something of which we are exceptionally proud. But why the big deal? What does it mean and why were we so keen to be a part of this global movement?
What are B Corporations?
Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. We believe that profit should not be the sole driving force behind our business. We have the power to use business to create a healthier environment, stronger communities, equal opportunities and better working relationships.
The movement’s philosophy aligns with our own vision and values, and by certifying, we have a means to effectively score our progress. As a Certified B Corp, we are rigorously assessed on how we are delivering on our social and environmental performance. As such, all B Corps need to recertify every three years. In the two years between certification, all B Corps must write an annual impact report on their progress to create positive impact. This report is, in part, fulfilment of that commitment.
Our baseline score
As a relatively new B Corp, we had our initial baseline impact assessment completed in early 2019. We were immensely pleased to have recorded a score of 80.6 out of 200. The median score for non-B Corp businesses is 50.9. As the minimum impact score for certification is set at 80.0, we clearly just about scraped in. But that’s not uncommon as a first score. It provides us with a great baseline to improve upon, and one we will relish in doing so.
Our progress since certification
Since certification we have made a number of changes and shifted the dial a little in some of the core areas (see Table below). One area we have made significant efforts to improve was for our customers.
We recognise that our latest score is unverified (verification is scheduled for June 2022), but we are confident that significant progress has been made through some of the following changes:
- We treat our social and environmental impact as a primary measure of success for our business and prioritize it even in cases where it may not drive profitability.
- Our vision, values and objectives include a commitment to a specific positive social impact (sustainable economic development) and a specific environmental impact (restore biodiversity loss and climate change)
- Changes to job descriptions and performance reviews that include training in and advocacy for social and environmental change.
- Volunteer days for employees each month.
- As a certified Living Wage employer, we pay a real living wage. Our lowest paid employees therefore earn above the national living wage in the UK.
- All employees receive an annual bonus, based on company performance.
- All employees have access to formal skills based training.
- All employees have access to external professional development training.
- All employees enjoy a minimum of 25 paid annual leave.
- 1% of company profits are donated to charitable causes each year, as well as other resources including equipment and labour.
- Over 50% of senior staff are women.
- We create new jobs each year.
- We use local suppliers.
- We have changed our bank account, from global bank, HSBC, to purpose-led banking provided by The Co-operative.
- We provide services that seek and contribute towards halting biodiversity loss and halt the negative impacts of climate change.
- We promote discussion of environmental issues.
- At our Cirencester premises, we have influenced our landlord to seek a greener energy supplier.
- We use technology that reduces the impact on the environment. We re-use technology and purchase fairtrade equipment.
- We recycle waste in all offices.
- Our services have a positive impact on our customers.
- We manage the data provided by our customers sensitively and comply with GDPR.
- We are verified to meet third-party standards for impact (Registered Ecological Practice).
- We address a social or environmental impact for our customers.
The great thing about the three year assessment is that we have a clear timeline upon which to plan our objectives. We have committed to achieving Carbon Net Zero by 2030 and plans are already in place to:
- Replace our existing vehicles to an electric fleet. Given the amount of time our team spend on the road visiting sites, this is a significant priority for us. Watch this space!
- We recognise that we need to reduce our carbon footprint whilst delivering our services. With our aim to ensure that each service is carbon net zero, we are now embarking on the process of monitoring and evaluation.
- We want to work with like-minded individuals and organisations who share our vision and values. We believe we can achieve great things if we work together, so forging new partnerships is something we are actively pursuing. If you’re interested in having a conversation, do get in touch!
In great company
We are just one of more than 3000 companies in the UK certified as B Corporations, across 150 industries. Big names include Abel & Cole, Cook, Ella’s Kitchen, Patagonia, TOMS to name just a few. It’s a simple philosophy – we share the same vision, we share the same goals and we’re prepared to work together as a force for good. Interested to find out more?
Richard Dodd, Managing Director