Why did Yoyo become a B Corporation, and what does it mean?
Our simple goal as an agency is to create experiences that have impact in the world. And we judge everything that we do through this lens, both in terms of what we deliver for our clients, but also the experiences we create for everyone that touches the company.
To deliver upon our goal, we run the business on four pillars. Innovation and Sustainability are two of these and although these have always been core to Yoyo, we have deepened our focus on these over the last 12 months.
Innovation to us means looking at things in novel and useful ways. Questioning all aspects and using tools, techniques, curiosity and experience to reimagine and make improvements.
We spend our time helping our clients to unlock creativity and innovation in their organisations. But over the last 12 months, we have applied some of that thinking to our own business. Reflecting and seeking answers to the question of what business means in the 21st Century and what the future holds.
This soul searching and reflection led us to theories such as the Triple Bottom Line, conscious capitalism, Green Giants and to the B Corporation community itself. Although it started over a decade ago, this global community has really picked up momentum in the last few years.
At its heart is a group of businesses and leaders that believe in balancing purpose, people, and the planet, with profit. These are profit-making, and profit-seeking organisations. These aren’t charities, social enterprises, or companies producing green energy (although they could be). These are companies that strive to create value to all stakeholders, rather than simply to financially benefit a few shareholders. Stakeholders in this context is every single employee, customer, supplier, as well as the local community and the environment itself.
Given that their motivations are to drive transformational change across the world, the community is very open. There is a lot of material available and the assessment itself is free of charge; anyone is able to audit their own organisation, and get a score.
If you want to take it further, to become certified, a full review of your business is conducted. This is an in-depth, time consuming process over a number of months. Given that ‘sustainability’ is one of the hot trends of 2020, this is crucial. This isn’t for those looking at a quick win, a shortcut to improving their brand perception. This is for those who are truly looking to transform their organisations, and rethink every aspect of the operation.
One of the key aspects of becoming a B Corporation is changing the company’s Articles of Association held by Companies House. The benefit of this is two-fold. Firstly it shows the depth of the commitment. We are now legally obliged to make decisions based on the Triple Bottom Line, considering the effects that it has on people, on the planet, and on the profitability. The second benefit is that if the business is ever sold, culture, processes, and attitudes can be changed, but it is much more difficult if this is baked into the corporate governance of an organisation.
The audit is split into five areas.
Assessing how the company governs itself, through practises and policies, as well as the overall mission, culture, principles, and values. It also places considerable value on accountability and transparency across the organisation.
Assessing how the company contributes to the employees’ financial, physical, professional, and social well-being – the opportunities provided, the support structure, and their engagement.
Assessing how the company benefits the local community, through economic growth and development, civic engagement, and general social well-being
Assessing how the company looks after its environment, tracks its carbon footprint, and seeks to make ongoing improvements.
Assessing how the company provides real, tangible value to their customers.
There are over 200 questions on all aspects of the business, and then further scrutiny around our supply chain, allowing us to reflect on who we work with and whether we share similar values. There is a focus on locality – local job growth and local suppliers. The concept ‘Think Global, Act Local’ helped to frame our thinking. We take inspiration from across the world, and many of our clients operate globally, however, where possible, we act to benefit our local community.
To capture a few of our thoughts we developed Yoyo's approach to Sustainability.
It’s definitely exciting to be part of a group of innovative companies that are working together to change the role business plays in society. And the global press is taking notice. B Lab was honoured by Fast Company as the World’s most innovative company of 2020.
Coronavirus has unsettled the status quo for us all. My prediction for the future is that the pandemic will help to speed up the trend for more sustainable businesses exponentially. All companies won’t become B Corporations, but those that don’t consider the impact of their decisions on people and the environment will become obsolete. Employees and customers will simply demand it.
If you’re interested in knowing more about our journey or the process, it's one of my favourite topics, so just send me an email.
And if you are a B Corp, introduce yourself, we’d love to compare notes.