At Manoverboard, We’re Proud to Be a B Corporation
You might think that Manoverboard, a company that puts the planet and people before profits would not be prone to a little boasting or bragging. You would be wrong. Along with the glow we get from creating far-reaching marketing strategies and designs for clients, we also get a thrill when, as a company, we reach a new milestone.
Well, that happened the other day. We were re-certified as a B Corporation.
Manoverboard first joined the ranks of B Corporations in 2013. We were probably in the mid-600s of global businesses that passed certification and were one of the first Canadian design firms to earn this distinction. We were also the first in the province of Manitoba.
The B Corp assessment evaluates five performance categories including the environment, workers, customers, community, and governance. Our initial certification process two years ago took nearly eight months and a lot of changes both internally and externally to the way we conduct our business. When all was said and done, we received a B Corp score of 86, making the eligibility list by 6 points. This year we received a score of 96, a very decent 10-point improvement.
How Did We Improve Our B Corporation Assessment Score by 10 points?
Since our initial certification, we made great strides in the areas of service delivery, community involvement, and governance. We focused on how to be more transparent and being better contributor to our community. We also worked on doing whatever we could to reduce our environmental footprint.
Most importantly, we fully repositioned our business to take on clients that sought positive social and environmental change. This included socially responsible businesses, educational institutions, and mission-driven nonprofits.
Next, we took seriously the language and spirit of a number of internal documents. We revamped our employee handbook and included some new benefits and additional clarification on our current policies. From a community standpoint, we increased our pro bono work with a particular focus on helping a Winnipeg-based nonprofit, Green Action Centre, with their branding and marketing strategies. We also began a banking relationship with a local credit union. On the environmental front, we tried composting (with not too much success - green mold!) and we switched to 100% green power through our energy provider, Bullfrog Power.
Why is Maintaining B Corp Certification Important?
We believe that B Lab, which is the governing nonprofit providing certification, is setting a powerful standard upon which all business relationships will be evaluated in the future. Consumers and businesses increasingly want assurance that their purchases and supply chains are not harming the planet or people. The B Corp certification provides an easy and noticeable way for anyone seeking goods or services with that assurance. It’s time to show the world that we all have the power to make a positive and beneficial impact on our planet. B Corp certification, despite being time-consuming and demanding, simplifies the public-facing demonstration of commitment to positive impact.
A (Real) Better Business Model
This new business focus has helped many companies grow and prosper without huge marketing or advertising budgets. In fact, we believe it’s important that B Corporations like us should not develop new marketing budgets simply because of their B Corp status. Instead, the goal is show a real commitment to the triple bottom line and do the best we can to demonstrate it. We probably won’t succeed all the time - but for us, “B the Change” means trying to walk the walk and talk the talk as often and as readily as possible.
We believe that companies now need to focus on people as well as the environment. They can no longer turn a blind eye to child labor or unsafe working conditions in their supply chains. They can no longer dump waste into rivers or keep lights on in buildings when there’s no one home. This movement has amplified the power of the wallet and the purchaser.
The B Corp framework provides a foundation to build sustainable value for all stakeholders.
Become a Proud B Corporation!
The purpose and commitment of purpose-based businesses resonate with consumers who have become evangelists for these brands. Tom’s Shoes and Chipotle Grill are two outstanding examples along with Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and Etsy. Ben & Jerry’s, now owned by a large multinational food company, continues to maintain its commitment to environmental sustainability and living wage policies. Their ice cream may be the most expensive in the grocery aisle (two litres on sale set me back $10 the other day), but the product and the purpose behind the company have engendered a large and loyal following.
So what are you waiting for? Join us in the B Corporation movement. Companies, show your clients, customers, and stakeholders that your business exists for much more than profits. Consumers, businesses, and organizations, let the power of your wallets lead to a better world for all. We hope you’ll look for a fellow B Corporation the next time you’re in the mood for marketing communications, sustainably manufactured paper, cleaning products, or chocolate ice cream with white & dark fudge chunks, pecans, walnuts & fudge covered almonds.
Follow-up: Our good friends at B Lab posted our story on the Facebook.