Our own B Corp journey

It took us a while before realizing we’ve embarked on an inspiring and new mission. Many of our people were already interested in sustainable development. And ‘looking further’ is in our company’s DNA. A lot of the basics were already in place. Malou Bok, sustainability & change expert: “In 2019, I learned about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals at a non-profit leadership program in Nepal. When I came back, other coworkers were also interested in those goals. We said to each other: what if our work also contributes to those goals? Wouldn’t that be the ultimate goal for our company?” It’s 2019 when we organise an inspirational event for our clients. The theme is: ‘making an impact’. One of the key notes is Leen Zevenbergen, a true veteran when it comes to sustainability and innovation. His speech not only inspires our clients, but also ourselves. At the beginning of 2020, the partners (the owners of the company) set themselves a Big Hairy Audacious Goal: by 2024, we want all our projects to contribute to UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The full 100%. That was the official start of our sustainable mission.

This sustainable mission did ask for some fundamental changes in our company. Our own transformation expertise came in handy. Our philosophy is that change comes from the ‘head’ and the ‘heart’ and it’s the interplay that makes change a lasting success (see the figure below). It only made sense to follow the same steps we always take in our clients’ assignments. Many of our people already took an interest in sustainability, but now it was time to really deep-dive into this subject. We expanded our expertise with the latest insights on sustainability, sustainable business models and systemic change from renowned universities such as Harvard, London Business School, and INSEAD. When you want to make a positive impact, you need to look at the ecosystem you operate in. We expanded our own ecosystem by liaising with several sustainability experts as our mentors. We started partnerships, such as our cooperation with the CO2-reduction experts of Climate Neutral Group. The icing on the cake was in the summer of 2020, when Leen Zevenbergen joined us as a partner. Roel Beentjes, managing director: “When Leen stepped into our offices, he asked us if we wanted to become a B Corp rightaway. As co-founder of B Lab Europe, the organization behind B Corp and B Corp certification, he knew how valuable this would be.”

In the fall of 2020 we started the B Impact Assessment. Where are we now? What should we change and implement in order to become a B Corp? The assessment proves to be really valuable in making our own organization more sustainable. The holistic approach of the B Corp certification focuses on governance, workers, community, environment, and customers. From that assessment we could make many adjustments in our company. Ranging between changes in our company statutes to electrifying our fleet of company cars, from appointing a confidential counselor to the way we approach our projects. There’s a lot of work to be done. But the B Impact Assessment helps us to guide the way and set priorities. In the meantime, we want to take everyone in our company on board of our this mission. It means talking a lot about sustainability at our so-called kitchen table and in our virtual meetings. What is sustainable? And what not? How can we make the most impact? And: what companies do we want to help? Do we want to help the big polluters change the system? Or do we want to stay away from them? What all agree on: we want to make a real and positive impact and say NO to greenwashing.

Marine Clément

As a consultancy, our biggest impact is through our clients: by helping them make a positive impact. We inspire them with our book about Systemic Change and a series of online round table discussions, called Xpedition to the Source. And of course, we have a positive impact through our projects. We bring two boards of companies at the table for an open ‘business dialogue’ about their common challenges in sustainability and innovation. Also, we perform those sustainability assessments at other companies to measure and understand where a company is in it’s sustainable journey. And, of course, we do what we’ve always been doing: guiding future-proof transformation programs.

In november 2021, we reach our very important milestone in our sustainability journey: we’re officially a certified B Corp. We’re now part of a worldwide community of thousands of B Corps, such as Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, Coursera, Triodos Bank, Auping, MUD Jeans, Fairphone, Dopper, Ace & Tate, and many others. On top of that, we’re also a certified B Corp Way partner, It’s a select group of consultancies that help large organizations in their transformation towards a more sustainable business model. In 2021, 28% of our projects has had a measurable positive impact. Our ambition remains: 100% in 2024. So, we’re not at the end of our journey yet. If we ever reach our destination, that is. Because we believe we can do better. Our journey continues. Nevertheless, we may remind ourselves of what we have achieved so for and celebrate our successes. Chin-chin!

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"I want to make positive impact through my client projects."