Joining the B Corp month initiative to promote how we are “reinventing business” sparked an interesting team conversation about how and when we started this journey of using business as a force for good. How has the B Corp community supported us in this journey towards a greater positive impact on our Planet and our Society? Here is how our B corp story started.
Aim high but don’t forget to take first steps first
Keen Bull was founded in September 2015 by Tiziano, Sara, and Fabio in Ticino (Switzerland) with the purpose to include seamlessly the social innovation into the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Their ambition for this new Industrial Revolution was to overcome the shortcomings of the 3 previous one (depleting our planet’s natural resources, polluting our ecosystems, poor working conditions, etc…). How? By using Human-centered design as a tool towards a healthier balance between technological progress and social innovation.
“We wanted to build a purpose-driven organization and we had great ambitions, we wanted to “change the world”, “have an impact”. We questioned ourselves around the very notion of what was value creation, what “profit” was meant for, what kind of impact we wanted to have, how to measure this impact”. Tiziano, one of the co-founder remembers. “And these questions led us at some point in our research to the B Corp community and its tool: the B Impact Assessment. This brought us a tangible way to have an impact and measure our improvements step by step”. We have just found out the way to take our first step towards the mountain of “impact enterprises”. “We downgraded the “big ambitions” for handling smaller achievements; our impact should start with our daily life, our tiny commitment, our job and the ways we impact on the people closest to us. B Corp Certification reminded us that: look at yourself first“.
From a phone call to the European B Corp summit
“I sent an email to the Swiss antenna of B Lab, the NGO powering the community. I asked how to become a B Corp and join this movement of entrepreneurs using business as a force for good. A day after I received a phone call and started a very interesting discussion with Jonathan Normand” (the Director of B Lab Switzerland). This tells you something about the B Corp spirit. You’re not applying for a new certification to put on your company’s hall of fame. You are rather going through a process to join a community of like-minded people who want to discover how you are doing business differently and if you are serious about the change you seek in the system.
So after a good dive in the Impact Assessment tool (aka the BIA for insiders), we decided to join the European B Corp summit in Roma to have a clearer understanding of what it means to be a B Corp by actually meeting some B Corps from all around Europe. This team experience confirmed us we were on the right track and we needed to keep our efforts to reach the next mountain: the B Corp Certification.
From pending to certified
Back from Rome, we used the 8 months before being able to certify to challenge ourselves with the questions from the Impact Assessment. These questions helped us frame the way we operate our business and the type of impact we wanted to create with our activities.
We used the Benefit Impact Assessment as a tool to create the list of positive practices we wanted to implement towards the environment, our employees and the community. The “governance” section helped us framed our mission statement and our vision of our relationship to shareholders.
The 5 sections and their sub-sections of the Benefit Impact Assessment
We finally submitted our questionnaire as soon as we have a full year of operations and were certified in May 2017. Our team gathered to celebrate our certification in the 2017 European B Corp summit in Lisbon.
What’s the next mountain to climb?
Being a B Corp is a constant journey towards a greater positive impact. To achieve it, we have found that building a growing network of partners is a way to scale faster our impact. This is what spurs us to support Best For Geneva initiative.
Our impact is also closely related to having an engaged and healthy team that can grow all our impact projects. As we have welcomed new members last year, we are currently reshaping our organization with a series of experiments we will share the results with you later this year on that blog. And we are looking forward to see it materialized in our 2018 impact report.
And you, where are you on your journey towards a greater impact? Drop us a comment telling us your story for reinventing business.
Some Resources to go further