Service Robotics submit B Corp application
In December 2020 Future Space teamed up with Andy Hawkins to support businesses through the B Corp Impact Assessment.
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.
Last month Service Robotics took the big step of submitting their BCorp application. We caught up with their Business Development Manager, Imogen Keane, to hear their story.
"We have made many changes, small and large, but each with an important purpose."
How did you get involved in BCorp?
Tim, co-founder and COO, heard about B Corp through Future Space. They were offering support to businesses who wanted to be B Corp certified.
We felt that because we are a small company and growing quite quickly that going through the B Corp process would give us a head start by making sure that we were doing the right things, in the right way at the right time.
By getting the foundations right now we can grow as a responsible company in both our workforce, ethics and values.
How did the support process work?
We started the process with Andy, which consisted of weekly sessions on zoom over a 12-week period with Andy and around 10 other businesses who were going through the process alongside us.
This gave us time to run through each section of the B Corp process as a group, including themes such as around governance, workers, community, and environment. In each session we’d look closely at the questions for each section and Andy would give us pointers on on how we could develop our business to improve our impact.
The sessions typically consisted of Andy providing a 30 minutes introduction to the section followed by 30 minutes for us to discuss as a group. This was interesting because everyone in the group was at different stages in developing their business. Some people were running a business on their own, while others had 20 employees, so the approach for us all was slightly different.
This gave us the tools to go through the assessment, create goals and objectives on how we could improve our impact, with the final stage of inputting our answers to the questions which would later verify if we qualify for B Corp status.
Andy also gave us support when advancing and implementing new and existing policies, providing templates and resources to help structure our documentation.
The team at Service Robotics
Once this initial process with Andy was over, what happened next?
A big part of the sessions with Andy focused on how we want to work as a business in order to be more sustainable, transparent, and accountable.
This allowed us to look at what we were already doing to achieve these aims. We then went through a goal setting exercise in order to achieve more in each area of our business and then reviewed the metrics we wanted to use to measure these by.
We then spent three or four months implementing these changes before going back and re-answering the B Corp assessment questions, followed by collating the evidence which demonstrates our answers.
Andy was always on hand to answer any questions we had throughout and he connected us with other companies who were going through the same assessment so it was great for networking too.
What changes have you implemented as a result of B Corp?
We have made many changes, small and large, but each with an important purpose. We have implemented a process of sending out surveys to our suppliers to ensure that their policies and approach to business matches our own values. We also survey all our suppliers and customers to make sure that we’re providing the right kind of service to them and that they’re happy with the way we work as well.
We’ve also looked closely at our diversity policies to ensure that as we grow we keep this at the forefront of our minds and that we have a process for ensuring there is no bias in our recruitment practices, for example.
We started at a very good level when it came to our HR practices overall because we work with Citrus HR, who have very worker-friendly handbooks and policies in place. We also scored highly on our environmental values because we are based here at Future Space who are extremely good at energy saving and recycling.
We also switched to a local sustainable bank called Triodos, whose mission it is to create a society that protects and promotes quality of life and human dignity for all.
"...we know all our policies are aligned with our company mission and values, and we can confidently say that we will continue to operate in a way that benefits both our people and the planet. "
Why do you think B Corp is important?
Everyone is becoming a lot more aware of the businesses they work with or choose to buy from. B Corp gives us a framework for creating the business that we want to be. By living our values, we create a business that is not only attractive to work for, but also attractive to potential customers as well.
By going through the process everyone can see that we are who we say we are, which builds trust with our stakeholders. For those that don’t know about B Corp it gives us a great tool to be able to introduce to them how we work as a business and so it becomes good for pitching as well.
Would you recommend the process to others?
Definitely. We have now submitted our application and it took roughly a year, but you can tailor the process to your own needs and so you can spend more or less time on it. It has been time well spent for us though, as we know all our policies are aligned with our company mission and values, and we can confidently say that we will continue to operate in a way that benefits both our people and the planet.
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