HomeLINK prepares to submit B Corp application

March 17th 2022

Fresh off their appearance on BBC Breakfast, we caught up with Sam Collier of Future Space alumni members HomeLINK to find out more about his team’s B Corp journey.

HomeLINK is revolutionising how technology is used in social housing. Their data analytics and Internet of Things (IoT) platform enables housing associations and local councils to radically transform how they deliver services and how people interact with their home.

The team began their B Corp journey in early 2021 with the support of Future Space and Andy Hawkins. They recently completed their assessment – with a score above 80, which is what you need in order to get certified.

They are now collating the evidence they need to show that they are working towards the B Corp goals and to submit their application.

"As we grow, we see B Corp as a key way for us to integrate our core values into the everyday running of our business."

Why have you decided to go for B Corp status?

It seemed like a no-brainer for us because our work in the sector is already focused on social impact, and we do this through improving the indoor environment for our customers and trying to reduce the health impact of poor-quality homes. The values behind B Corp therefore match our own and the process allowed us to strengthen our mission. In that sense B Corp is really well suited for businesses like us who have a social focus. A vast proportion of our overall score comes from our business model and the fact that we serve underserved populations. 

The other key reason we decided to embark on this journey was to use B Corp as a business improvement tool. A big part of our focus now is to move towards becoming a more sustainable and environmentally focused business that is working towards net zero. As we work in housing, we would want to make sure that social landlords can provide an environmentally sustainable service, so we also want to be able to represent these values in our own business as well.

"By thinking about our impact on the environment and on people, and ensuring our workforce is looked after well, we can prepare our business for the future."

What have been the main challenges for you?

As a startup you are interested in these issues, but the main focus has to be on setting your business up, getting it running and meeting your goals. B Corp does take effort and we have been so busy, so it has been hard to find time to dedicate to the process. 

Getting extra support from the team at Future Space and Andy Hawkins has been great. Andy is really knowledgeable so he can answer any of our questions. He has created tools that help you to streamline the process and he can introduce you to the right contacts. 

As we grow, we see B Corp as a key way for us to integrate our core values into the everyday running of our business. By thinking about our impact on the environment and on people, and ensuring our workforce is looked after well, we can prepare our business for the future. 

What changes have you made as a result of the process?

We have updated our processes in relation to recycling and waste management, how we source and work with our suppliers, and how we look after our people – which has involved changes to our staff handbook. For example, we used to source from as far as China, but now all of our products are manufactured in Ireland. 

Now we want to go a step further and look more at how we work every day, such as where our people are and how much travel they do. Do we really need to be working like this? The move towards a more remote working culture has allowed us to make these changes much more quickly but we know there’s more we can do. 

Would you recommend B Corp to other businesses?

Absolutely. If they’re looking to make sure they don’t have unintended consequences through the work they’re doing on both people and planet then yes. It requires time, but if you can use the time efficiently then it doesn’t have to be really labor intensive. The benefits from it in terms of what it means to have the accountability of the B Corp badge, and as a way to future proof yourself and check your processes every year – it’s brilliant.

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