Optimised Energy: Our journey to becoming a B Corp
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Optimised Energy: Our journey to becoming a B Corp



What is a B Corp?

Simply put, certified B Corps are companies who are committed to prioritising the environment and society in the way they do business.


They are independently assessed to ensure they meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. The certification process is rigorous, and B Corps are continually re-assessed and required to pass the re-certification process every 3 years. This ensures that B Corps are always held to account – continually monitoring their impact and trying to improve the way they do business, for the benefit of people and planet.


There are a lot of sustainability certifications out there, and it can be confusing to determine which ones carry weight. Becoming a B Corp is about growing a business in the right way and is the only certification that measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance.


Becoming a B Corp

In early 2019 we made a commitment to becoming a certified B Corp. The B Corp mission: ‘force for good’, resonates strongly with us and how we want to operate.


The B Corp assessment is made up of five categories:


  • Governance (e.g. mission, corporate accountability and company documentation)

  • Workers (e.g. benefits, training, communication and culture)

  • Community (e.g. job creation, diversity and inclusion and civic engagement)

  • Environment (e.g. energy, waste and water and environmental management systems)

  • Customers: For companies who provide a social or economic service directly to customers.


There are 200+ questions in the B Corp assessment and certification requires a score of ≥80.


Building a better business

Our baseline assessment in June 2019 gave us a result of 53.5 points, which helped us to identify areas in which we needed to improve. Increasing our score was a difficult task that required us to make some significant changes to how we operate our business to provide greater benefit to all our stakeholders including our people, clients, community and the environment. Outlined below are some of the improvements we have implemented that contributed to our B Corp certification journey:


Governance

  • Amended our Articles of Association to formally consider our employees, the community and the environment

  • Created a formal mission statement, including a commitment to delivering energy and carbon savings through the provision of our services to clients

  • Integrated social and environmental performance into decision-making through new job descriptions, performance reviews and company Board Meetings

  • Promoted ethical decision-making through the implementation of a written Code of Ethics

Workers

  • Introduced salary bands across the business to encourage progression and increase transparency

  • Have a <5x ratio for highest paid employee to lowest paid employee

  • Became a Living Wage employer, ensuring that all sub-contractors, staff and suppliers are paid the Living Wage

  • Began measuring diversity metrics, including ethnicity, gender and age

  • Started an Internship programme and partnership with the University of the West of England (UWE)

  • Implemented a more flexible working environment to help improve work/life balance

  • Implemented an annual employee engagement survey process to measure engagement and satisfaction

  • Introduced a £1,000 training budget for all employees


Community

  • Year-on-year job growth rate exceeds 25%

  • Implemented a Responsible Sourcing Policy to encourage using local businesses to purchase goods and services

  • Recruited a diverse workforce that reflects the communities that we operate in

  • Implemented a Volunteering Policy to encourage employees to volunteer with local charities/initiatives


Environment

  • Used technology and remote working to minimise unnecessary travel

  • Implemented a Responsible Sourcing Policy to ensure that all goods and services purchased are environmentally preferred, including recycled/environmentally preferred office supplies

  • Created a Hazardous Waste Policy to ensure printer cartridges and e-waste are disposed of responsibly

  • Performed a Materiality Assessment and created a Sustainability Strategy to focus our efforts

  • Produced and published an annual Sustainability Report showing our social and environmental performance


Following our assessment in March 2020, we were able to realise the extent of these improvements: our score had increased by 44.5 to 98.0 points, meeting the required score for certification.





Going forward

Becoming a certified B Corp in April 2020 was a proud moment for us. Being part of the B Corp community means we stand shoulder to shoulder with others who share our values; learning from each other and collaborating to reap the rewards of our shared expertise.


The journey to be a force for good doesn’t stop with our B Corp certification. We have ambitions in 2020 and beyond to improve our score even further, with a focus on Net Zero, improving our parental policies, creating management processes for sub-contractors, ensuring that all employees use their volunteering entitlement (1 day per annum) and increasing our employee engagement score to >90%.


To find out more about our journey take a look here.

BLACKPOOL - HQ

109-112 Lancaster House,

Amy Johnson Way

Blackpool

FY4 2RP

01253 209000

BRISTOL

Kings Court,

87 High Street

Nailsea, Bristol

BS48 1AW

01275 859100

ASHBY DE LA ZOUCH

1 Ivanhoe Office Park,

Ivanhoe Park Way,

Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire LE65 2AB

0333 370 2021

SITTINGBOURNE

The Oast

62 Bell Road

Sittingbourne

Kent ME10 4HE

0333 370 2023

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