When we started on this journey, we were told that businesses were inherently set up to be unethical, and that we absolutely had to set ourselves up as a charity in order to be able to stand up to scrutiny. We immediately saw the problem in this perception. It is the business community that has the leverage in supply chains. Assuming that all of them require external scrutiny in order to behave as responsible corporate citizens is a missed opportunity. The business "organism" may well operate to maximise profit, but the people within those businesses are parents to children who will inherit our planet, they are children to increasingly more vulnerable elderly citizens, and are human beings, the majority of whom are inherently ethical and principled. And so we chose a more difficult path. One where a business-led business, a profit-with-purpose social enterprise, leads by example, joining millions of other businesses doing exactly the same thing in their own way. It is this reason we chose to become a b-corp, based on transparency, accountability and a true purpose: to end slavery and exploitation in our supply chains.
So what's this B-corp business all about anyway?
You can read more about what it means to be a B Corp on the B Lab site. You need to be a for-profit social purpose business, and given our supply chain transparency there was even more of a reason for us to commit to becoming a B Corp.
Our own Commitments
Energy Use Reductions
Since we bought our headquarters in Bristol, we have made the following investments in order to reduce our energy use:
1) Invested £10000 into secondary and double glazing for the whole building, which used to be a Grade II Listed Georgian Ale House (we think).
2) Replaced all of our light fittings with LED bulbs.
3) Consolidated our in-house servers and placed the rest of our services in the cloud, with energy-efficient service providers.
4) Travel: We Bought two electric bikes for local meetings with funding from Travel West (50% matched), as well as created a bike park within the internal (but outdoor) quad in our building. We also added a cycling shower to our ground floor. We also travel by train whenever possible, and where not possible, we have an electric car and a hybrid car which are often (but not always) charged in part by solar electricity.
5) We applied and received additional funding for an air source heater for our main studio to reduce our reliance on electric storage heating.
6) We optimised the water heating in our building (we do not have central heating) which reduced the heating time from 24 hours down to 4 hours daily.
All these measures led to a 25% reduction in our energy bills. We are continuing to monitor usage via energy monitors.