Meet the B Keepers: Insights on Successful Impact Strategies at B Corps
March 11, 2020
Internal Leaders Share Ideas for Employee Involvement, Goal Setting and Innovation
For Certified B Corporations, earning the B Corp label at certification is just the beginning. What follows is a constant business-improvement process through impact strategies built around the weak spots and areas for improvement revealed by the B Impact Assessment.
At B Corps large and small, employees — officially or unofficially known as B Keepers — focus on continuous impact-strategy improvement in a variety of ways: ensuring their colleagues are involved and engaged in the work needed to uphold B Corp certification, enhancing the company’s impact on people and planet, and improving the business’ bottom line.
B The Change reached out on the B Hive, an online platform for B Corp employees, to get the buzz from B Keepers on their impact strategies, employee involvement tips, and goals for now and the future.
Emily Brown, Magnus: Sharing the B Corp Mindset
As a B Corp certified in 2018, Quebec-based Magnus operates in a unique industry, manufacturing chemicals and equipment for water treatment and industrial processes. B Keeper Emily Brown started with the company in May 2018 and became marketing coordinator in September of that year.
Although Magnus is a chemical company, Brown says it defies the assumptions associated with its industry. For more than 70 years, company leaders have worked to grow the company without having a negative impact, influenced by guiding principles, including sustainable development, community and transparency.
“As an innovative company, Magnus is always finding ways to reduce its overall impact, whether it be the environment, the health and safety of employees, or other areas,” she says.
When Brown joined Magnus, she seized the opportunity to join its B Corp committee based on her interest in the environment and community. The volunteer committee, which meets monthly, is open to all employees and includes members from all of its departments, including the CEO — each on the lookout for ways to build the B Corp’s influence and improve its operations and impact.
“We all want to improve the business world, and we have found that having the certification is a key asset,” Brown says. “We recently attended a ‘best practices’ show to share about the B Corp movement.
“We were not there to sell Magnus, but rather to convince companies how important the B Corp movement is. Our main goal is to share the B Corp mentality and influence those around us.”
Drawing from her role in marketing, Brown has tasked herself with finding different ways of sharing what B Corps are and why Magnus chose to certify. “We want to influence our community and our industry and lead by example by using business as a force for good,” she says.
At Magnus, the B Corp committee aims to ensure that the overall view of the business aligns with B Corp values and continual improvement.
“I feel very lucky to be part of such a movement that is impactful and just keeps growing. It is extremely rewarding to participate in something that is changing and shaping the way companies do business,” Brown says. “The key is to share ideas, be open-minded and work collectively to have an impact and improve the world of business.”
Helen Denny, Myers-Briggs: Connecting with the Community
While Helen Denny has worked at Myers-Briggs for 12 years, the company is a more recent addition to the B Corp community, gaining certification in October 2018. In her role as head of global customer experience, she was involved with the company’s B Corp certification process from the start.
“Our CEO shared with us in a company meeting that we would be working toward certification,” Denny says. “I had never heard of ‘B Corp’ prior to that meeting, but I was so excited that I got in touch with our legal counsel to see how I could get involved.”
Myers-Briggs, best known for its Type Indicator personality test, formed a Business Impact Team — with Denny as a member — to drive its B Corp activity. Each team member has an opportunity to work on what they feel most passionate about. For Denny, it was a new charity partnership with Parents and Children Together.
“I was learning as I went,” she says. “As part of the partnership with Parents and Children Together, I’m proud of the work that we did using our own tools and expertise. We’re partway through the process to identify a new partner and are already applying learnings from the first time around.”
Being part of the Business Impact Team, and its work to benefit Myers-Briggs and its community, has inspired Denny professionally and personally.
“Inspired by some of the things we’ve achieved at work, I now volunteer for a nonprofit on a regular basis and have started running, something I wouldn’t have considered before starting this journey,” Denny says.
But it also has made her realize the potential power of her colleagues at Myers-Briggs. “Try to bring people in from around the business whenever you have the opportunity,” Denny says. “In my view, it takes the whole organization to really get engaged with B Corp to make real positive change.”
Lindsey Bolton, All Good: Growth Through Empowerment
At All Good, a B Corp since 2009 based in Morro Bay, California, Lindsey Bolton serves as Community Rockstar: “We have a bit of a sense of humor at this office,” she says of the nature-based healing company.
Bolton began as resident B Keeper about the time when All Good decided to participate in the first Inclusive Economy Challenge launched by B Lab in 2017. Part of her role is to help manage and engage the company’s partnerships.
“Being the B Keeper has been an informative and engaging way to collaborate with fellow B Corps, create deeper connections, and learn more about how other B Corps are utilizing their certification and to share ways that All Good has amplified our B Corp certification,” she says.
Since then, the company has a team member, Pancho Gomez, managing all carbon neutrality metrics as part of All Good’s climate action plan. Founder Caroline Duell is on a team of B Corp leaders working on sustainable packaging solutions that came out of a B Corp leadership summit. And, the company has incorporated community activities, including a weekly Soup Swap lunch meeting that often highlights B Corp-related themes.
Bolton also represents All Good in the broader local community as part of a local committee of B Corps that recently began to meet, launching plans to bring B Corp themed events and discussions with the hopes of growing the B Corp movement locally.
“I have seen firsthand the ripple effect of being a part of the B Corp movement, and we have already inspired some of our suppliers, local businesses, and a fellow 1% for the Planet member business to become Certified B Corps,” Bolton says.
“My role as B Keeper for All Good has been about sharing the collective efforts of our team. We have been able to make measurable improvements across departments because our team holds environmental and social responsibility at the forefront of every decision.”
In her work on behalf of a B Corp, Bolton is grateful that her personal passions for social activism, community, and being a force for good in the world are supported in her work.
“Working for a B Corp gives me a sense of empowerment because I know that not only are we making ethically made, premium body care products, but we are doing impactful work in the world to awaken community and inspire hope, and that makes me feel purposeful everyday,” she says.
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