Since our founding, we have always been a champion of businesses that are striving to change the world for the better. Our purpose is to support these businesses to be more conscious of the impact of their spending on people and the planet.
So for us, B Corp certification is really important because it holds us accountable to measure and improve our environmental and social impact too. It proves to our customers and stakeholders that we are walking the talk.
In 2019, we joined the thousands of B Corp certified businesses, and last year, we recertified and improved our B Impact Score. Want to learn how we did it? Below, Brian Johnston, Head of Impact and Russell Golding, Impact Consultant at Cogo, share the key lessons they learned from the process.
Brian: With the complexities of running a business, it’s hard to know whether what you’re doing is having the intended effect. The B Corp standard helps us define our strategy to drive positive impact and to make sure we measure and hold ourselves accountable for our progress.
Russell: Also, the B Corp standards are continually being strengthened, so achieving certification is really valuable. It helps us improve our practices and reporting, and it reassures our stakeholders that we are walking the talk when it comes to sustainability.
Brian: Cogo’s products are now delivered mostly with the support of our partners in the banking industry. This helps us to reach more end users faster, so we can start to engage with them to build carbon literacy and encourage action to reduce emissions—helping scale our impact.
Russell: The B Corp standard has changed significantly in the past 3 years since we certified, and Cogo has changed too, so it’s hard to compare our performance. But we’ve successfully navigated the changes, and we are now really well-positioned to grow our impact this year.
Russell: A big part of the assessment involves identifying areas of impact and then linking them to available data within the company to prove the impact. Finding the data was really time-consuming, so we plan to implement better information systems to enable us to track progress more efficiently.
Brian: We want to develop our client engagement on impact even further, to build product features and measurement around user action on measuring, understanding and reducing their carbon footprint. We’d also love to engage with our clients on the value of becoming a B Corp, as well as with others in the fintech space, as we believe the standard can help businesses make significant progress on driving both financial and non-financial value.
Brian: We learnt the importance of being patient. Becoming a purpose or impact-oriented organisation takes time and effort and definitely does not happen overnight! The process can be long and, at times, technical. But you begin to reap rewards over time as you operate in alignment with the principles and clearly show the progress you are making.
Russell: We definitely learnt the importance of having good systems in place for measuring impact, both in terms of the product and operations.
Russell: Speak to other businesses that have gone through the process. It’s important to know what you're getting into because it’s a lot of work. It can also be beneficial to spend a year working out how to collect information accurately before you dive in.
Brian: Don’t try to be all things to all people—some businesses seeking B Corp certification spend a lot of time creating policies and documentation just for certification. This doesn’t add value to your organisation. The best approach is to build in elements that are useful and to strengthen where it makes sense, focusing on your core business practices. That is where your organisation can have the greatest impact. The B Corp standard supports this approach, as the biggest opportunity to score points in the process comes from integrating impact business models (IBMs) into your business.
Want to learn more about Cogo’s Impact Model? Download our white paper to understand the theory behind how Cogo drives impact.
And if you’re a bank looking to scale your positive impact, get in touch.
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