March is #BCorpMonth! Certified B Corporations are a community of leaders in the global movement of creating an inclusive, equitable and a regenerative economy. B Lab is the organization that created the B Corporation standard. It began in 2006, with the vision of making businesses a force for good. The movement began in the United States, but has quickly earned an international reach and is becoming a fast global movement of businesses who are changing the world for the better by making purposeful decisions in the operation of our business. We’re proud to be part of a community that prioritizes social and environmental impact, accountability, and transparency. Together, B Corps are working together to make a real change in the way people do business.
What Was Your Motivation To Seek The B Corp Certification?
We heard about the B Corp certification back in 2016 and it immediately struck us as something that was a good values alignment for CTRS. We were aware of other ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) standards like Fair Trade and 1% for the Planet but didn’t feel like they were as practical for us as a company to apply since they appear to favour businesses that are manufacturing things – not professional services organizations like ours. We did the B Impact assessment around 2018 but did not get a good enough score to qualify. As a result, we put applying to be a B Corp on the back burner.
In 2020, we happened to meet an impact consultant at Decade Impact, who asked us why we were not a B Corp given our apparent alignment with the standard. We explained to them that we had done the impact assessment and not met the 80 point minimum. The consultant asked us a lot of questions and determined quite quickly that we should, in fact, be able to get certified if we wrote down and formalized our ESG programs. We worked with them over the course of about 18 months and were able to successfully certify at 99 points in early 2021.
We were always motivated but lacked the knowledge on our own to successfully document how what we were already doing met and exceeded the standard. So, in essence, we were already ‘walking the walk’ and needed help to ‘talk the talk.’ B Corp certification allows us to honestly share our commitment to ESG best practices with the rest of the world.
Why is Being a Purpose Driven Person Important to You?
For CTRS’s founder, Aaron Cruikshank, he believes: “It boils down to running a business that I can respect. I see a lot of greed and obsession with growth out there and that was never a sustainable approach in my opinion. Our societies are paying the price today for the greed of previous generations of businesses.”
Aaron went on to say: “For me to respect my own business, it has to be a business that can say with confidence is doing more good than harm in the world. So to me, the business is the vehicle to increase impact in the community. We do good work for our clients of course, but the goal isn’t to get rich. The goal is to make the world a better place at a scope and scale that I can manage. My dream is that other businesses can see me building something sustainable and take inspiration from that to try to do more for their communities and the planet as well.”
I Want to Become a B Corp – How Do I Know If My Business Qualifies?
There is a great, free tool on the B Lab website that can help you, it’s called the B Impact Assessment.
In all honesty, when CTRS first did the assessment, our score did not hit 80 points, even though we were doing all of these good things. We got a little discouraged because we weren’t sure how we were going to reach the standard. When we started working with the folks at Decade Impact, we realized that it wasn’t that we weren’t doing enough, it was that we hadn’t really documented or put formal frameworks around what we were doing in a way that made it so that we would be hitting the kind of points that we would need.
Oftentimes, there are companies out there that are quietly doing the good work that needs to happen to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals but they don’t even realize that what they’re doing is something unique, or something important, or something worthwhile.
They just go “well isn’t this just the way that this should be”? This is just the way businesses should treat people and give back to the community. When you think about it, it doesn’t seem that unusual. Recently, we found out that only about 1% of B Corps do the Designed to Give Program, which is where you give 5% of your billable hours to nonprofit organizations. Even amongst the B Corp community, CTRS is a bit of an outlier when it comes to that process.
One thing to remember: every company has opportunities to do amazing things. So why not do amazing things?
Here is a story our Founder, Aaron, shared with us because he found it really inspiring and we hope you do too. It’s a story that highlights the true impacts we have as business owners and how the decisions we make not only affect the operational side of the business, but more importantly, people.
“A material handling company I worked with in Vancouver, would pick up organics and recycling from businesses and trucks and then they would bring it back to a processing facility for sorting. They would try to make sure that the food waste gets turned into compost and that anything that can be recycled gets sorted and recycled properly. They wanted to minimize the amount of stuff coming out of businesses going to landfills. They were looking to increase their operational efficiencies when I was working with them and one of the things they were looking at was some automation. A lot of material handling places have these machine systems where the waste comes down the conveyor belt and there’s cameras hooked up to computers looking at that waste and using algorithms to analyze if it is a tin can or plastic. They had these high speed flippers that just go and knock the items.
The company was at this point where they realized for the amount of waste that they were dealing with, automation would really increase efficiency. However, one of their core values in the organization was to create employment opportunities for barriered individuals. One of the things they were doing was hiring homeless people and people newly out of the prison system. By working at the organization, they would give them a good paying job and a taxable income so they could access benefits more easily. They had amazing success with the team members that they were working with, so that decision to move to a machine would have contradicted this other value that they had. Even though from a financial perspective, it would have probably been better for the company to invest in automation, I was happy to see that they made the decision against the machines and instead continued to use people who really needed the work.”
Being a purpose driven company means that you don’t make decisions just based on profit analysis. You consider the impacts of your decisions for everyone involved. It’s stories like this that show the true value of being an impact business and the positive effects it has on your employees.
How Does Being A Certified B Corp Align With Your Company’s Values?
The B Corp certification is all about meeting high, verifiable performance standards when it comes to environmental and social issues. This covers a broad range of issues like minimizing our environmental impact, treating our employees extremely well, making sure our sub-contractors and vendors meet similar standards to ours, as well as actively supporting community initiatives. Effectively, B Corp is looking for companies that can commit to in a demonstrable way that they are a triple bottom line organization – people, planet and profits in balance with one another.
As a small environmental impact professional services firm, we have always made sure that our footprint is as small as possible. Eliminating paper, unnecessary travel, 100% remote work and securing carbon offsets for the minimal emissions we make is an easy bar for us to reach. We were already doing these things prior to becoming a B Corp.
On the people side, we were a company that has very flexible work arrangements for people with diverse needs and backgrounds. We are also a Certified Living Wage employer who provides full health benefits from day one and provides education opportunities for new hires who do not have direct experience in our field. Our employees share our values and are as committed to community support as we are.
We consistently give away a significant amount of work each year pro bono to support nonprofits with market intelligence, market research, policy research and strategic planning support. As a B Corp, we have now committed to giving away 5% of our total work pro bono per year to nonprofits needing our support. In previous years, we have given away more than 10% of our work.
We continue to push the envelope to find more ways to balance people, planet and profit. The B Corp community has helped us push that envelope and learn new ways to exceed our previous standards.
How Do The Policies And Procedures You’ve Developed Support The Triple Bottom Line Approach?
At CTRS, there are a few key policies that we have that support people:
- We practice “open hiring” where we do not discriminate against people who do not have post-secondary education, have personal barriers to employment, are new to Canada or who lack directly related experience. We are happy to train people and give people a chance.
- We provide a living wage that exceeds our regional standards so that people who cannot work full time can make a good living.
- We provide training and mentorship to help develop people who are new to Canada or new to our line of work, grow in our company.
- We provide 100% employer-paid health benefits to our employees.
As mentioned above, we are also an official Designed2Give B Corp (which, we have learned is rare even for B Corps) where we give at least 5% of work away for free to nonprofits. This work allows us to support organizations that are doing good in our community and around the world.
We continue to develop new policies and procedures to increase our impact.
This month is all about sharing with you how and why we go beyond as a B Corp. Follow us along on LinkedIn as we begin sharing content that will bring you into our world as a B Corp. Come back to our blog soon, as we will be sharing an article dedicated to the ways in which we prioritize our impact at CTRS.
BIG NEWS: CTRS is a 2023 Real Leaders Impact Award Winner!
CTRS has been selected as a 2023 Real Leaders Impact Award Winner! We are so honoured to be recognized. As an impact business, we actively look for ways to support and work with organizations who are doing good in the world. To be recognized by our peers in the B...