At True we’ve always wanted to demonstrate through our actions, as well as our words, that we don’t conform to the stereotype of private equity owners – we are deliberately a business which has a different approach and way of doing things than traditional businesses in our industry. From the outset we’ve believed that through our investments we can build better businesses which put people and planet on a level playing field with profit. As Co-founders we’ve always hoped we were building True in this way too. A lot of businesses – including True – put purpose and a mission at the centre of their business. However, it doesn’t count for a lot if you can’t be held to account. That’s why being a B Corp matters and why we’re really proud of our recent certification.
Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. Currently there are 3720 of these businesses across the world that meet the standard. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business more focused on building a sustainable and more inclusive economy. In B Corp’s own words: “The B Corp community works toward reduced inequality, lower levels of poverty, a healthier environment, stronger communities, and the creation of more high-quality jobs with dignity and purpose.”
Being part of this community is something every business should aim for. We believe in this deeply so by sharing some of our insights we hope we can encourage some other players to join us on the B Team.
It’s not a quick win – it’s a (long) journey of discovery.
We started our B-Corp journey at the end of 2019. We became certified in April 2021. This may seem like a lengthy and daunting process but instead we learnt a lot about our organisation and the areas we needed to improve to become a better business for all our stakeholders. Ultimately your end goal shouldn’t be certification – fundamentally it should be about making your business better, with the certification a by-product of that. But our experience has meant we’d certainly advise getting started ASAP. With a recent rise in awareness around B Corp Certification, B Corp is advising of a surge in applications and a delay of a few months to the initial application processing timeframe.
Each business is unique, with different challenges. Don’t give up at the first hurdle.
True is a reasonably small and agile investment business and recognise we don’t have a long list of suppliers, unlike many of the brands we do work with, who would certainly be assessed on this complex area. So, it may be that size and structure of your business could work in your favour. During our assessment, we had deeper investigation in our governance, the way we looked after our people and our impact towards our community.
Only one in three businesses that starts the process becomes certified. This is probably because it is a lengthy processbut , once you submit the assessment you do get assigned a contact that can walk you through the rest of the stages. A top tip is to keep on top of their deadlines and ensure the people you work with internally are the right people and are aware in advance of how you may need their support.
There’s no cheat sheet.
The people in your organisation looking after the application need to be able to have visibility on all areas of your business. For us, this was a combination of our HR, Finance and deal teams. While the resources on the B Corp website are incredibly useful, we’d recommend trying to talk to certified businesses operating in the same sector and of similar size for the most tailored advice.
There’s always room for improvement.
All B Corp scores can be found on their directory and transparency forms part of the founding principles of B Corp. Our score is 82 – the pass mark is 80 – so while we know and are celebrating that we’ve been recognised as a certified B Corp, we know we can do better, and B Corp is great for providing a framework upon which we can build our business in the best way.
Do get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject ‘B Corp Application’ if you would like further information on this or would like to speak to someone else in our network that is B Corp certified.