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We are excited to announce that HappyPorch is now a Certified B Corporation®

Business without meaning is just pointless admin                                                                                                         

This quote really inspired me when setting up HappyPorch 6 years ago. One of the core tenets of HappyPorch has always been that business should be so much more than the exploitation of people and planet it too often becomes. 

So, it feels great to have passed B Corp’s rigorous assessment, showing that we’re using our business as a force for good, contributing to a bigger picture. The B corp process is a significant investment in time and energy, and while we are celebrating this milestone - the real value is in the process. 

B Corp have given us framework and independent oversight to help us do better. For us this is just another step on our journey of ‘walking the talk’. There are a great many ways we can continue to be more true to our values and a more positive contribution to the world we are part of. 

What is a B corp?

In short, Certified B Corporation® are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability. They’re the building blocks of a new system, creating a positive impact and bringing real, lasting change in the business world. B Corps set the gold standard for good business and inspire a race to the top, creating performance standards and legal structures being used by thousands of other businesses around the world.

It is really much more than a box ticking exercise. 

For me one of the most important aspects is that it is an ongoing journey. The initial certification requires 80 points out of 200 potential points. The goal is for initial certification to be just the start. Our ambition for recertification (in 3 years) is a much higher score. Not because the score is an end in itself, but because we will continue to find ways to live our values.

Is it perfect? Absolutely not. But it is a lighthouse demonstrating how business should be better than our society's current accepted norm. There are Certified B Corporations who have made terrible mistakes. Yet every B Corp has committed to a journey of continuous improvement, and it is a pleasure and honour  to be on the same list as companies like Beauty Kitchen and Wholegrain Digital.

What was the certification process?

It is not easy. It takes time and effort. Which is a big commitment for a small team like ours. I would not recommend it if the certification was the only goal. For us the process itself was a way to think about what is important and how we want HappyPorch to be.

We started the assessment process in 2019, then stalled over the winter into 2020, as we didn’t have time to focus on it. Then the start of the Covid pandemic distracted us some more. We finally got back on track in summer 2020 (with a little help from Ben) and submitted our application in November 2020. 

Turns out we were not alone. I am told  that B Corp UK received more completed assessments in 2020 than in the previous 5 years combined! So it took 7 months after submitting for our audit process to start. Fortunately ours was pretty efficient and it feels good to have achieved certification in June this year! 

Those seven months were frustrating for us, of course. On the plus side it is further evidence that, despite being busy, B Corp auditors were not lowering the standards. 

What is next?

The certification process looks at 5 key areas within each business: Environment, Community, Customers, Governance and Workers.  It is interesting to reflect on our scores in each area. We are strong in some (notably the “Workers” section) and have a lot of room to grow in other areas.

The B Corp movement is not the only route to ethical business. Certification is not the magic solution to living our values as a business and as a team. 

But we are truly proud and celebrating this certification. And this is also motivation to continue our search to be better.

 

 

About the author

Barry O'Kane

Barry O'Kane

Barry is the founder of HappyPorch. With 20 years in the web development industry as a programmer and agency owner, he has a preternatural ability to decipher the systems and processes code that holds many teams back from achieving their goals. Partners say Barry gets to the root of issues quickly and makes it downright easy to deliver good work.    

While he's unbelievably grounded, it's not uncommon to find him sailing through the trees as he paraglides his way round the world.