B Corp month 2022: Behind the B

This year we are marking BCorp month by reflecting on what we have already achieved and also using this as an opportunity to look ahead at how we can be a force for even more good in the future.

What it means to be a BCorp.

We are very proud of our BCorp status and delighted that our B impact assessment score has increased this year. Being a B Corporation gives external verification that our business meets the very high global standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials. The verified score puts a line in the sand which we can use as a benchmark for making (and demonstrating) further improvements in the future. Because BCorp looks at many aspects, it recognises our holistic approach to Corporate Social Responsibility, that we are performing in many areas and not just one or two.

As a mission-based business, our strong purpose fits well with the aims of BCorp, to be part of a movement using business as a force for good. Our global community of over 4,600 companies across 79 countries share the view that businesses should believe in more than the bottom line and that we should use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. Together we take collective action to change our economic system, benefit all people and communities around the world and improve the health of the planet.

How we have achieved our BCorp status.

Our mission and business practices

Our vision is to provide the solutions for a zero carbon world. Because we are mission driven, we consistently incorporate social and environmental impact into decision-making.

We screen our suppliers for social and environmental impact and buy products that are environmentally friendly. This includes everything from cleaning products, to office supplies and refreshments. We also have a company-wide recycling programme for our waste.

We work with our landlords to improve efficiency of energy, water and waste as well as monitoring energy use and setting intensity targets. We use energy conservation methods for our equipment and lighting which has reduced our energy usage by over 10%

We regularly monitor and record emissions and have set specific science-based targets necessary to achieve the global goals to address climate change. We have reached our set targets and achieved carbon neutrality.

Our employees

Our business is employee owned and we have increased our staff engagement and satisfaction scores in our annual survey, with over 80% being “satisfied” or “engaged”. Over 20% of profits are available to all employees with our bonus scheme and over 95% of employees are eligible for health care benefits.

We are strong advocates of the ‘work-life balance’, providing job flexibility options including flexible hours, part-time and remote working. Staff can take sabbaticals and have the reassurance that there will be a job waiting for them at the end. We encourage workers to participate in health and wellness activities for example walking at lunchtime and wellness action plans.

We have a policy to encourage internal promotions and hiring for advanced positions, provide cross-skills training such as our leadership development programme for non-managers. We have a budget for external professional development opportunities and for memberships to professional organisations and staff are encouraged to become Chartered in their area of expertise.

Interns are paid a living wage and receive formal performance reviews. They have opportunity to provide feedback on their experience and we have hired interns to become full-time permanent employees.

Our community

We organise and host volunteering days. Company and staff are paid for this voluntary service. Employees are subsidized/incentivized for use of public transportation, carpooling, or biking to work. Verco supports staff to become STEM ambassadors, engaging young people with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics disciplines.

We have worked with other industry players on cooperative initiatives on sustainability projects and contribute to academic research on net zero topics. We participate in panel presentations and public forums such as the Renewable Thermal Collaborative. We provide public resources for other businesses or stakeholders on improving net zero performance, for example our popular ‘Verco explains’ webinar series aimed to educate people on net zero terminology and initiatives.

All of our products are designed to have a positive impact on the environment. We strive for good relationships with our clients and monitor satisfaction, retention and feedback.

Looking ahead.

BCorp month is an ideal time to look ahead to the future and get excited about the plans we have. Our voluntary CSR team has grown this year which means we can achieve even more in 2022. Here are some of the activities that we are excited to be working on:

We will increase our community engagement which is an area that has been curtailed with Covid, we were pleased to be able to spend time together again in the autumn of 2021 and do voluntary work in our communities. 2022 will be bigger and better, with a focus on STEM involvement, partnering with schools and universities to encourage students to take careers in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths fields. We will also continue to take part in environmental initiatives and events such as bike to work week as well as doing charitable fundraising with charities selected democratically with an internal vote.

We are a mission-based organisation, everything we do for our clients is about sustainability and working towards a zero carbon economy. Internally we will be focussing on our vision and mission, looking at how we can embrace these throughout the year. We are also going to be bringing this bigger-picture goal right down into personal objectives and job descriptions, defining what this means for every individual in the business and giving them the tools to succeed with training focussed around the environment. We will also be strengthening our diversity and inclusion policy as well as increasing the number of employee shareholders.