When I founded NewSpring Energy in 2012, my mission was clear: “Inspire, enable and guide businesses to a more sustainable future”. I did not anticipate how many turns and twists, failures and victories this journey would bring. Despite that, eight years later, I find this work very rewarding and worth every hour, late night and working weekend invested in.
2019 was a challenging year that has brought many revelations, affirmations and new commitments. One of the most exciting changes and commitments for NewSpring Energy in 2019 was to become a Certified B Corporation ®, joining a growing movement of change-makers using business as a force for good. But what does that really mean?
What is a Certified B Corporation?
Certified B Corporations are leaders of a global movement of people using business to make a positive change in the world. They meet the highest standards of overall social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability and aspire to use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. Certified B Corporation is to business what Fair Trade is to coffee or LEED is to a building.
NewSpring Energy, over the years, has worked with many businesses reducing their impact on the environment and incorporating socially conscious practices. It feels only fitting the same care and principals are applied internally. Walking the talk, provides me with a deeper understanding of challenges businesses.
What I have learned
The certification process stretched over 10 months period with interviews, emails back-and-forth and what seemed never ending information gathering. There are many criteria that are required and many needed to be adjusted along the way. My journey can be rolled into a few takeaways.
It takes a team
There is a lot of information to be collected and prepared for a review by BLab team. During the initial assessment it is important to think about how you will continue to collect the information and where it will live. It is important to address this early on so you don’t hand up with an odious task of retroactively digging through your books and records. Establish your process early, involve your staff and make it a habit. Sometimes it is hard to see the forest because of trees, so engage a sustainability consultant to help.
There is no such thing as doing too much
It is important to have a list of ideas and possible projects. Prioritize them based on what is important right now, difficulty level to implement and potential positive impact. Engage your employees to collect new ideas, create teams to take these on and make the idea implementation a priority.
It is an ongoing commitment
This is a long-term commitment, with impact building up each year. There are difficulties and challenges lying ahead, so be prepared to lean in and get creative. There is no prescription for positive impact, but know that each challenge also has a multitude of opportunities attached to it.
Support and community are priceless
When your steam is getting low and you just can’t seem to find a way to move forward, support from a community can be priceless. Shifting from a current paradigm is possible only if we do it together. Surround yourself with the right people and businesses.
Action is hope
With so many crises all over the world it can be challenging to stay positive and not to fall into state of apathy and resignation. I have found the best remedy for this is action. We have 365 days in a year providing an opportunity to make a difference. Pick just one thing that you can do every day.
There are many drops in the sea
There are 1.1 million Small and Medium sized businesses in Canada. Can you imaging the impact if each business has made reducing environmental and social impact their priority? Collectively, we can make a difference with millions small changes.
I start this new year with renewed hope and optimism for changes that can be accomplished together. It does not mean you need to certify your business as a B Corporation.
What makes the real difference, is to make positive impact your priority and ACT on it.