B Corp Q&A with Fiona Moore, ECI’s Head of ESG

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Following our recent B Corp certification we chatted to ECI’s Head of ESG, Fiona Moore, to share her experience of becoming a B Corp company and to provide some useful insights and tips for other companies who are interested in the certification.

Why did ECI decide to get certified?

Many things can be actioned around ESG, but the hard part is prioritisation. ECI have been focused on ESG for a while and genuinely believe that business should be a force for good. The assessment helped us to evaluate where we stood, identify areas we could make progress and allowed us to make a public commitment and align the whole ECI team around what we’re trying to achieve.

Now that we’ve been through the process, we’re also better placed to help our portfolio companies who are looking to achieve certification themselves.

What are your top tips for others looking to become B Corp certified?

Becoming B Corp is not an easy process, but it is a rewarding one. Having spent 18 months on the process from the initial idea to gaining certification, these would be my top tips for other companies looking to get certified.

  • You can do the assessment without being committed to membership costs or changing your articles of association. It’s worth doing just to see where you currently are on their framework and helpful for prioritisation. Even if you never become certified it’s a useful exercise in itself and well worth doing.
  • If you think you might want to become certified, start early. B Corp is becoming an increasingly popular certification and the time lag between starting the process and certification is very long. It can take at least 12 months once you have submitted your answers.
  • Get a team together from across the business. No one person will have all the answers, and the assessment will cover everything from legal, HR, marketing, etc. You’ll also need input and buy-in from different departments and stakeholders.
  • Store the backup for your answers as you go. This will make it much easier when you get an analyst from B Lab who will want to understand and see the proof points for your answers. Especially as it’s a long process, the more organised you can be as you go, the better.

Fiona Moore, Head of ESG

Should all companies become B Corp certified?

While it is worth considering, B Corp certification may not be the right solution for every company. The B Lab assessment can help companies identify gaps in their ESG initiatives and provide a roadmap for the future, but some companies may already have their own social value strategy and may prefer to focus on making progress rather than adding another framework.

B Corp certification enables companies to demonstrate their understanding of their social and environmental impact and their commitment to making progress. It ensures transparency and is a well-known and trusted certification, relevant and tailored to many different sectors and not just consumer brands. Ultimately, whether or not a company should become B Corp certified depends on your individual circumstances and goals.

Do you need to create or hire additional resource in order to go through the assessment?

While the B Corp assessment is a rigorous process that requires time and input from across the whole business, it is not necessary to hire additional resources or consultants to complete it. The assessment consists of about 200 questions and requires coordination with other team members and the establishment of appropriate policies. I recommend setting up a task force representing the whole business to work on the assessment.

Post-assessment, it may be beneficial to hire or allocate someone to lead ESG initiatives to ensure continued progress.

Do you need to worry about greenwashing?

B Corp certification is designed to ensure companies are genuinely committed to ESG progress and not just greenwashing. The B Lab assessment is rigorous and is designed to ensure that companies are performing well across the ESG framework and are committed to making progress. While there have been criticisms as larger brands have become certified, the assessments and reassessments are designed to ensure that companies continue to invest in ESG and make solid progress.

B Corp has also changed how it assesses companies to ensure that poor performance in one category cannot be outweighed by the rest of the assessment, making the assessments even more rigorous and giving greater credibility to the certification.

What’s next for ECI?

After our B Corp certification late last year, we have several ongoing initiatives across the entire B Corp framework, with a focus on D&I, sustainability improvements, and cyber. We’re also actively supporting many of our portfolio companies to develop ESG strategies, particularly in assessing and reducing their carbon footprint and improving their cyber resilience.

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