Branding agency striving to become Certified B Corporation? Yes, this might seem unusual. However, Admind wants and tries to become a force for good. To have an impact on the world around us. We will therefore do our best to join a community of Certified B Corporations. The path to this is exciting and challenging. Find out from the article, why we made such a decision and what our process looked like so far.
EDIT: This article was published in 2021. Today, we are officially holding a B Corp certificate. Below, you can read what our path looked like.
What is the Certified B Corporation?
Certified B Corporation is a new kind of business that balances profit and purpose. Such businesses meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy. 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. By harnessing the power of business, Certified B Corporation use profits and growth to a greater end: a positive impact for their employees, communities, and the environment. Admind wants to become such a company and to join others that think alike.
What’s important, B Corp Certification is the only one that measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance. The B Impact Assessment evaluates how your company’s operations and business model impact your workers, community, environment, and customers. It’s the most powerful way to build credibility, trust, and value for a business.
Why is Admind striving for B Corp certification?
We started thinking about B Corp during the pandemic. Krzysztof Langer, CEO of Admind, came up with the idea that in this difficult situation for everyone, we should push ourselves out of our comfort zones to take on more responsibility. This was met with great enthusiasm by our team. At this point, it’s worth noting that the idea to become Certified B Corporation, didn’t come out of anywhere. We didn’t start completely from a scratch. Social impact is really important for Admind, therefore various pro-environmental and pro-community initiatives have taken place many times. We wanted to expand on what we had already started. B Corp allows us to structure this and provide insights on how else we can become a force for good. So, this spring (2021) we entered the B Corp certification path.
Start of the process
The process starts with and is entirely based on the B Impact Assessment tool. It’s an extensive online form divided into 5 areas: governance, workers, community, environment, and customers. Each of them is full of questions about the company’s attitude and actions towards the specific subjects. The tool not only evaluates the answers provided but also reacts to them. For example, by adding additional questions or directly suggesting to take certain actions. Filling out such a form for the first time is a great way to discover where you are at, what your strengths are, and what you need to enhance. Completing the form is the first step, the next ones are the changing organizations in each of the five categories.
Our first step for improvement was organizing regular meetings, called the Golden Hours internally. Our staff, who were eagerly engaged in the process, worked together to generate ideas on how we could increase our power to act as Force for good. Each meeting was dedicated to one of the 5 areas covered by B Corp. People talked about e.g. how we can improve their well-being, how we can make our offices greener places etc. We wrote down the best ideas and started to introduce them step by step. You will read about them later in this article.
After first filling out the form (in the spring), we were highly motivated. This very first step showed us that indeed we are already doing great in some areas. For example, Admind has a large number of women in management positions, which appeals to B Corp. We also found that we are ordering over 60% of our office goods from local suppliers.
However, there were more questions than complacency in our minds. B Corp touches on legal issues, including those completely absent from Polish legislation. We wondered how this would affect us. We also wanted to do the best we could with the solutions the tool itself offered. It became clear that we needed the knowledge and experience of someone outside our company who knew how to support Admind in becoming a force for good. As soon as we met Andy Hawkins from Business on Purpose we knew that he’s the person we were looking for. He advises companies around the world on how to become Certified B Corporation. This year alone he has helped 60 clients from the UK, Poland, Brasil, Romania, Singapur, Belgia, the United States, among others, on their high-impact assessment journey. We quickly came to an agreement and started working together.
The progress we have made
As was mentioned, our impact is first and foremost to educate our customers. This is why we started by training our employees so that they could then pass on their knowledge externally.
“As a branding agency, we’ve recognized that brand transformation is the area where we can have the greatest impact. We want to help brands to transform into organizations that are much more conscious. That’s why our long-term goal is to become the top of the mind agency for conscious branding of the future.”Krzysztof Langer, CEO of Admind
Diversity, equity & inclusion
We’re an international company (more than 15 different nationalities). We employ people from many cultures and we have diverse teams with minorities. The companies we work with also want to put an emphasis on D&I. It was natural that Admind was promoting an inclusive work culture, and in a creative environment, such inclusivity can bring satisfying results.
We have taken the following initiatives to improve in the area of diversity, equity & inclusion:
- D&I internal training sessions – the idea was to talk about what D&I is, why companies implement that kind of strategies and their benefits. Also, we want to educate employees about inclusive language, and then to use it on a daily basis to support our clients.
- Brainstorming session – where everyone could write down what they associate diversity and inclusion with.
- D&I onboarding for new employees – obligatory introduction training on diversity, equity, and inclusion for new employees during onboarding.
- Visiting the museum in the dark – an experiment for the Admind team to help us experience, at least for a moment, how blind people perceive the world.
What’s more, we have partnered with Diversity Hub, which specialises in training and advising companies on diversity and inclusion. As a part of the collaboration, they have prepared a survey for our employees on diversity topics to see how it‘s represented and respected in our company. They also hosted a webinar for us about inclusive leadership – what practices to use in leading teams.
It is also worth mentioning that we are working on a D&I policy document. We have created a team of volunteers who are concerned with this topic and want to be involved in supporting internal and external initiatives in Admind.
Examples of such initiatives are:
- The webinar we recently organised when we hosted Marie van Driessche speaking on Inclusive design
- Support for the Filmon Festival, a Polish festival for people with intellectual disabilities.
- Sponsorship of Wisła Kraków Blind Football.
Today we can say, that Admind is an equal opportunity employer committed to supporting, inspiring, and respecting all individuals regardless of race, religion, nationality, medical condition, gender identity, or sexual orientation or expression, among other characteristics. We want to create an inclusive workplace environment that celebrates the diversity of our employees and candidates.
To support this change, this year we announced a lot of initiatives for our employees: Bike April, Vegan May, Pride June, Less Plastic July, and Employee Safety August. By communicating this outwardly, we drew the attention of the Admind community to the need for behavioral change on environmental or minority issues. As a result, we have comprehensively trained several dozen people in first aid, and we also segregate waste more wisely. We are proud that 50% of meals ordered to the office are vegetarian, of which at least half of them are vegan. Also, we observe that our staff are more willing to choose bikes as a way of transport to work.
We have also made many improvements for the benefit of employees. Certified B Corporations must be a shining example to others in this field. Polish law requires businesses, among other things, to provide employees with an adequate number of days off, maternity leave, health and pension contributions. We have expanded our benefits system to include life insurance, multisport cards, medical packages, free yoga and English lessons, two free lunches per week in the office, and a mental health helpline (online psychological support). We wanted our employees to be able to benefit from the help of a therapist during this difficult time.
We recently asked Andy, our mentor, how he views our work on the B Corp pathway so far. Here is what he said:
“Sometimes it looks very difficult for companies during the journey to overcome some challenges, but Admind does it well. Admind is in a healthy place now. There are still improvements, but this is part of the adventure.”Andy Hawkins from Business on Purpose
He also believes that educational progress has been the biggest part of our journey over these past 6 months. He mentions as our strengths that our leadership is willing to listen and puts profit on the same level as people and the planet. The cool thing about the Admind team is that they want to inspire others.
Therefore, we are going to use the knowledge we have gained so far in our work with clients. For example, we want someone in each of our teams who is more familiar with diversity, equity, and inclusion to take this into account when designing. We already pay a lot of attention to accessibility in design. It’s about designing for the needs of people who may have difficulty accessing certain content. This is also a huge request that often comes from our clients.
We hope to join the Certified B Corporations in summer 2022. However, this will not be the end of our path, but another step on our journey.
What will happen after joining the Certified B Corporation network
Once certified, we will become part of a network of Certified B Corporations. These companies think alike, so it will be an opportunity for us to take joint initiatives more easily (together we can do more). We will also have certain responsibilities. The B Corp certificate is renewed every three years. Each year we will publish reports documenting our pro-environmental and pro-community activities to prove that we are still developing. Being one of the Certified B Corporations, however, is all about the abundance of opportunities to inspire other businesses and to change together this world for the better.