Sustainability is much more than a buzzword for our team. To prove how seriously we take the topic, Raidboxes is now not only certified according to the standards of the Common Good Economy, but also as a B Corporation. We talked to Julian Beyer, who is responsible for sustainability at Raidboxes, about what this certification means and how other companies can become a B Corp.
Julian, what is a B Corporation and why did Raidboxes want to get certified?
Certification as a B Corporation is an award for companies that have achieved a certain minimum level of social and environmental standards. From the outset, we at Raidboxes were concerned to create a company that focused in particular on social impact in addition to the financial constraints that are customary in the market.
This means that in our day-to-day work we seek to create value for all stakeholders, moving from a focus on capital to a focus on the common good. That's why we created a Common Good Balance for 2020 already.
However, as we like to keep testing ourselves from different angles and benefit from different influences, we have decided to additionally embark on the long journey towards becoming a Benefit Corporation.
The social impact
Many companies advertise with sustainability and they're often accused of "greenwashing". What do you think B Corp certification can achieve here?
Today, the term sustainability is used inflationarily and in many places incorrectly. Very fundamentally, it has to be said that sustainability - similar to what was defined in the Brundtland Report - not only includes an ecological level, but quite clearly also a social level. This means that sustainability is not just a matter of saving a little CO² or using recyclable packaging, but requires a holistic understanding.
Our great challenge, large and small, is to serve the needs of today's generations in such a way that future generations can meet their needs as well. And it is here, in this holistic mindset, that B Corp comes in.
"*" indicates required fields
Everything from the company's purpose to how it treats all its stakeholders to its environmental impact is scrutinized, and appropriate suggestions for improvement are always made.
Because of the requirement to achieve a minimum level, this certificate is highly recommended as a way to review and improve your actual impact as a company. Away from greenwashing and towards real sustainability.
What changes do you expect to see at Raidboxes as a result of the certification?
Very fundamentally, I hope that the work and improvements in the company will be seen, used and recognized, so that employee satisfaction and identification with Raidboxes will continue to increase.
High employee satisfaction, and also communication about our work in this area, will give us a competitive edge. Especially now that many companies are facing the ESRS (European Sustainability Reporting Standards) and we are well prepared for them with the expertise we have.
What's involved in B Corp certification
How much effort did it take to achieve Benefit Corporation status? And which roles at Raidboxes were involved?
The project took about two years to complete, with several waiting periods as we waited for the assigned expert to review the project.
The biggest effort in this process is the amendment of the articles of association and the required sustainability reporting, if none had been prepared yet. The amendment of the articles of association is, however, an essential part of the B Corp certification and thus also legally steers the company into a social and sustainable future.
In addition to management and the sustainability roles, the main teams involved in the process were administration, marketing and human resources. However, this depends entirely on the issues on which a company focuses.
What were the biggest challenges in the process?
The change to the articles of association, as part of the certification as a benefit corporation, was the biggest challenge. This was mainly due to the fact that we had to convince the shareholders in a lengthy process.
In second place, I would see sustainability reporting, as it can be a major project in its own right, depending on the initial situation and scope. The adaptation and introduction of certain policies, on the other hand, was rather a small part and usually went comparatively quickly.
Feasibility in the company
What advice can you give to other companies on how best to prepare for certification as B Corporation?
Fortunately, the certification process is straightforward enough because B Corp is interested in as many companies seeking this certification as possible. First, you take the test, which means you go through the questions and answer them in a way that is appropriate for your company.
At the same time, you should already be thinking about how to prove the information. Logically, the focus then shifts to achieving the required 80 points. To do this, you analyze the greatest potential and feasibility within the company, followed by step-by-step implementation.
Again, B Corp always gives you concrete steps to take. It also makes sense to look at third-party vendors, for example, for carbon footprinting or supplier analysis.
You're responsible for sustainability at Raidboxes. What does your day-to-day work look like in this role? What exactly can you achieve?
In line with our understanding of sustainability, I am allowed to be involved in all kinds of topics here at Raidboxes. In this spirit, I could, for example, offer a workshop for our corporate vision or work on the topic of diversity in the company.
The sustainability role has also resulted in a kindergarten subsidy and a breastfeeding policy for nursing mothers. Of course, I am also responsible for environmental sustainability and prepare our reports in this area (ECG, B-Corp, CO² balance, etc.).
My day-to-day work is very fulfilling because I get to work a lot on issues that add value to the people in and around the company. My daily routine can be a bit lonely, which is a fundamental challenge of remote-first companies, but also has to do with my specific role, in which there is no daily routine with other employees.
Diversity as a factor
What did you personally learn from the B Corp certification? How has it changed your behavior at work?
The certification has re-focused my fundamental understanding of my role in a more social context. Specifically, I have developed a new perspective on diversity and health in the corporate context.
I also learned that it pays to have staying power for such extensive projects. And that it is absolutely necessary to have at least one operational force dedicated to this topic in terms of content and driving it forward.
As a company, it's important to be aware that the Benefit Corporation has its own set of values, which can be very helpful on many issues, but may not always align with the company's values. This can create tensions in day-to-day operations. Between what is in the spirit of the B Corp and what is in the spirit of individual departments or the company.
However, this ensures that as a company you get closer and closer to your own understanding of sustainability. I believe that this corporate learning is the biggest bonus that B Corp certification brings.
Raidboxes is also ECG balanced. What are the main differences?
I think the biggest difference between ECG and Benefit Corporation is that B Corp is more tailored to corporate feasibility, while ECG is more idealistically focused.
We noticed this particularly in the weighting of suppliers. As a service company, suppliers do not play a major role for us. B Corp takes this into account by letting you reach the 80 points without a very detailed analysis of suppliers. At ECG, a non-existent supplier analysis is weighted with negative points, regardless of the relevance of this topic.