Lucky Iron Fish

Using Business as a Force For Good - Part 2

Part 2 of our blog post series featuring B Corporations highlights some great advice to companies considering B Corp certification from CEO Court Desautels of the Neighbourhood Group and our own CEO Dr. Gavin Armstrong. See Part 1 here.

 

Court Desautels, CEO, The Neighbourhood Group

Why was becoming a certified B Corporation important to you?

Becoming a B Corp was an incredibly important step for our organization as we needed to ensure the steps we were taking to become a better business were the right ones.   We knew the values we upheld were true, however, we didn't have the means to measure them and compare ourselves to other like-minded businesses out there. The Impact Assessment provided us with not only the tools but the guidance to ensure we were being the best we could for not only ourselves but more importantly to our stakeholders.

Why should consumers support B Corporations?

Consumers should support B Corporations for one simple reason - they're taking the necessary steps to do what is right!  B Corps have to meet rigorous standards to measure their social and environmental impact while always striving the be better as they re-certify every 2 years.

What challenges have you had to overcome in order to achieve B Corporation status?

The biggest challenges we have faced in becoming a B Corp would have been convincing our shareholders that we are not just accountable to them, but more importantly, we are held accountable by our stakeholders.   The process of getting our investment team 'onboard', meant years of hard work proving that businesses can succeed beyond profitability and that we need to measure our success on the social and environmental impact we are creating in order to secure a sustainable model for the future.   

What advice would you give to other companies thinking about becoming certified?

The advice I would give to others trying to become a Certified B Corporation is to know that it is not a race - take your time and be strategic in making the right steps that will get you there and keep you there for the long-term.  The process can be overwhelming if you tackle too much from the onset, but plotting your course with sizeable chunks to accomplish over the years will set you up for success. And regardless if you don't achieve B Corp status right away, take solace in the fact that you are making positive decisions for the success of your stakeholders, and when they see this everything becomes easier.

How does the certification of your company affect others in a positive way?

It's incredible to see the impact becoming a B Corp had affected others in a positive way.  From providing Health Benefits to our team members to raising funds for a variety of local causes the support from our community has been overwhelming.   And what we didn't expect is when you invest in the people around you, is how much they invest back into you. For example, the majority of our social and environmental programs are now being championed by our team members which are an incredible site to see!  People helping people is a beautiful thing.

 

Dr. Gavin Armstrong, CEO & Founder of Lucky Iron Fish Enterprise

Why was becoming a certified B Corporation important to you?

I believe that businesses have a responsibility to be socially conscious and make the world a better place. That is why when I founded Lucky Iron Fish Enterprise (LIFE) I made a commitment to embed social impact throughout the organization.  It wasn’t until after I established LIFE that I learned about the B Corp movement. I instantly fell in love with the B Corp concept and signed LIFE up right away. We were actually the first B Corp in the city of Guelph, and have ranked in the top 10% of B Corps globally since the beginning (granting the title Best for the World).

What challenges have you had to overcome in order to achieve B Corporation status?

In the beginning, we had a lot of wonderful and impactful aspects of our company including locally-produced packaging. As we grew, it became difficult to scale this commitment. Instead of abandoning it for a cheaper alternative, we adapted our packaging requirements and focused on environmentally sustainable material. Any company that grows will need to ensure their products are scalable, but that does not mean you need to abandon your impact commitments.

What aspect of your business model are you most proud of?

The Buy-One-Give-One aspect of our company is our shining star. We have positively impacted the lives of over 780,000 people living with iron deficiency and anemia through this program. This is how we work with our customers to ensure we are not only improving their health, but also improving global health.

Why do you think B Corporations are the way of the future?

I hope that one day soon we will see away with the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and instead embed social impact in every aspect of the business. CSR should be known as corporate excellence and it needs to be the customers who are demanding this change. A number of major companies have evolved in this way but we still have a long way to go    

What advice would you give to other companies thinking about becoming certified?

It is not as hard or as expensive as you may think! In fact, I feel being a B Corp company is not a cost at all, but rather an investment. Customers and stakeholders respond to this commitment and it has been a real asset to LIFE.

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