Becoming a Certified B Corp was one of the best moves we’ve ever made as a company
Jason Parkin heads up Compose[d], a digital strategy & creative services agency focused on addressing business goals through sustainable solutions. Founded over 10 years ago, they became a Certified B Corp in June 2020.
Compose[d] started with the belief that business can make life better for others, how has this evolved over the years?
Initially making life better for others focused more on how we treated our team, and our clients (and ideally the people who interacted with the programs that we created), but over the past 3 or so years, we’ve looked to expand on that, and evolve as a business to really try and effect change in as many ways as we can.
That meant a focus on sustainability for brands, and partnering with an industry veteran in that arena to help us do so. We also began brand partnerships with two amazing organizations that are working to tackle the climate crisis. SeaTrees which does direct action ocean reforestation, and Protect Our Winters, which focuses on tackling the problem on the policy side of things by galvanizing the 50 million+ participants of the Outdoor Community.
Given all of this, becoming a Certified B Corp was just a natural progression, and I think it’s one of the best moves we’ve ever made as a company.
Where did your passion for business with purpose come from/who inspired you?
When we started to look internally at where we wanted to plant our stake in the ground, and what our POV as a company was, we saw that we were all passionate about the outdoors/environment and care about equality and equity for people. That sort of answered the question for us, and has been a real driver in our evolution as a business. It’s definitely something that has also brought our team even closer together, and I think has everyone a little more committed to what we’re doing together.
As far as inspiration, the people that I’ve met, continued to meet, and have become partners and friends with along the way are constantly fuelling that fire for me. I think there’s a certain passion in this community of businesses that really do take a stakeholder approach to what they’re doing that a bit infectious both as far as goals as well as a willingness to look to see how we can all work together to accomplish more than we could on our own.
What do you think is the importance of the B Corp movement for business?
If you look at all of the challenges during 2020, you saw that B Corps were better equipped to handle the challenges thrown at them, and were already on the right-side of a lot of issues that came up. On top of that, you have some wonderful leaders from B Lab continually looking to evolve what the requirements are to become and stay certified, and it really provides a great roadmap for how we can continue to improve individually as businesses, and as a community.
How do you think that being a B Corp can make a difference in how or what people buy?
I think that for brands in particular (and we have the research to back this up), consumers are really taking a more thoughtful approach to their purchasing decisions — especially the younger ones who’s purchasing power is just growing and growing. The information that’s accessible to them nowadays isn’t like anything that’s been available before, and that access is just going to continue to grow. As they continue to demand transparency in how what they’re buying is made, what’s it’s impact on the environment, how the workers are paid/treated, it’s the brands that have already worked in those values of focusing on the triple bottom line into their business that are going to prosper.
As more companies become Certified B Corps, the awareness of the certification is just going to continue to grow among consumers, and it’s going to continue to be a very easy identifier when it comes to helping a consumer make up their mind as far as which product to buy.
What do you think is the importance of being a B Corp for your customers?
I think for us, it’s not only a solid third-party validation. We really are walking-the-walk when it comes to how we conduct our business, but also that we’re genuine when it comes to talking about, and messaging about things like sustainability. We can really get in there and talk about these things on a campaign level, or communication strategy, and our clients and partners know that it’s something that we’re committed to.
How much does your business look to other B Corps as partners/suppliers?
We’re always looking for other B Corps to partner, and do business with. And that doesn’t even just apply to the services that we offer, or can partner with other B Corps to offer together, but it’s something that we’ve started to evaluate in things like our financial institutions, suppliers, etc. The more that we can work together towards the goals (Sustainable Development Goals), the better we can all affect positive change to a greater degree.
I love that the team at MaCher initially reached out to us to start a conversation (I genuinely appreciated that), and ever since that first call, it’s a company (and partner) that is truly open to collaboration and seeing how our two companies can be successful together. I’m truly thrilled at the opportunity that exists for us together, and how our complementary skill sets can affect change across the industries that we work across.
Do you have examples of how these types of collaborations can really drive change?
I don’t (yet), but I continually think back to a TEDx Talk that our Sustainability Expert Derek Sabori gave about the potential of a single domino to knock over a 33 story tower; a single domino falling over has 2x magnification power, and that it would only take 12 incremental steps to knock over a 33 story, stone tower. I’d like to think of us as one of those dominos (probably the first one), and that together we have the power to magnify the impact of each other to really topple over the old way of doing things, and create a path for a better future for all of us.
What are your key learnings from the process of becoming B Corp certified?
The process of getting certified definitely brought to light some key things that I didn’t put as much emphasis on, even though we were already doing them. Just the importance of documentation, and why that’s important as we grow. I also really appreciate the fact that through the impact analysis it gives business a roadmap for where to go, and how to improve.
What does the future look like for your business?
It’s one where we continue to leverage the relationships that we have, grow them, and continue to identify opportunities of how we can make a difference, all while running a successful business across all three bottom lines (people, plant, and profit).
Who is your sustainability hero?
It really has to be our Sustainability Expert/Partner, Derek Sabori. His knowledge across this field, and his honest answers of “It depends…” (and then why it does) are nearly unparalleled in his 20 years of experience. His openness to work with an excited, but very new to this arena, individual like myself has been such a welcome experience, and I’m excited to see where our combined talents are going to take us to in this year, and the ones ahead.
This article has been posted by MaCher to celebrate B Corp Month 2021 and build awareness of companies that meet the highest standard of verified social and environmental performance. For more information about Compose[d], please click here.