Given the context, you may think the obvious answer is Banqer, but if you said that you’d be wrong. Because today, B is for... Banqer becoming a Certified B Corporation.

Yup that’s right, we’re now officially a member of the B Corporation community, having formally gained our certification last week. This was the culmination of months of rigorous due diligence of our company undertaken by B Labs, scrutinising our social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

What is B Corporation?

Relevant question I guess. I think the simplest way to explain it is to say that B Corporation is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee. I stole that from their website, which is why I’m confident that’s the most straightforward way to explain it.

Worldwide there are currently 2,413 B Corporations. Meaning that 2,413 companies meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability, and aspire to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems. Again, stolen from their site, but this articulates what a B Corporation is well.

And Banqer is now New Zealand’s latest minted B Corporation, at number 14.

Why bother?

Everyone’s motivator for becoming a B Corporation will differ. For us it was simple. It was all about practicing what we preach. The profile of the social enterprise has been steadily rising and its gained a certain cachet. But as it stands, unlike becoming a registered charity, there is no regulation surrounding social enterprises. This allows any for-profit operation to call themselves a social enterprise and reap the benefits of such an association.

Having recently received CYFI endorsement we were confident of Banqer as a high quality educational offering, but how about Banqer the company?

As the old adage goes, ‘what gets measured gets done’. Or the version I prefer, ‘what gets measured matters, and what matters gets measured’. We thought we were performing in a way that aligned with what matters to us, but we weren’t sure. We didn’t have a rigourous way to measure our efforts against what is considered best practice by industry leaders. Actually we didn’t even know what best practice was in some situations.

Now I can tell you with certainty that we are behaving like the company we want to be, internally and externally.

We’re also connected with a bunch of other like-minded organisations and can set a collective example. And perhaps the best thing about our new certification is that our values now live within Banqer the entity, not just within the individuals that currently make up Banqer.

What now?

Nothing really. The great thing is that B Corporations become B Corporations because they truly believe in what being a B Corporations represents. That makes the ‘upkeep’ involved no extra burden. Although we were really pleased with our first report from B Labs, it also highlighted a few areas we could do better in. We’re pretty excited about making a few small and meaningful improvements at our end that will help us become the company we aspire to be.

Becoming a certified B Corporation made sense for us and what we want to become. I realise this won’t resonate with every for profit organisation out there, but if you’re curious about becoming one there are a bunch of resources on their website. We’re also really happy to talk to anyone embarking on the B Corporation certification journey who might have a few questions. Whether this is the first time you heard about them, or you’re mid application, drop us a line.