David M. Brown
Recently, Ascent Employment Law made good on a major priority of its first year of business by applying for B-Corp certification. While we still have some work to do before finalizing this designation, we are very excited about the message and purpose our certification will communicate.
What is B Corp?
B Corps are increasing in numbers, but they remain rare. At its core, Certified B Corporations recognize the role of commerce in meeting our time’s most challenging issues and are actively engaged in contributing to solutions. By meeting stringent standards for social impact, environmental stewardship, stakeholder transparency and public accountability, B Corps commit time, energy and resources into building an economy that is inclusive, sustainable and responsible.
B Corps recognize the use of business as a positive force. They enshrine their purpose in their “Declaration of Interdependence”:
We envision a global economy that uses business as a force for good.
This economy is comprised of a new type of corporation – the B Corporation – which is purpose-driven and creates benefit for all stakeholders, not just shareholders.
As B Corporations and leaders of this emerging economy, we believe:
· That we must be the change we seek in the world.
· That all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered.
· That, through their products, practices, and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all.
· To do so requires that we act with the understanding that we are each dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations.
Using business as a force for good? Recognizing our individual and corporate responsibilities as changemakers and community leaders? Holding ourselves accountable for publicly stated values? These principles align perfectly with Ascent’s business philosophy.
Ascent is a values-forward organization. Our mission is to empower our clients through the application of our core values. Like any business, we want to be profitable, but we have also made commitments to our clients, our team, our communities, the environment and ourselves in alignment with our personal and corporate ethics.
B Corp certification helps us measure and communicate these commitments. While we would no doubt accomplish our social impact objectives without B Corp certification, the designation holds us accountable to ourselves and to the public we serve. It will support our largest projects, including carbon neutrality by 2025 and our 1-1-1 initiative (donating 1% of equity, product and profits).
B Corp certification is not entirely altruistic, however, as we also feel that it provides a strategic advantage that is fundamentally good for Ascent’s bottom line. We believe that B Corp status will enhance staff engagement and attract top talent. We also believe that we will attract like-minded business and individuals, allowing us to create exciting new client relationships for years to come.
The Road Ahead
While submitting our application was an important first step, our B Corp journey does not end here. Over the coming months we will undergo an extensive business audit to assess our business practices against B Corp’s stringent standards. While we are confident that we will succeed in obtaining our designation, certification is only the beginning.
We have built B Corp into our 10-year vision and into our 3-year strategic plan. We are committed to continuous improvement in sustainability, governance, transparency, workers’ rights and community impact. B Corp provides a map for us to follow on this road.