Published 24.03.2024  •  3 min read

Why B Corp?

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Johnny Kelly, Managing Director and co-founder of Wove and AAD reflects on why we chose to join the B Corp community and our journey so far.

Where did you first hear about or come across B Corp?

It’s something that I have been aware of for several years, but I can’t really pinpoint where or how I first came across it. More than likely, it was the back of a pot of Ben and Jerry’s, a Patagonia label, or something like that.

What were your motivations or reasons for applying?

There were a few. I’m always motivated by a new challenge, and Kevin Horan, our Digital Director at the time, expressed doubt that we could get certified as quickly as I was hoping for. So thank you for that, Kevin.

But the main reason is that as a business, we’ve always been genuinely serious about trying to make a positive impact on the world. That is something that can be difficult to express in the right way, in a way that feels authentic and actually truthful. On top of this, we’ve always been advocates for show don’t tell.

So I had an impression that the process of gaining B Corp certification was difficult. And my thinking, however flawed it was, was that by even just attempting the process, it would be a valid expression of this aim. To make a positive impact.

It’s maybe a little bit like committing to do a marathon. Maybe for some reason you can’t complete the actual race. But the process of training for it is an achievement in its own right. And if you get to complete the race or get B Corp certified, that’s just the icing on the cake.

When did the journey begin?

It began around September 2022, when I attended a seminar hosted by Andy HawkinsSarah Blake, and Graham Gillen. It was an introduction to the submission process, and it was really, really valuable. I went on to do a course hosted by them which helped you begin your submission process, gave you lots of tips and advice, so I would highly, highly recommend undertaking that course.

How did you find working with B Corp and the process?

Overall — really great. The online submissions platform Bimpactassessment.net, is nice and simple to use. The way they’ve structured the questions and all the related resources does a great job of helping you not only move through the submission itself, but also think about your business and what changes you could be making to it to make an even bigger positive impact.

And what was your biggest learning?

In many ways we were already acting like a B Corp but that we lacked the structures and frameworks necessary to shift from acting LIKE one to fundamentally being one. My second was learning what these structures and frameworks were. The assessment process help you identify them and then go about further researching and implementing them.

And last question, what would you like to see happen over the next 3 years, within wove and aad, and the wider community.

For wove or aad, I would just like us to continue to grow as a B Corp by introducing new ways of working or policies or benefits and the like. When you get certified you are given whats called an Impact Score. And the idea is that everytime you re-certify, every 3 years, you aim to increase that score. I’d like to see us increase the score with every certification process. So unfortunately no kicking back and resting on our laurels.

And then for the wider community, and here I mean the business community, I would just like to see more organisations become B Corps. Right now there are actually only 27 B Corps in Ireland, which is insane! Over time then, what’s considered today as maybe more exceptional business behaviour just becomes the norm, like normal business practice. Maybe in the future you don’t have to be B Corps you just need to care about what’s happening in the world because you’re a human, and try to use your businesses for good. I think that’s about it.