Pearl Consulting first certified as a B Corp in February 2017 with a score of 85.6. This was a great moment for us to celebrate our collective achievement and enjoy stepping into the B Corp community as the 4th B Corp in Singapore and one of the first 10 B Corps in Southeast Asia.
We treasure that moment as it was a significant milestone on our own impact journey. However, the B Corp framework is robust and requires recertification every three years.
This is to ensure that every B Corp maintains the highest standards in line with the five pillars of: customers, governance, workers, community and environment.
Using business as a force for good is an ongoing commitment that both motivates and drives us towards continuous improvement. When we recertified in March 2021 and had been awarded an additional 8.6 points on the B Impact Assessment (BIA), we were delighted our focused efforts and hard work had been recognised.
In this article, I’d like to share a few insights drawn from our experience on the B Corp journey and the story behind how we improved our BIA score.
There were four key focus areas of improvement across the business which resulted in the majority of the increased score: mission lock, workers, procurement and our charitable giving model.
Mission lock: B Corp supports legal recognition to reinforce a company’s pledge to create value for all stakeholders, not just shareholders. This is called ‘mission lock’ and is explained by B Lab as:
At Pearl Consulting, the B Corp legal requirement was implemented across the business. The purpose of our company is to create a net positive impact on people and planet. This has always been at the core of our company’s DNA, but it is now written into our articles of incorporation and embedded into the highest form of corporate governance.
Workers: Our talented global team of consultants are a precious resource. It is imperative that we build a nurturing culture with a learning mindset that supports their health and well-being, alongside their personal and professional development. To build on our work to date, we ramped up our skills-based and life-skills training and cross-job training. We’ve also developed an extensive model for employee performance feedback which includes peer and subordinate input. And during the pandemic, we made stress management and mental health counselling services available to all our team for free.
Procurement: We leverage our spend and put in the additional effort to identify values aligned mission-driven businesses to procure from. These may be owned by underserved and/or underrepresented individuals or groups, or they may operate a business model which provides opportunities for individuals from underrepresented communities.
Charitable giving commitment: As well as a pro bono programme supporting mission-driven organisations aligned with our values, we also significantly increased our charitable giving and are committed to donating over 20% of our annual profits to non-profit organisations. Our consultants nominate charities in their communities and the markets we serve; from which identify a shortlist to support. In 2020, we donated over USD $130K+ to 25+ charities, far exceeding our commitment to donate 20% of profit. Additionally, during the pandemic, we witnessed the negative impact that Covid-19 had on Small & Medium Businesses (SMBs) in the communities we served. In the light of this, we launched an innovative grants model to support them. Every consultant was allocated USD $500 to support a local SMB of their choice. Our team engaged deeply with the process and took great time and effort to thoughtfully distribute the grant pot of USD $13K+. The magic part of this for me was hearing all the stories of the positive impact the grants created and, in some cases, the ripple effect of others being inspired to make a difference on the back of this too.
The B Corp framework provides us with a blueprint for what it means to be a responsible business, informing and challenging us to continually experiment with and embrace new ways of using business as a force for good. Many of these best practices have now become business as usual for us. Whether or not pursuing B Corp certification is right for your company, if you are looking for ideas on how to make sure you are growing your business in a responsible way, I encourage you to look into the B Corp framework as a useful and practical guide for your impact journey: