After a two-year accreditation process we were elated to become the first independent media agency to join B Corporation. We proudly displayed our B Corp plaque in our reception area for all to see and added the logo to our email signatures. We were informed our next review would be in three years. But we didn’t have time for a break, we knew our accreditation was just the beginning.
We reminded ourselves why we embarked on the rigorous, time consuming, (at times, exhausting) process. Yes, the perks are huge; talent retention, recruitment appeal, cost savings, and attracting like-minded clients to name a few, but for us this isn’t a box ticking exercise. We truly want to be a business that upholds the highest standards of ethics whilst making a substantial difference to the world. And we want to take our people with us on the journey.
So, we created ESG forums across the agency covering subjects such as the environment, carbon neutrality and diversity and inclusion to join our already active teams in wellness, outreach and culture. We set over 30 goals to complete before the end of 2022 which cover everything from improving our parental policies, to using more green suppliers, to offering our training programme and work experience placements to young people in the local community. Our ‘green team’ helps to keep day to day environmental matters, such as reducing meat consumption in business meetings, at the forefront of our business by using our understanding of behavioural science, to combine making environmental behaviour easy through using environmentally beneficial default options, with creating new social norms to ensure we shift behaviour long term to reduce the negative impact running an office can have on the environment.
We also set bigger picture goals including aiming to increase the number of women and Black and Minority Ethnic employees we have in senior positions across the business and to foster an inclusive culture to attract, retain and develop employees of all underrepresented groups.
We challenged ourselves against industry standards. For example, as an industry, target deadlines are being set for 2030 to achieve significant levels of carbon neutrality. We believe we can operate and run a carbon neutral agency group by 2025, 5 years earlier than the IPA’s target. This will be achieved though smarter, more sustainable practices and suppliers, along with considered investment in offsetting solutions.
We encouraged our people to challenge us if they felt we could be performing better operationally. Why is that process not paperless? Why are we flying to see that client? Could we do more? A recent Campaign survey revealed that 23% of agencies are turning down work with industry partners if they didn’t meet sustainability criteria. We need to make sure no stone is left unturned, and the B Corp framework is ideal for just that purpose.
But it isn’t all hard work…
Often the projects are incredibly rewarding and having a sense of social purpose can make coming to work all the more worthwhile. Our B Corp accreditation and outreach projects featured heavily in a recent internal survey of the best things about working at Total Media. All Total Media employees have two charity days to use each year on projects that matter to them. We encourage one of the days to be used with our outreach partner, the Young Westminster Foundation, a charity who support local young people between 0 – 25 years old via their 100+ members including youth clubs, social enterprises, and not-for-profit organisations. We have worked with them on various projects, from reducing serious youth violence within Westminster to fundraising by using artwork from local youth clubs as NFT’s.
At times, the stats can feel overwhelming and faced with so many global crises it can seem impossible to know where to start to fix the mess. But whether you use a framework like B Corp or speak to the people around you and start with what makes them most passionate, even the small changes can make big differences.
Use less plastic, ditch the car, shop local or go the whole way and overhaul your business model to ensure you are balancing environmental and social matters with making profit. As B Corporation say, “we must be the change we seek in the world… we are each dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations.”