Read This Before Becoming a B Corp

Happy B Corp month! This March we’re highlighting B Lab’s #WeGoBeyond campaign to encourage businesses to think beyond profit. Every business owner has the option to take action and transform the economic system. Why simply be another company when you can be a company that’s leaving a legacy of positive impact?

While iBec Creative didn’t become B Corp Certified until 2022, we’ve always been making big strides toward positive community and environmental impact. Although the process of gaining that official stamp of certification can appear overwhelming, we encourage everyone who’s interested to simply begin the process and take things one step at a time. We hope this tell-all with Becky McKinnell, owner and CEO of iBec AND accomplished B Corp Certification recipient, instills you with the confidence you need to take the first step toward making change.

Becky McKinnell (owner and CEO of iBec Creative) speaking at a MaineBiz forum event

In your own words, what does being a B Corp mean to you?

“I believe that having a purpose-driven company is the way of the future. The more businesses that refocus their mission beyond profits and focus on their stakeholders–– not just shareholders––create a more just and equitable society. I’m so proud that iBec is a B Corp because it means that we have proof that we’re a force for good. I’ve always cared about creating a great place to work, having a best-in-class client experience, giving back to our community, and making sure that we are a steward of our environment, but there wasn’t formality to it. Using the B Corp guidelines has given us a common language and framework to measure our positive impact and participation with other businesses who also care about being a force for good.”

Do you remember when you first learned about B Corp Certification? What was your first impression of it?

“I first learned about B Corps from Ben and Jerry’s. I love their ice cream (Phish Food is my favorite!) and have always admired their fun branding. When I learned they were a B Corp, I started looking into it more and realized other companies I knew and respected like Patagonia were B Corps. My first impression was that B Corp Certification was only for manufacturing companies so I didn’t think it was a possibility for iBec. Later on, I learned that a local financial planning company had received their B Corp certification and it prompted me to look into it more for iBec!”

Why did you decide to certify?

“It is really important to me to have proof and action behind my words. No matter how much I talk about iBec being “good,” I felt like I was lacking proof and an action plan.  I wanted a way to measure our impact currently, but also see where our gaps are, where we can do even better, and how we ranked against other companies.”

What was the process for obtaining B Corp certification like?

“The process took about 18 months from start to finish. A group of us worked together to complete our B Impact Assessment in 2 months. Luckily we had a lot of documentation already in our handbook so we could use that as a reference point for many of our answers. There were some areas that took extra research; like the environmental impact. Even though we’d been off-setting our carbon for the past few years, we needed to adjust our calculations to align with how B Corp measures emissions. 

Once we had our B Impact Assessment submitted it took about a year to get assigned an Assessor. Our Assessor worked with us over the next few months to review in detail the proof and documentation behind each of our answers so that they could validate our score. It took a lot of work to make sure everything was perfect. For example, tracking our volunteer and pro bono time. But now we have these tools in place and keep them up to date moving forward.”

What are you most proud of that iBec accomplished in order to qualify for certification?

“I’m most proud of our results for our customer stewardship, which is the area of the assessment that we scored the highest. We’ve put a lot of effort into delighting our clients, being really transparent with reporting metrics, and surveying our clients often to make sure they’re happy and see where we can improve. We take a lot of pride in making sure we’re continually delivering results and helping them make an even more meaningful impact.”

iBec team members from our beach clean-up outing in 2022

How have things changed for iBec since becoming certified?

“It is fun to talk with customers or people in the community that already know about B Corps. When they hear that iBec is one, they say things like, “Oh wow, you’re a B Corp! That’s so cool–I already feel like I know you a bit better and can immediately trust your business.” At the same time, I am surprised by how many business people I talk to don’t know what a B Corp is. I’m always happy to tell our story and raise awareness about B Corps!”

Has being a B Corp changed your perspective on business ownership at all?

“Being a B Corp hasn’t changed much in how I lead iBec day to day.  Big picture, I strive to be the best I can be in everything I do. Now that we have a way to measure our positive impact, I’m motivated to keep evolving to see how we can continuously be better and do more for our customers, our employees, our community, and the environment.”

What do you see for the future of iBec’s B Corp certification?

“You have to recertify your company every 3 years; so our next recertification will be in July of 2025. I’m looking forward to seeing the improvements that we’re making now at iBec increase our score even more in a few years!”

Do you have any words of wisdom for companies out there that are looking to get certified?

“Even if B Corp Certification is something you don’t want to do right now, take some time to check out the B Impact Assessment. It doesn’t cost anything to take it.  It will help you start thinking about ways to measure your positive impact and what sort of documentation, systems, and processes you need to create for your future certification. The process can be long and have its ups and downs, but it is worth it in the end!”

Violet, one of iBec’s Social Responsibility team members, volunteering with Cultivating Community

Thoughts from the team: What does working for a B Corp mean to you?

Chelsea Pullan

“Working for a B‑Corporation means being a part of something larger than myself. Working at iBec means that we’re working hard to create amazing work for our clients and financial health for our company and employees but it also means that we’re working hard to make a positive impact on the environment and community around us.”

Sean Brousseau

“I am proud that iBec is a B‑corp — it strongly aligns with my personal values!”

Jen MacLeod

“It inspires me to pay more attention to my own impact on the earth. I feel proud that I work for a company that values trying to make a difference.”

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