|Jackie Herskovitz Russell|
Years ago, a CEO of a large, prestigious, Boston-based PR firm had a perplexed look on her face when she asked me, how can a B Corp Certified PR firm, which represents only nonprofit organizations and responsible companies, make money?
That was before Conscious Capitalism and Sustainable Brands became a thing.
But even as business has evolved to the point where today the largest Wall Street firms promote the financial value of companies that operate with purpose at their core, questions remain about how a PR firm can compete when one of its primary objectives is to be a conscious business itself.
The answer is really a trifecta: It’s getting easier. It takes a commitment. The rewards go beyond revenue.
Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability.
They have a triple bottom line that focuses on People, Planet and Profit. All three are important and are considered with nearly every decision a B Corp makes—from where it sources supplies, to the benefits it provides to employees and the integrity of its leadership.
In order to become a Certified B Corp, a firm must report on key areas of its operation including governance, relationship with employees, environmental impact, community involvement and connection to customers.
The certification process is extremely educational and encourages a company to take stock of, and accountability for, its place in the world.
And the benefits of being a B Corp PR firm are many. As part of the “Business As A Force For Good” movement, you become an insider at a very cool club made up of likeminded business owners and employees with aligned values and a shared commitment to accountability.
Also, it’s helpful to have rules by which to operate. The B Corp certification process provides guidelines that take the guesswork out of the operations manual. Like what percentage of employee healthcare insurance to pay, how to choose vendors, and from whom to source environmentally sound cleaning supplies.
The guidelines look at the pay range to ensure the highest paid employee is within sight of the lowest paid employee. They encourage business owners to check their heating and air conditioning systems for efficiency.
While other sustainable and conscious business groups are great for marketing and business development, the B Corp movement brings numbers and real facts and figures to the equation.
Certified B Corps draw talent, as a younger workforce wants to be employed by companies with purpose. The B Corp Certification is like a seal of approval for those who want to work with a company, which through its products, practices and profits, aspires to do no harm and benefit all.
Finally, by working with only responsible and sustainable companies, PR professionals learn a lot about how to communicate value in an evolving marketplace.
There are obstacles to overcome and minds and hearts to be won. Educating the public to the real value of sustainable businesses and products is half the fun and most of the reward.
We cannot rely on government and nonprofits to make the critical changes necessary to mitigate climate change, end systemic generational poverty, or assist with any number of critical issues in the world today. With its capital and power, business can have an outsized and positive influence over society.
This is where the real reward of being a B Corp Certified PR firm comes into play. By representing and promoting only companies and organizations that are making the world better, we know our efforts are going toward solutions.
While this peace of mind is as good as money in the bank, as the sustainable business movement grows, more businesses are in need of PR firms with appropriate expertise, which leads to … money in the bank.
To see how your company would rate, take the free B Corp Assessment.
Jackie Herskovitz Russell is the Founder and President of Teak Media + Communication, which has been a certified B Corp since 2013.