How does a small Glasgow fit-out contractor help improve the environment, diversity and the world?
SCENEGINEERING'S B CORP JOURNEY
We all get to an age and stage. By the time you get there and chuck out a couple of children and all the other good things that we do in life, you realise the importance of the impact you have on the world, not just the impact that you have on yourself.
When you run a business, and you impact lots of other people's lives—not just inside the company, but also all of our clients and all the people that we come across on our journey—you realise you’ve got a responsibility to do that in as sensitive and responsible a fashion as possible. The ethos of B corp is very much the way that I would like to be contributing to the world and people round about me.
We need to develop the business into that style of company. That's what I need to do as a person.
Everyone at SCENEgineering is of a similar mindset. They’re very keen to give when they can, and do what they can, to help other people.
WHAT IS B CORP?
Certified B Corporations are a new kind of business that balances purpose and profit. They are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. This is a community of leaders, driving a global movement of people using business as a force for good.—B Corp
We discovered B Corp after our client Bruichladdich became B Corp certified. For us, it wasn’t a new direction for the business—we were already seeking to become this style of company, and B Corp gave us a structure to help us achieve that.
WHAT’S DIFFERENT ABOUT B CORP?
We've got lots of industry certifications! Usually you just fill in the paperwork to apply for them and then they give you a sticker for your van and a bit of paper and charge you lots of money and that’s it. You're done. It means nothing and most of it's nonsense.
What’s different about B Corp is that the journey to becoming certified is more important than actually having certification. The moment you start, you're already doing something good. Similarly, even after you become certified, there are still 101 other things you can change to improve on what you’ve done—and continually improve. The bar is set so high that you're never going to score the magical 100% top score. It's just not not really practical. But it's great to be aiming for that.
WHAT’S CHALLENGING ABOUT B CORP?
Quite a lot of B Corp is really achievable if you're a big corporation with thousands of people, a huge budget and people dedicated to driving each of these policies. We're not. We're a small company with no budget and nobody to drive any of these policies. So our biggest challenge is going to be to find ways that we can still achieve good positive results on each of them but on a small business scale rather than a big corporation scale.
I have a weekly meeting with our friend Paula from Supertonic, because we're both going for B Corp and we decided that strength in numbers couldn’t be a bad thing. The two of us are working together. The way our businesses are structured is different and we each sit in a different place within the sector, so it's been good to see what other people are doing and see if any of it works for us, and learn how small businesses are dealing with this process compared to big corporations.
I do get the impression that it is designed for bigger businesses than ours. They tell you that it can work for anybody but there are some limits by definition—after all, if there's only one of you, then you can't have a diversity policy because you are who you are! But you can still achieve credit for attempting to change or add to policies. And as we become bigger, the hope is that we can do more.
The future’s a weird place at the moment. But in the midst of all the weird stuff that's going on, we’ve found that the people we work with consider our conduct and how we carry out our business to be as important as the quality of our products and services—if not more important.
So I think it's important, possibly more important than almost anything that we're doing at the moment, to push ourselves as far as we can. Now is as good a time as any to try to improve people's lives and what we can do.