#ThisWayForward. Why we pursued B Corp certification

By Rebecca Vogel and Lisa Mattes

March is B Corp month and it marks White Marble Consulting’s first as a certified B Corp. To celebrate this milestone, we wanted to share a bit about why we decided to pursue certification and the steps we have taken over the last year to be a better business. The theme for 2024 is ‘This way forward’, a sentiment that beautifully captures our ethos of looking to the future and our evolution as a business with purpose.  

  1. A framework for growth 

As we approach our 10th year, the B Corp framework provides an outline for White Marble’s growth at this critical stage of our development. B Corp certification means lots of different things to different businesses and through the certification process we were able to find out what doing good means specifically for us. It’s an ongoing process of answering the following question “How can we be meaningful to our employees, clients and community in a way that that feels true to White Marble’s culture?” 

With our anniversary this summer and a growing US business, we are evolving into a mature company that is fit and ready for the next decade of our journey. The work we undertook to reach the threshold required for B Corp certification, and our ongoing efforts to prepare for recertification in two-and-a-half years’ time, provided a blueprint for our growth. 

B Corp Certification isn’t a destination. It’s an invitation to join the journey to better business. 

B Lab, the organisation behind B Corp, describes the community as a ‘perpetual work in progress’. This sentiment fully aligns with how we at White Marble think about the role B Corp plays in our evolution and the role we have to play in contributing to the B Corp community. All employees of a B Corp have access to an online platform called the B Hive where they can reach out to like-minded businesses for help with, among other things, resources and support.  

It’s not just about connecting with fellow B Corps, however. Certification also requires each company to consider the role it plays in its own community. In the case of White Marble, it’s about how we contribute to the wider investment industry.    

  1. Accountability

The cadence of annual impact reporting and the re-certification timeline helped us set milestones across all areas of the company. These include, but are not limited to, corporate social responsibility, net zero ambitions, initiatives to increase transparency, and accountability on environmental and social factors across our industry.  It remains a helpful roadmap for how we operate as a business (and one that we keep checking in on).  

The accountability provided by the B Corp community and B Lab ensure that long-term considerations remain a priority even when shorter term considerations risk overwhelming business planning.  

While the majority of the benefits we have experienced from the certification process have been internal, there are also undoubtedly external benefits as well. Data from B Lab UK shows that certified companies outperform when it comes to revenue growth, investment levels and employee retention. Research suggests that employees, especially those currently entering the workforce, care more about the environmental and social activities of potential employers, and the B Corp framework is a useful starting point for both jobseekers and recruiters to ensure they find a good fit.  

  1. Future fit 

The B Impact Assessment, the mechanism by which companies apply for B Corp status, is also a useful tool to help existing B Corps companies measure and improve their progress across the five keys areas of governance, workers, community, environment and customers.  

The continual evolution of the assessment ensures that every B Corp recertifies against an  evolved set of criteria compared to initial certification. B Lab are currently working on the next update which, by all accounts, will constitute the most significant evolution in the impact assessment to date. This continued raising of the bar means that we always have a view on the future of standards for responsible and purposeful businesses, giving us the opportunity to stay ahead of the curve and evolve our business to remain future fit.  

  1. Stakeholder mindset 

The very premise of B Corp is about considering all stakeholders of a business, which forms the basis of the legal requirements to achieve certification.  

For White Marble this means focusing our attention on those less visible, prompting us to think about how the decisions we make can have influence on the communities in which we operate, as well as our clients and colleagues.  

It also encompasses our wider industry, beyond our traditional client base. As a business and as individuals, we passionately believe in raising standards across our industry – from authenticity of branding to transparency of reporting. Achieving this requires engaging with our peers, as well as regulators and standard setters, globally.  

So what’s next? 

We look forward to publishing our first impact report in August where we will share an update on the commitments we have made across the five impact areas outlined above, and how we have progressed to date. We are also keeping an eye on, and engaging with, the ongoing consultations from B Lab regarding updates to the Impact Assessment and look forward to mapping our progress against the new standards in due course. Joining conversations with other B Corps in our industry on this, and other topics, continues to be an invaluable exercise.