We were recently introduced to an inspiring movement that aims to encourage businesses to be extremely profitable, while striving to make a positive impact on the world in all that they do. This movement is called B Corp, and learning about what they stand for, is one way your events can make the world a little better. Watch this quick little introduction video to get an idea of what we’re talking about.
We were excited to hear that one of our clients, Sydney-based, AV1, have recently become the first AV & Production Company in the world to be B Corp certified [that’s a huge achievement!].
Not only have AV1 been leaders in our industry for many years, this recent action towards global betterment shows they want to have an impact that reaches far wider than their latest hi-tech projector.
As event organisers, we have a responsibility and power to influence our events.
To find out more, we caught up with AV1’s Operations Manager, Nathan Murray. We take a look at what it means to AV1 to become a B Corp certified company, how this impacts on their client’s events and how you can get involved too.
1. What inspired AV1 to become a certified B Corp business?
In December 2015 we were involved in Purpose – a conference created by Wildwon Projects, a Sydney-based experience agency.
I was lucky enough to attend and was introduced to the idea of purpose-driven business and B Corps in one of the breakout sessions.
After hearing about the great things commercial businesses were doing to make a more positive impact in the world, and realising that AV1 already valued many of the things that make a company a B Corp, we were inspired to start the certification process.
Becoming certified was a way to solidify the positive things AV1 were already doing and to encourage us to make further changes in the areas our staff are passionate about.
2. What does it mean to your business now that you have the accreditation?
It’s great to have a tangible outcome for a goal we can all celebrate and get behind. We see it as a starting point rather than an end goal. It’s a framework we can measure ourselves against, which keeps us in check and making progress towards a better future.
We were very proud when we got accredited as the whole process took over 8 months. We are up for reassessment in a year so our next goal is to improve our score by taking bigger steps forward.
3. At the core of B Corp’s principles, they hope that one day all businesses will not only compete to be the best in the world, but be the best FOR the world. What is AV1 doing to achieve this goal?
To achieve certification, we had to meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability.
We have improved our environmental policies (something which is not easy for a technology company) and is an area that we are always working on. We are an inclusive employer and have zero tolerance for discrimination. We treat our employees, clients and community well. And we give back, getting involved in many community projects throughout the year.
We’re also looking to spread the word on B Corps and purpose-driven business, in the hope that we inspire others to get involved. We want to lead by example and show others in our industry that creating positive change goes hand-in-hand with running a profitable business.
4. Now that AV1 is a certified B Corp, should clients expect anything new and/or different from AV1?
Our values have always aligned very closely with those of a B Corp, so there won’t be too much change to our core. Most that know us already know that we are people who love events and love life.
Being certified means our clients are assured that we’ve met stringent criteria to achieve third party accreditation, excelling in transparency, inclusiveness, governance, social and environmental responsibility.
Our production line has been vetted and we now think differently when making supply chain decisions.
5. A big part of the accreditation relates to your company culture. What is it about AV1’s team that makes it B Corp worthy?
We pride ourselves on our culture. We celebrate individuality and this lets personalities shine through.
Treating each other like humans and hiring people for their personality and values more than their skills creates an environment which both staff and clients want to be a part of.
AV1 is also very supportive of the things its staff are passionate about. When somebody feels fulfilled and free to pursue their passions then they’ll go that extra mile for the team.
AV1’s culture is driven by the values of its staff, so when the team were introduced to the work B Corps were doing, it was a no-brainer to get involved.
6. B Corp isn’t just a certification, it’s a growing community of like-minded businesses. What have you learnt from networking with other B Corp members?
To truly affect change, it’s best to team up. It’s so inspiring to see all the different types of companies out there doing amazing work.
Recently, I attended the inaugural Champions Retreat – a conference designed for Aussie B Corps to come together to find more ways to create change. I came away in awe of the truly international reach of the B Corp community.
From the USA to Holland, Canada to England, South America to Taiwan, B Corps are having an impact around the world. Interestingly, Victoria has the most B Corps in Australia, so NSW needs to up its game!
From networking with other B Corps, it’s clear how important it is to be profitable. Unlike non-profits, B Corps aim to be highly profitable in order to have greater power to affect change and increase their impact.
7. Why should more event suppliers work towards this accreditation?
The more businesses that build purpose into their DNA, the better the outcome for all of us.
The events industry can be quite disposable. So much is temporary and designed for one time use. There is a great opportunity here to increase sustainability – whether it’s a stage or set, waste reduction, sustainable packaging or ethically sourced food and beverage. As event organisers, we have a responsibility and power to influence our events.
There is a growing awareness from clients about social impact – not just environmental. Many clients now seek suppliers with B Corp certification, so we would encourage all event suppliers to look into becoming a B Corp.
Benefits for your business itself are also a big consideration. Competitive advantage, opening up new markets and attracting and retaining good staff are just some to note.
8. How can businesses get involved?
Head to the B Corp website [www.bcorporation.net] and click on “Measure What Matters”. It’s a free and confidential assessment that will show you how close (or far) you are from reaching the 80 / 200 score needed to become certified. You can also compare your score with the current B Corps.
If you’re not able to become certified yourself, you can still help the cause by using certified suppliers, support other B Corps and spreading the word.
Also ask a B Corp! We’re happy to help and there are a bunch of B Corps that are happy to mentor.
B Corp certified companies working in events and hospitality in Australia…
AV1 and Wildwon Projects, are currently the only Australian companies working directly in the events industry that are currently certified. However, listed below are a selection of companies that host regular events or supply to the hospitality industry:
• The School of Life (they host events and workshops) Mel + Syd
• The Story Boxes (Video Production Company)
• 4 Pines Brewing Company (Sydney – Food & Beverage)
• Stone & Wood Brewing Company (Byron Bay – Food & Beverage)
• Reho Travel (Melbourne – Travel Management)