Emperor, an employee-owned creative communications consultancy, recently announced its certification as a B Corporation (or B Corp). It joins a growing group of companies using the power of business to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.
To help other agencies understand exactly what it takes to join this pretty esteemed club, Emperor decided to tell us its responsible business story and recommend where other agencies should start their own journeys to B Corp status.
Emperor’s journey to becoming a Certified B Corp started long before completing the B Impact Assessment (BIA). We needed to demonstrate that value creation is baked into everything we do – and that we have the track record to back it up.
Responsible business is one of Emperor’s strategic pillars – our commitment to business as a force for good overarches everything we do. It is key to our success because it ensures that we attract and retain likeminded clients who share our ambitions, and talented people who want to work with companies that share their values.
We believe in authenticity. B Corps must meet the highest standards of governance and social and environmental performance – and prove it. The rigorous BIA focuses on the business as a whole and asks 200+ questions covering five impact areas: Governance, Workers, Community, Environment and Customers.
We recommend that businesses of every shape and size to complete the BIA. It helps prioritise what you can do better and what will provide your business with the most value.
It’s a free tool for any business to use whether their end goal is certification or not. There are currently 150,000+ companies around the world using it to help inspire and inform their responsible business plans. The B Corp Certified community stands at 6,000+ and nearly 1,000 of them are in the UK.
The BIA was useful in pointing out areas for development, such as environmental performance, impactful supply chain management and creating a culture of belonging. We can already see the value of having taken action on these aspects over the past year.
For example, we have launched an environmental strategy, collected data on and committed to science-based targets, which is driving innovation in how we work. We have also established a positive purchasers programme and updated our policies and processes to ensure we partner with likeminded business; and our ED&I roadmap, co-created by our new Inclusion group, is driving new approaches and partnerships.
Central to becoming a B Corp is Mission Lock – committing in the company’s Articles of Association to creating value for all its stakeholders. Emperor has a strong track record on this.
For example, launching 12 pledges in 2017 which are a series of commitments to people, community and the environment. Our pledges include commitments, such as giving back to the community and charities, and developing our partners’ potential through learning and mentoring programmes. These pledges are deeply embedded into the way we do things at Emperor, and a visible part of our culture, reflecting an intrapreneurial spirit.
Another important part of our journey to B Corp was in January 2020, when we took the step to become employee owned – a distinctive move in the world of creative agencies. The input of our partners into the direction and success of Emperor is critical, and it’s what makes our business special and successful.
Beyond the annual financial reward of the partner dividend, employee ownership provides the inspiration for collectively making Emperor a success and this will continue to shape Emperor in the future.
Now we are B Corp Certified, we are keen to connect with this leading community of businesses driving a more inclusive, equitable and regenerative economic system and are looking forward to this next phase of our responsible business journey.