Athletz is one of the first B Corporation Pending certificate holders in the global sports sector.

CSR tends to provoke the same reaction as health & safety – we grudgingly accept it as part of modern corporate governance but sometimes think back to a time when it wasn’t a ‘thing’. As a result, many companies have a CSR policy sitting on a server somewhere, and in case someone asks or in case a due diligence, the request is received.

It doesn’t mean that companies don’t care about their social responsibilities, rather, far from it. It’s just that some dry policy, often written in legalese, don’t engage stakeholders to really look at the immense benefits that can result from balancing profit with purpose.

We admit we would have done exactly the same if it wasn’t for a chance meeting in the USA a couple of years ago. Nursing an espresso in Bend, Oregon we got talking to a weathered, friendly looking type kitted out head to foot in outdoor gear. Turns out he was a leader of 1 of the largest outdoor apparel brands in the world. He had just taken his organisation through the process to become a B Corporation & his enthusiasm was infectious.

A google search spotlights what a B Corporation is: They balance purpose and profit. They are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community & the environment. This is a community of leaders driving a global movement of people using businesses as a force for good, read it again to yourself, it’s quite a statement isn’t it!  

We thought one of the coolest things was that we didn’t need to be a non-profit or benefit structure to qualify, we could target profit but not in isolation. So, the seed for Athletz to somehow become part of this movement was born that day in Bend. The wider benefits of certification are significant. Your staff, customers & suppliers can immediately see the awareness you have for their needs and situation. 

Your investors can be assured that you are at the apex of modern business organisation & will notice that the profits growth track record for B Corp members is considerably higher than for most non-members. And when it comes, one day, to selling your business, your buyer can easily put their arms around your processes & commitment. You have to be doing business the right way through the audit trail created frequently to remain a B Corp certificate holder.      

Whilst developed for mature businesses, the folks over at B Corporation in Berwyn, Pennsylvania also have an entry point for newer businesses which they call B Corporation Pending. Essentially you go through the same processes to get certified as a developed firm but the accreditation looks to formally measure your expected behaviours to actual results after a year or so has elapsed.

What is that process: important to say here that this isn’t a 2 page application form + pay a fee and you’re in. Oh no, it took us a few weeks to even answer all the questions we were asked – hundred’s – many of which provoked debate here as to what we should, could or will do in areas we hadn’t even thought about before. But, for anyone motivated to apply, the process itself is enlightening as a way of auditing your CSR credentials.

Your answers are then analysed in fine detail with feedback and if you succeed in getting a score that enables progression to the next stage then the really big step comes. The legal constitution of your company must comply with a code that enshrines CSR in your culture. For most organisations, this means re-writing their constitution.

For us, we changed numerous paragraphs & had to re-submit a new legal document to the government registry. When all that is done, fingers crossed, you should be in, so, it’s not for the faint hearted, do expect the whole process to take a few months but take it from us it’s all worth it.

For our part, we were delighted to receive confirmation that we were certificated earlier this summer (2020) We’re led to believe that we are one of only a handful of sports sector recipients. Now, the hard work really starts – to live up to the billing that B Corporation Pending status sends to everyone we encounter every day.  

If you’re interested in our journey to B Corporation Pending status, reach out via live chat or email 24/7.

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