Our year as a B Corp: Looking back (and ahead)

Mar 1, 2024

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A year goes by a lot faster than you think – and we’re excited to share that it’s almost been 365 days since we became B Corp certified.

March is also B Corp month; an annual, global campaign where the community gets together to celebrate and raise awareness of the movement. The theme for 2024 is “This Way Forward”, showing that becoming a B Corp isn’t a destination but a journey. As individuals, communities, companies and a society as a whole, we’re all striving to be better. We’re works in progress, never the finished, perfect article. So, how are we doing since becoming certified?

Why we became certified

For businesses, it’s no longer ok to be ‘good enough’ and in order to make a change we must strive to do more. This means making tough decisions day in, day out. Companies that are measuring their environmental and social impacts are helping society to be a little bit nicer.

We resonated with the ethos of what it meant to be a B Corp – we felt that we were already doing a good job when it came to our employees, our clients and our impact. Obtaining the certification would both reinforce those beliefs, and also guide our business decision-making to align with those core values.

What our certification showed us

To become certified, you assess your company on how you’re doing and what you’ve already done against five categories. These are Governance, Workers, Community, Environment and Customers. Though we gained our certification with a score of 82.4, we scored better on some topics over others.

Our biggest area for improvement was ‘Environment’. Without a full understanding of our carbon footprint, there was a lot of work to be done – creating policies and gathering data to better inform us of our impact, whether at our shared office or working from home.

The Community category also required some improvement, score-wise. Despite offering a giving back day, whereby employees can spend a day volunteering, it was apparent that too few people knew of the initiative. With the help of some internal marketing, our team is now aware and have reaped the benefits of giving back to their community. Find out how some of them spent their days in this LinkedIn post.

As a neurodiverse and disabled female who has come from a background of working in and with charities and social enterprises, improving our score for community is close to my heart.

What we’ve achieved so far

In 2022/23, we made these pledges:

  • To be carbon neutral/positive by 2030
  • 100% certification for all employees in 2023
  • Become B Corp Certified in 2022 and Increase our score to 100 by 2025
  • Be a more inclusive and diverse workplace
  • Maintain an engaged and happy workforce with a score above 80% in our company engagement survey

Out of the above pledges, we’ve succeeded in nearly four out of five of these – we’ve become certified, we’ve achieved an above 80% employee engagement rate and we’ve become carbon neutral (more on that shortly). 97% of employees hold certifications and we’re slowly working on our diversity and how we can become more inclusive.

We are also still working hard on these and whilst it’s great to achieve them, we know that we’ll continue to be making progress. Some other areas that we’re focusing on, include:

Sustainability

Modern became carbon neutral in 2023. I feel like that statement will bring in a reader chorus of “but how?”, so let’s take a step back. The environment is a big, heavy, personal and political topic. It’s rumbled the media over the last few years with the rise of Extinction Rebellion, inspiring talks and documentaries by activists, and the data and action on sustainability by the global community.

At Modern, we began to work on our environmental progressions by collating data, creating policies, and talking to the team about how we can all help to be more sustainable as a business at home or in the office. To capture our environmental metrics, we use Seedling, a platform that helps you to measure, analyze, reduce and create impact.

Our biggest carbon challenge is how we can decrease emissions created by the purchases we make as a business on goods and services. These include the tools we use daily, the freelance suppliers we use for client work and even the clients we work with. Our next step is to audit our suppliers and usual purchasing websites to see what we can stop using and what new, more sustainable companies we can buy from.

Diversity

A subject that is close to my heart, and also to many of our team, we’ve  begun to work on diversity, equity and inclusion, very simply – by looking at ourselves. In 2023, I led a survey to collate our teams’ DE&I data so we could discover what our current baseline was and which identity categories we wanted to focus on to make us a more inclusive workforce.

The analysis and findings of the “Diversity at Modern” survey were shared in July 2023 at the summer edition of our employee event, ModFest. Results showed that we are a company that is:

  • 76% female
  • 90% white 
  • 85% heterosexual
  • 14% disabled
  • 18% neurodiverse.

At ModFest we asked the team “what does diversity mean to you?” and “what else could we do” using Mentimeter to visualise the results:

Word_Cloud

DEI_Suggestions_Team

Other things we’ve achieved in relation to diversity in 2023 are our partnership with Motherboard (which you can read about in our two blog posts on “why mothers matter” and “overcoming the motherhood penalty”), and becoming a Disability Confident employer (which you can read about in our “pledge to equal opportunities”). These will be continued into 2024, as well as doing the survey annually and working on using the data on us to improve our knowledge, recruitment and who we work with.

So, what’s next?

As we build on our work, our 2024 pledges are:

  • To be carbon positive by 2030
  • 100% certification for all employees in 2024
  • Increase our B Corp score to 100 by 2026 (when we have to recertify)
  • Be a more inclusive and diverse workplace, and
  • Maintain an engaged and happy workforce with an engagement rate above 80%

Specifically, we’re working to increase our diversity and community areas through devising a new strategy, conducting a focus group, creating a resource centre within our intranet and working with more social enterprises. As a company, we’ll continue to work hard to develop our sustainability, diversity and performance. We hope to connect with more B Corps to learn how they have evolved within these three topics and help other local businesses to understand the ethos of being better. Modern is always developing and I’m excited to see where we head next on our B Corp adventures.

Read our latest Impact Report to learn more about our B Corp progress.

Have any questions about our B Corp journey?
Get in touch.

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