The 17th May 2018.
The day we signed the Declaration of Interdependence.
The day we officially became a B Corp certified company.
The day we joined a global group of organisations with one unifying goal:
Use business as a force for good.
Why we became B Corp
The drive behind what we do, and what we offer at Invivo, is to help restore human ecology.
Modern medicine can have a huge impact on global resources and biodiversity, yet our health is co-dependent on the health of our environment. Becoming B Corp is not just a moral commitment to drive positive change, it is legally impregnated throughout every aspect of the company, as set out in our Articles of Association.
It was a natural progression for us.
I suppose it started a long time ago after reading The Responsible Company back in 2014, written by Yvon Chouinard (the founder of Patagonia). It was hugely inspiring and defined the responsibilities that business has towards their community, employees and the environment. It aligned with my own personal views, but it made me consider these in the context of business.
Humphrey Bacchus, Invivo MD
Probe. Probe. And probe some more. What it takes to become B Corp certified
Firstly, we hired Kath Child, our Environment and Sustainability Officer and set her first task from day one: B Corp certification.
Starting the B Impact Assessment was like turning over every stone within Invivo. Despite already having these core values in place, we quickly realised that we were blind to so many key aspects of the business.
Taking Invivo through the B Impact Assessment (an online tool that assesses a company's overall social and environmental performance) is like being a private detective. Investigating evert aspect of the company and asking questions about every discovery. I had a good starting point as Invivo has a very engaged and ethical management, and they gave me a clear brief not to shy away from any difficult issues or questions I might encounter.
Kath Child, Environmental & Sustainability Officer
We had to ask a lot of our team, suppliers and partners to get the answers needed for our assessment. However, in doing so, we have been the instigators of a wonderful ripple effect. We have raised awareness of important environmental considerations with just about everyone we deal with, from the companies we buy our tea and coffee from, our lab and nutraceutical partners, to our printing and packaging suppliers. Everyone. In the office, it has become a natural step in our thought making process to consider the environmental implications of our choices and actions. We hope this is the same for everyone we spoke with, because you know what, there is something that feels right and proper about that. It feels responsible.
One of the biggest challenges was the audit of our nutraceutical supply chain. Facing the inconvenient truth of the impact on local environments, of the carbon footprint, and of depleting resources, was a hard pill to swallow. We now have a stricter selection criterion in place, and always look to source more locally, or if needs be, find alternatives.
Internally, we have increased the transparency around company performance, which has only made us a stronger and even more aligned towards our mission as a unified team. We have introduced employee shareholder schemes and ethical pension provisions, and we have committed to real living wages for everyone that works for us.
For our community, we have lots of exciting plans to give back and help society flourish. We’re talking grass-roots health initiatives, internships, charity work and much more. We’d also love you to be part of the journey and to support your local ‘ecosystem’ too. If we have the pleasure of hosting an event in your neck of the woods, we’ll give back by donating some funds to local grass-roots initiatives. Our way of saying thanks.
“B Corp has given us is an understanding of our impact, both local and within our community, as well as global. This is as empowering as it is humbling. It is a source of pride and a huge motivator for making further positive developments in the future. We will forever seek to improve and to use our business as a force for good.”Humphrey Bacchus
Why do B Corps matter?
As a certified B Corp, we are part of a leading global movement redefining success in business. The ‘B’ stands for benefit, signifying our business benefits all stakeholders, including our team, our community and the environment. We do this by voluntarily meeting higher standards of transparency, accountability, social and environmental performance and sustainability.
By choosing a B Corp certified company, you can confidently distinguish sincere values from superficial marketing. It means that your purchase is helping a company who are not interested in short-term profits at the expense of the planet and community, but who are in it for the long-haul, to make a positive impact on the world, and inspire future generations. This is a new way of doing business, and as the first B Corp in our sector in Europe, we’re hoping to inspire more companies to join us.
And it is needed.
One of the biggest obstacles - full stop - are carbon footprints. This is certainly a big one for the healthcare industry. Targets have been set to reduce emissions by at least 80% from 1990 to 2050 in the UK. We need to be 35% of the way there by 2020. If everyone on the planet was to share the impact and be allocated a ‘fair share’ of carbon emissions, each person should have a footprint of 1.05 tonnes by the year 2050. We brought this into context with an internal team assessment. The ‘winner’ was 7 tonnes and it was because they hadn’t travelled abroad. So, there’s a long way to go.
Carbon neutrality. Zambezi Redd+ Project: protecting 40,126 hectares in Lower Zambezi
Deforestation represents a highly significant threat to our climate, air quality and also biodiversity. Zambia is one of the most forested countries in Africa, yet it is a global hotspot for deforestation, losing 300,000 hectares of forest each year. Home to one of Africa's largest populations of Elephant, this Park also provides habitat to species including Lions, Leopards and Antelope.
We chose to offset our carbon footprint with the Zambezi Redd+ Project.
This project works with 8,300 people to prevent deforestation by creating community development projects and new markets, including development of infrastructure, health and sanitation, education and farming, to promote forest conservation.
The project is also helping to mitigate deforestation and alleviate poverty, the rate of which is currently 88%. Again, conservation farming and improving infrastructure is a large part of this goal, but additionally, they are creating sustainable employment opportunities in areas such as sustainable charcoal production and honey production.
This project spoke to us because it concomitantly benefits community, climate and biodiversity. It is an ecosystem perspective that resonates perfectly with our own mission at Invivo.
Our future as a B Corp
The B Corp process has opened our eyes. We are far from being a ‘responsible’ company, but we have taken some pretty big steps in the right direction. It doesn’t stop there though. Every three years we will be evaluated for re-certification by B Corp to ensure we continue to meet their strict criteria. There is lots of work to be done. It will be a process that does not end.
“We have now certified for the first time, but it feels like just the beginning of a much longer journey where we constantly have to question how we operate our business, and at the same time listen to how the community responds.”Kath Child
With your support of B Corp companies, we have the power to make a real difference.