Europe’s First Geospatial B.Corp
Space4Good joining the likes of Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s in becoming a certified Benefit Corporation
We finally did it! On the 7th December 2021, Space4Good became a certified B. Corporation and the first geospatial one in Europe. What is a so-called “B.Corp”? you might ask and, why is this such a big deal? Read on =)
A B(enefit) Corporation certification is a designation that a business is meeting high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials. In order to achieve certification, a company must:
Demonstrate high social and environmental performance
Make a legal commitment by changing their corporate governance structure to be accountable to all stakeholders, not just shareholders
Exhibit transparency by allowing information about their performance measured against B Lab’s standards to be publicly available
Triodos Bank (a certified B.Corp since 2015 puts it simply):
“B Corp is to business what Fairtrade certification is to coffee. Certified B Corporations do business in a particular way. Rather than operating purely to generate profit, they prioritise working for social and environmental good.”
When we heard about this certification back in 2017, a lot of things we were considering about our organization and community structure finally came together! While Space4Good’s primary objective is to put our geospatial skills and experience into the best possible use for our environment and society. We knew that we can leverage commercial interests in our work to better support non-commercial actors who are usually unable to afford and engage with geospatial services. Accordingly, Space4Good was incorporated from the very beginning back in 2017 with the B.Corp requirements in mind, forming the strategic, operational and legal foundation of our “Impact First” principle.
Image 2: B. Corp Impact Score of Space4Good.
You might think that this is just yet another label. and Iin a way you are correct. There are hundreds, if not thousands of organisations out there who are impact first while not being a certified B. Corp. Actually, Space4Good did the same between 2017 and 2020! We had our work and partnership approach speak for us as well as the communities we joined such as Impact Hub, Humanity Hub and Tech2Impact. This approach and orientation made us who we are and somehow successful., So, why put an external label on it (which comes with a hefty annual fee by the way)?
An ever-improving certification process that covers topics from governance, workers, community, environment and customers. It helps us to assess and improve a variety of policies and practices while also shining a light on topics we haven’t covered yet in our young histories, such as our sourcing strategy or a formal Code of Ethics. Having external evaluators conduct this extensive review and certification process provides your management with an objective assessment of what you are good at and what you can improve on, instead of leaving it to your own perspective.
We are joining a community of other professional B. Corps which, for us, represent like-minded and like-hearted potential partners and customers. By means of web platforms, newsletters as well as virtual and physical events, the B.Corp team facilitates an environment of connection and collaboration built upon our common beliefs and common certification. Having worked in community management ourselves throughout our Mothership Programs. We understand how difficult it is to form a vibrant and connected community and realise that our membership fee is well spent on it.
It has always been important to us to introduce ourselves as a “social enterprise” when engaging with new clients and partners. This is a term almost as uncommon as B.Corp and a significant part of our first meetings are spent in explaining it. Rightfully so. Critical questions emerge from both non- and for-profit organisations on providing proof. Usually, our project portfolio and open collaboration approach bring down many walls restricting trust and open communication. B.Corp now gives us an independent certification of our way of working which we believe will accelerate and intensify our partnerships with existing and new clients.
The fourth and more personal reason. B.Corp has been an inspiration for us from the very beginning and somehow an ideological and financial milestone we worked towards over the years like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
We are happy and proud that we now could officially join the B.Corp community as a fully operational and financially self-sustaining social enterprise!
Would you like more information or are you interested in collaborating with Space4Good? Visit our website or contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.