B CORP LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE
stok is incredibly honored to have joined the B Corp community by earning our B Corp certification. It allows us to continuously push the envelope of increasingly rigorous environmental and social standards, while proving the financial case for conscious companies.
A B Corp is a for-profit company certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. Today there are more than 1,600 B Corps from 42 countries across 120 industries.
The passion, engagement, and authenticity of the B Corp community is extraordinary, and we’re continually inspired by fellow organizations that have taken on the challenge—and opportunity—of using business for good.
As part of our commitment to constant organizational improvement and engagement in this unique community, our own Devon Bertram recently spoke at a local B Corp Leadership Development (BLD) event.
Here Devon shares some insights on how B Corp certification supports an organization’s internal culture and business, and specifically how it’s done so for stok:
HOW CAN B CORP CERTIFICATION STRENGTHEN A COMPANY’S INTERNAL CULTURE?
“The certification provides greater transparency into how a company operates, from the resources it uses to the benefits it offers its employees. It functions as a benchmarking tool that identifies the gaps—instances where organizations have inadvertently lost alignment with their purpose or their competitive advantage, and where there is room for improvement.
For example, through stok’s journey to certification less than two years ago, we gained greater alignment between our internal culture and operations, and our company purpose. The result is an internal culture that champions trust and transparency. stok’s recent participation in initiatives such as the B Corp Inclusion Challenge is helping us focus on how we can increase our diversity and inclusion of women and minorities within stok, and is providing metrics, resources and tools that can help us make tangible progress.
B Corp certification is also a key factor in attracting prospective team members. People increasingly want to work for a company that serves a higher purpose, and this certification requires organizations to infuse this purpose into not just their professional work, but also their internal culture and operations.”
HOW HAS B CORP CERTIFICATION IMPACTED STOK’S EXTERNAL COMMUNITY?
“In stok’s experience, getting certified allowed us to join a group of similarly mission-driven organizations. The B Corp community is unique in that we all come from different industries, but can immediately connect on something bigger—our guiding purpose to do business for good. We saw the benefits of this community when we opened stok’s first satellite office in Colorado. Our B Corp certification enabled us to quickly gain a foothold in a new market. As our organization continues to grow, we plan to connect with local B Lab and B Corp communities and engage with the valuable national network.”
HAS IT HAD ANY IMPACT ON BUSINESS?
“While it certainly wasn’t our only motivation going in, we have seen business growth through our B Corp involvement. Clients have either indirectly or directly discovered us on the B Corp directory, and our certification set us apart from our competitors. The close-knit B Corp network has also generated several introductions and referrals for us, which have led to projects. These include work with Subaru and Urban Green Development (a fellow B Corp), as well as a referral from New Resource Bank (also a B Corp) to a Midwestern developer needing sustainability services in the Bay Area. These projects are particularly meaningful for us because the clients already share our desire to make a difference in the world, and have strong environmental and social values that match our own.
We have also engaged several other B Corps to help us improve our business – whether for legal, marketing and branding, or financial services, among others. The B Corp community feels like a group that takes care of one another. I’m excited for stok to broaden these partnerships and it’s motivating to see that a community built off the idea of “business for good” is also good for business.”
SO, WHAT’S NEXT?
“One of the most exciting takeaways from the BLD conference was that complacency doesn’t exist in the B Corp community, and we are all eager to learn from and share with one another. Speaking on a panel with Plum Organics and Clearinghouse, and hearing from other innovative companies like AllBirds, I was inspired to hear how they are creating a culture and business practices infused with the values of the B Corp certification.
Regardless of whether companies are brand-new B Corps or have been certified for several years, it was a day of learning and sharing among participants and presenters alike. Each company is pushing to improve and find new ways to advance their own business and the B Corp movement. This feels natural for stok’s culture as we thrive in a culture of kaizen.
There were many insights shared throughout the day, but one message that stuck came from my co-panelist, Mai Nguyen from Clearinghouse, who emphasized the importance of listening as a path to improvement, stressing: “Listen: to your believers (people who believe in B Corp values), supporters (people who believe in you as a person), and your challengers.”
Another takeaway from Tiffany McNeil of Plum Organics was on the topic of hiring values-aligned individuals. She gave us all something to think about: “Let’s not stop at culture-fit; what about culture-add?” Discovering how to create a truly diverse, inclusive, and equitable organization in which all feel a sense of belonging is imperative to stok’s purpose, and is something we’re working to directly address through the B Corp Inclusion Challenge.
I’m looking forward to stok further embedding our B Corp values throughout the company. As a new B Corp, we’re working to create more robust onboarding processes and better trainings so the entire stok family – both new and veteran team members – know the value of the B Corp certification, its significance, and how it strengthens who we are and what we’re doing.
Lastly, I’m looking forward to finding ways to work with and support other B Corps and deepen our community both here in SF, and in CO (and LA!). I’m eager for our stok family to continue to transform what it means to build community and do business.”