The second edition of the EADA B Impact Teams concluded successfully this past August. This extracurricular consulting initiative brings participants of our International Master and MBA programmes together with real companies willing to receive a baseline impact assessment and action plan report following the standards and framework provided by the B Corp certification of the B Corp Movement. Certified B Corporations™ (B Corps™) are for-profit companies that use the power of business to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy. They meet the highest verified standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. The initiative is ran in collaboration with B – Lab Spain.
The beneficiary companies of this year’s edition of the EADA B Impact Teams were:
Brava Fabrics: a fashion brand based in Barcelona that produces high quality sustainable organic cotton clothing using a timeless and creative design approach.
Organa Beauty & Wellbeing: an online e-commerce that curates the best clean, sustainable, independent brands of beauty and well-being products and helps consumers make an informed and confident choice. The company is based in the UK.
Tunga.IO: an innovative transaction platform based in Uganda that links African developers to international software projects.
Organic Cotton Colours – OCC: a company based in Girona that cultivates 100% organic cotton and produces fabrics and fashion and household garments for consumers and companies
An opportunity to reflect on their performance
Companies joined for a variety of reasons, some of them were familiarized with the B Corp movement and found in the initiative of the B Impact Teams an opportunity to start their journey to become B Corps. As Niki Richards founder of Organa Beauty & Wellbeing explains, “I had been looking at starting the B-Corp process and wanted to explore the possibilities since the inception of my brand, however, as a busy founder I was not sure where to start”.
Santi Mallorquin from OCC also agrees “It’s been a while since I’ve been interested in this certification, however in a small team the day-to-day makes it difficult for you to find the time. When I found out about the program, I did not hesitate for a moment (…) It’s a great way to catch up at a low cost, taking advantage of the talent of young people who always help you improve.”
To other companies the B Impact Teams presented an opportunity to learn and reflect. As Ernesto Spruyt, founder of Tunga.IO shares “Being a startup with a social mission we arrived at a point where our growth has consumed most of our attention. Now it was a good moment to pause and reflect about how we are doing vis-a-vis our mission. So when the opportunity presented itself to have your team do an analysis for us, we were very enthusiastic about it.”
Getting a fresh view on their performance was also an attractive for Marieke Van Ree from Brava Fabrics “We believe in the power of education and saw great advantages in working with young professionals to have a fresh set of eyes on our journey towards becoming a B-Corp company”. She also highlighted more practical aspects of the call “EADA made it super easy and attractive for us to join the project, with all preparation and deadlines available beforehand”.
On the assessment and working with EADA participants
The process is as important as the outcome. The teams of EADA participants receive specialized training from real sustainability consultants in the B Impact Assessment Tool, an open source platform to track the companies’ performance and benchmark their practices to their industry. They need to work closely with the company in gathering all the relevant data they need to include in the BIA to move onto to the analysis and elaboration of an action plan.
Based on this assessment, the teams also elaborate a brief report that contains short and long-term objectives and an action plan focused in improving the assigned company’s responsible performance. This task that is not always easy to deliver and implement as Ernesto from Tunga.IO comments: “The biggest take-away and most challenging part are one and the same: your mission needs to be translated into concrete and measurable KPI’s and processes in order to be able to track and monitor your progress”. Nikki from Organa Beauty and Wellbeing believes it helps her shape her recently founded company “The process is key. It is also a steady and long distance journey – nothing will happen ‘instantly’. It is an incredibly fulfilling learning process for my business and a way of building in key practices as we grow.”
The commitment and trust of the companies has been key throughout the process, as they have disclosed to their teams information on their strategy, vision and provided them with extensive data of their operations.
Commitment on the participant’s side has been a fundamental aspect of the successful collaboration “The students where hard working, flexible and motivated. This project was an extra-curricular project, so the students were genuinely interested to work with and for the company”, adds Marieke from Brava Fabrics.
Over the course of the initiative, participants act as consultants on a real task and have the opportunity to hone some of the hard and soft skills acquired during their programmes. “The team worked in a very structured way. They delivered a very thorough analysis and actionable recommendations in a very short time frame” says Ernesto from Tunga. Santi from OCC highlights the importance of correctly transferring the results of their work: “they have made everything easy to understand, which is the first step to properly apply the suggestions we have received”.
Lastly, all the companies encourage others to join the initiative “Yes definitely! For all the reasons mentioned above: high value advice on this important topic, requiring only a limited investment in time and resources” says Ernesto. “I don’t think there can be a justification for not participating. Although the goal is not to be certified, it is still a super inspiring learning of how companies should perform in the immediate future,” concludes Santi from OCC.