We worked on our vision for several weeks when COVID-19 entered the scene. After a short-term shock, the accelerated changes and tragedies caused an awakening. We decided to go all in: We geared all our power toward the future, used released capacities, and focused on building a vision strong enough to encourage us, our clients, and our partners to improve the behaviors of people and businesses toward a better future for all life on earth with humane innovation.
While working on our vision, it became clear that we needed a framework to foster changes from the inside. The B Corp Certification was a fit. This framework is all-encompassing, measurable, comparable to others, and comes with a network. So, we started our B Corp journey in the spring of 2020.
After an intense year working on our vision for 2030 and towards the B Corp certification, we managed multiple changes within the company. Sometimes it was, of course, hard to let go of old procedures and give a chance to new and therefore may be at first uncomfortable approaches. But the strong will to improve ourselves let us keep questioning what we do, what we want to improve, and how to do it. We now have new views on so many things, also thanks to much input from externals. This recap of our B Corp journey will show you how we made it from researching to matching our submission deadline, often accompanied by uncertainties. Was it enough? Does it have to be so hard? Are we doing it right? Or are we even doing the right thing?
* The B Impact Assessment (short: BIA) is a digital tool that can help measure, manage, and improve positive impact performance for the environment, communities, customers, suppliers, employees, and shareholders.
Our B Corp journey began with Anne-Marie conducting online research and participating in the introduction webinar of B Lab Germany. We met Janneke Wagner from B Lab Netherlands, who became a very helpful asset throughout our journey. A first run thorough the assessment was done as well as a first look into the B Corp Handbook which collected central points from each impact area. Thankful for this guidance, we transferred certain aspects to the INDEED context and brought together the BIA* and the Handbook.
After this initial phase, it became apparent that not only a few people could work on and be involved in the assessment process. For the various topics and to-dos, support from many different colleagues was needed. It became clear that we can only be successful if we use our different competencies, our knowledge, our insights, our diversity, as well as our strength as a group. We understood this is a group task; the more people are involved, the more they will contribute and adapt to the new processes. Only with the ability and creativity of the entire team, with the involvement of everyone from the intern to our CEO, would our goal be achievable.
Our Internal Project Teams make change happen
After a second dry-run through the assessment together with our CEO, ten internal projects for the BIA were defined:
- Carbon Footprint Analysis. Dealing with all BIA questions concerning our carbon footprint, carbon offsetting, and metrics analysis.
- Charity and Volunteering. Dealing with possibilities of how INDEED as a company and all individuals can contribute to a charity or do something good for the community.
- Culture Vision Statement. Dealing with the development of a Culture Vision Statement for INDEED.
- Diversity, Equity Inclusion Committee. Dealing with DEI issues at INDEED.
- Mobile Working. Dealing with creating a sustainable lifestyle guide for all employees, for their private life, and while working from home.
- Mobility. Dealing with the development of a business travel policy for INDEED, searching for alternative courier partners in Hamburg, and looking into the topic of job bike leasing.
- Suppliers. Dealing with the creation of a preferential supplier list and the development of a code of conduct.
- Waste Management. Dealing with renewing and improving our waste management habits and collecting needed metrics for the BIA.
- Umweltpartnerschaft Hamburg. Dealing with the initiative “Umweltpartnerschaft“ of the city of Hamburg. A network where companies can contribute to environmental initiatives within Hamburg. INDEED was already a member.
- Project Feedback and retrospective. Dealing with creating a guideline for giving and receiving feedback before, during, and after a client project.
In addition, further tasks that need to be handled within the administration and back-office departments at INDEED or by the CEO himself were defined. The entire team was onboard in mid-August 2020. In September, all project teams started. Straightforward tasks were discussed, and material from BIA and the Handbook was shared. Since then, the teams have worked independently on their tasks and kept everybody in the loop with regular update meetings.
In March 2021, we held a company-wide status quo meeting about our B Corp journey. It was impressive to see how much and what everybody contributed. Positive feelings got mixed with pride. It is always overwhelming what you can achieve in a team.
In the summer of 2021, all achievements were finalized. Every group created a summary describing their own B Corp journey within their internal project. These summaries include a description of the process, findings, chances, and difficulties. Furthermore, an employee handbook was created by an additional project team. It contains all our achievements, processes, onboarding material for new employees, and frequently needed information for the entire team.
At this point, we would like to point out and thank the B Leaders Sina Helmke and Fernando Ureta, who have been on our side since August 2020, our contacts from the B Corps Soulbottles and Redeleit & Junker and our tax account who supported us in every regard to specific calculation questions.
The final review of all the material happens in August 2021, and the hand-in of BIA is planned for the end of August 2021. We are already proud of our achievements and happy about our first visible successes.
Edit April 2022: Good things come to the one who waits. The assessors are busy, and too many companies ask for well-reputed certification. We are on hold and will keep you posted.
Edit January 2023: We are officially a Certified B Corporation™. Please read our announcement.