23 Mar 2022

Our B Corp Journey

Our B Corp Journey

To celebrate B Corp Month, we decided to take you through our own B Corp journey. It has been one year since our accreditation was made official and we could not be prouder to have achieved such a feat.

The journey has empowered us to think about every aspect of our business - down to the smallest details - to help us be the purpose-lead, values-driven recruitment agency that we are today. One that not just positively impacts our industry, but is positively impacting the planet too.

B Corps are modelling the kind of business the world needs - business that meets rigorous standards for social and environmental impact, is transparent, and is accountable to all its stakeholders. B Corps of all sizes across multiple industries are joining together to achieve our collective vision of an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative global economic system that benefits all people and the planet.

We first heard the term B Corp back in 2018 whilst supporting our client, Ella's Kitchen - Mark Cuddigan, their CEO, is an inspirational B Corp Ambassador and candidates have always been encouraged to proactively research B Corp as part of their recruitment process. Mark would also give talks to prospective candidates about B Corps and their mission and values – he has had such a positive impact on our journey.

When the pandemic hit, we wanted to take stock of our business and knew we had to stand for something other than our bottom line. We felt that undertaking the B Corp assessment was the right thing to do, even if it seemed like a daunting journey at the start with potentially up to 200 separate pieces of evidence to submit for scoring.

Luckily, we had a starting point in that we were undergoing our CSR Accreditation at the time which helped us produce detailed records about the business and helped us categorise all our community and philanthropy projects before we got going.

Such an undertaking showed us we were light on our sustainability potential, an essential requirement where B Corp certification was concerned. We partnered with Colin Curtis at Support The Goals to align the business with the UN SDGs, we became a partner of B1G1 and supported causes that directly impacted people and planet. We worked with Planet Mark to analyse our carbon footprint, and enacted initiatives to reduce it, which resulted in a 62.4% drop in the 2020-2021 year.

We also partnered with B Corp ambassadors such as Paul Hargreaves, Founder of Cotswold Fayre, to gain more insights on the process.

We started our B-Impact assessment in the summer of 2020. With our CSRA certification and our Plant Mark certification both confirmed around that time, we felt confident moving into the assessment phase knowing we had a realistic chance of scoring the necessary pass mark of 80.

It took around two months of work to complete the initial questions with a further 2-3 months of further refinement. We aimed for a score of 100, but we required more evidence of knowledge in the public domain and the projects we were conducting to achieve this.

On 4 March 2021, our B Corp status became official!

With a passing score of 92, it was a proud achievement for the business. Right now, the median score for ordinary businesses who complete the assessment is 50.9.

We became the first High-Street recruiter in the UK to become a B Corp, and only the 8th recruitment agency in the world to achieve B Corp status at the time.

Our full score breakdown can be seen on the graph below.

 EK B Corp Score Graph

Criteria that is not always relevant to our industry is still scored and we may not be able to improve in some areas, but it does give us further incentive to continually improve our score where we can.

B-Corp's re-verification model means we cannot rest on what we have already accomplished. We must keep on building our community partnerships, inspiring our clients and moving forward with new projects that will benefit our core mission.

We will begin our evidence gathering process at the end of this year for re-verification in 2024.

We are passionate about committing more to our community efforts and supporting amazing organisations close to our heart, including Naomi House & Jack's Place, Panathlon and Buddy Bag Box Challenge.

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We are also entering into more great partnerships to improve our environmental impact through working with organisations like Toilet Twinning, and our community inclusion impact with partnering with organisations like Includability – a B Corp Pending organisation – that offer a breadth of best practice knowledge through their extensive community.

This purpose-led journey that has taught us so much - chiefly how we can better serve our planet and our community, the clients we adore, the candidates we cherish, and the EK team mates that we love.

Thank you to Mark Cuddigan, Paul Hargreaves and Masami Sato for inspiring us through your amazing work with Ella's Kitchen, Cotswold Fayre, a certified B Corporation, a certified B Corporation and B1G1 to begin this journey. Thank you to everyone who has inspired us ever since.

Published in News

 2018 B Corp Logo Black S

What a great timing to announce that EllisKnight International has become a certified B Corporation® during B Corp™ month!

We are enormously proud to have joined an amazing community of international organisations intent on using business as a force for good. These companies lead with compassion, purpose and a commitment to people and planet – an extraordinary thing to aspire to and the way we feel businesses should conduct themselves.

Our sector is not perhaps thought of in the best light and understandably so – recruiters have for so long often been revered as rogues and vagabonds. Certainly, we have always been so determined to set ourselves apart from that. Helping people find to find meaningful employment is what we do and love but even before we discovered the B Corp™ movement, we knew as a leadership group that we had a collective responsibility to help others and support our community. From organising family fun days to tackling indoor rowing world records to running seven marathons in seven days.

 Click on the image to see our B Impact Report:

Screenshot 2021 03 24 113842

The inspiration

The global pandemic understandably meant a recruitment freeze for so many clients – all we could do was to ready ourselves to hold their hand whenever needed and to reassure them that the support would always be available. Despite the constant worry that comes with protecting the job security of a team that you love, the one thing it did give us was a little time to take stock - perhaps for the occasion in six years of growing a young business. Time to think, time to reflect, time to review our blueprint, our mission, and time to establish exactly what is that we stood for. It opened up a world of good that we could do as a business with the right strategy in place and we've not really slept since:

• EllisKnight became the first recruitment agency in the UK to receive both a Gold CSR-A Award and The Planet Mark Certification – we cannot underestimate the confidence these two partnerships, in particular, have given us on our B Corp™ journey.
• We took ownership of our carbon footprint, offset it and became a Carbon Neutral organisation with the support of Climate Care and Ecologi.
• We offset the carbon footprint of every candidate we place to support our client's sustainability goals.
• Ran competitions across our social media channels to plant more trees and twin client toilets with latrines in developing countries with the help of Toilet Twinning.
• Created international giving impacts simply by doing what we do on a daily basis via B1G1.
• We discovered the UN Sustainable Goals, using them as a basis for every EK initiative we could possibly imagine and subsequently became the first recruitment agency globally to be awarded a full set of five stars from Support The Goals.
• Became an Accredited Living Wage Employer.
• Created the EK Pledge to ensure we remained true to our commitments.

The moment we read the B Corp™ declaration was the moment we found our community home. The B Impact Assessment provided a brilliant framework to measure our impact and where we could make those improvements. There is still so much for us to do but we are excited by the partnerships we have in place and those that we are yet to make.


What does it mean to EllisKnight International Recruitment to be a B Corp™?

For us, it's the perfect way to make ourselves accountable to each other, to operate ethically at all times, and to strive to make this world a better one for our children. We believe that every company and candidate should expect that level of commitment from their own recruitment partner. The centre of our EK universe is our team. Every Friday morning, we make a cuppa and meet on zoom for our CSR Huddle. It's a favourite time of the week quite simply because we get to see everyone's lovely faces in one place. They continually inspire us to be the best we can be and they deserve that commitment.

We are so proud to be part of the B Corp™ community but prouder still of our team that enabled us to achieve it. Family is everything to us and without our EK crew, we simply don't have a business to make a positive impact in the world.


Published in News
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