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.

MicrosoftTeams image 11

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.

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Buddy Bag Group Photo

 Buddy Bag Box Challenge Packed Before Xmas

Purpose driven recruitment agency, EllisKnight International completed a Challenge Box on 17 December, a team building challenge to help children escaping violence set by its charity partner, Buddy Bag Foundation (BBF).
BBF was created by Founder, Karen Williams OBE in response to the rising number of children who enter emergency care after fleeing violent situations at home.
They seek to restore a sense of safety and security into a child's life during a traumatic time and begin the first steps to recovery. By providing these children with a few essential items, such as clothing, toys, stationary, books and toiletries help make the transition into emergency care a little easier.
There were two main aims for the Berkshire-based team to complete: First, to identify 30 people to receive a shopping bag, then tasking those people to fill said bag with an item needed to fill 30 Buddy Bags. Part of the exercise was to shop for items suitable for children of differing gender and ages, to provide a greater sense of personal touch to the project.
Since we are a small team, roping in a few volunteers was not going to cover all of the tasks and everyone doing the shopping had multiple assignments.
Secondly, once the team had completed their individual tasks, they returned to the office to unpack their shopping and help pack the 30 rucksacks that were to be delivered. It took four hours for our team to pack all of the rucksacks. Much of that time was spent double checking everything to make sure no items were missed before the bags were sealed.

Team Packing Bags

Once packed and labelled, the bags are ready to be delivered to a refuge centre within 20 miles of HQ in Pangbourne.
"The team at EllisKnight are extremely honoured to have completed The Buddy Bag Challenge. The work you guys do is incredible and makes a huge difference to children entering emergency care. To be able to be part of that has left us all with full hearts and the desire to make a difference in 2022! Thank you for the opportunity we look forward to doing it again in the Summer," said Sam Whitby, Social Media Manager at EllisKnight.
The bags will be delivered to a local refuge in Berkshire within a week. Complications with the pandemic has the effort but contact with the refuge is ongoing and they are excited to take the bags from us.
Around 48,000 children require emergency accommodation in the UK each year. These children are often fleeing a violent situation or sexual abuse, and have to leave home quickly, without the chance to collect basic items. Often children will arrive at emergency accommodation centres with only the clothes they are wearing.
Since its formation in 2015, Buddy Bag have distributed 31,121 bags up until the end of 2020 and have supplied over 396 Women's Refuges around the UK.
On a personal level, Sam added, "As soon as I read about what they [BBF] do and how they help children entering emergency accommodation, I knew I would like to support them.

"Having young children myself, I couldn't even begin to imagine being in a situation where you have to flee your home with children and majority of the time only the clothes on your back and how scary this must be for a mother and the children.
"To be able to support a charity that brings a small glimmer of hope and comfort to a child who has been through a scary time just felt right."

Sam and Emma with completed bags

 

Once packed and labelled, the bags are ready to be delivered to a refuge centre within 20 miles of HQ in Pangbourne.

“The team at EllisKnight are extremely honoured to have completed The Buddy Bag Challenge. The work you guys do is incredible and makes a huge difference to children entering emergency care. To be able to be part of that has left us all with full hearts and the desire to make a difference in 2022! Thank you for the opportunity we look forward to doing it again in the Summer,” said Sam Whitby, Social Media Manager at EllisKnight.

The bags will be delivered to a local refuge in Berkshire within a week. Complications with the pandemic has the effort but contact with the refuge is ongoing and they are excited to take the bags from us.

Around 48,000 children require emergency accommodation in the UK each year. These children are often fleeing a violent situation or sexual abuse, and have to leave home quickly, without the chance to collect basic items. Often children will arrive at emergency accommodation centres with only the clothes they are wearing.

Since its formation in 2015, Buddy Bag have distributed 31,121 bags up until the end of 2020 and have supplied over 396 Women’s Refuges around the UK.  

On a personal level, Sam added, “As soon as I read about what they [BBF] do and how they help children entering emergency accommodation, I knew I would like to support them.

 

“Having young children myself, I couldn’t even begin to imagine being in a situation where you have to flee your home with children and majority of the time only the clothes on your back and how scary this must be for a mother and the children.

“To be able to support a charity that brings a small glimmer of hope and comfort to a child who has been through a scary time just felt right.”

Published in News

 

Ellis Knight Wins Best Newcomer at Planet Mark Awards

EllisKnight International is very proud to have won the Best Newcomer category at the Planet Mark awards in November.

Held in London as part of the finale of Planet Mark’s Zero Carbon Tour, EllisKnight took the Best Newcomer award shortly after completing recertification to The Planet Mark after reducing our carbon footprint in the previous year by 62.4%   

Patrick Graham, Co-Founder of EllisKnight International, said, “We are delighted to have won Best Newcomer at the recent Planet Mark awards in London – it was an amazing event with some incredible people. Next stop Net Zero!”

Emma Ruttle, Sustainability Manager at EllisKnight International, said, “I am so pleased that EllisKnight has won this award! It means so much to all of us that our hard work over the last 18 months has been recognised and it is a real boost to know that we have made great progress & doing well and we are excited to continue our journey with Planet Mark.”

EllisKnight has pledged to become a Net Zero business. 

 PM Award

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Berkshire's own EllisKnight International Recruitment has completed recertification on our Planet Mark membership.

As a celebration, our team were treated a Year 2 Energiser meeting from Hannah Dean-Wood, Engagement Manager at Planet Mark, to run through the key stats of the great work undertaken by the team.

Planet Mark, an Official Partner of EllisKnight International, is a membership organisation that supports forward-thinking businesses in their sustainability goals and certifying their achievements. When you see a Planet Mark certified member, you know that they are driving continuous positive change through their actions, people and reach.

David Holby-Wolinski, Co-Founder of EllisKnight International, said:
"We are so delighted to have recertified with Planet Mark and it ensures we continue to remain accountable to our sustainability pledge as an ethical recruitment agency. To enable us as a business to create a strong and transparent carbon reduction strategy we needed to build our knowledge and understand the numbers behind the science. The incredibly special relationship we have Planet Mark has allowed us to do just that and we're very proud to be now recognised as a sustainability game changer within our industry.

"We will continue to learn and be inspired by other businesses within the Planet Mark community – we have a collective responsibility to strive to make this world a better place for our children and the generations that will follow."

The purpose of becoming more sustainable is due to the increasing threat of climate change to our world and livelihoods. Earth's atmosphere now contains more than 420 ppm (parts per million) of CO2, a significant increase on other natural peaks of the gas in history.
With politicians and activists attending the COP 26 summit in Glasgow recently, it remains unclear how significant The Glasgow Climate Pact and follow-up actions will be against the unfolding crisis. Businesses and organisations that want to do their bit for climate and social prosperity are advised to adopt and follow the targets of the UN SDGs.

We are thrilled to report that between May 2020 and April 2021, our carbon footprint has reduced by 62.4%, well ahead of our 5% reductions year-on-year. Much of the fall can be attributed to changes afflicted by the pandemic, but it is our aim to keep many practices which led to this dramatic fall in place for the foreseeable future.

Our total carbon footprint was 18.4 (tCO2e) averaging at 2.3 (tCO2e) per employee. The biggest reductions came from business travel and electricity usage.
With a full breakdown of our impacts, we are still set to reach our target of net zero by 2050. Planet mark are encouraging us to reduce our footprint further by another 5% (0.9 tCO2e) by next year, however they accept that future reductions are banked against our Year 1 figures for the next two year due to the pandemic.

Steve Malkin, Founder and CEO of Planet Mark, said:

"We are delighted to have EllisKnight International join us at Planet Mark.  The next generation of talent is increasingly conscious of their prospective employers' environmental credentials. By working with likeminded individuals in both directions of its supply chain, EllisKnight International is propelling the sustainability agenda in the recruitment industry and beyond. The team's enthusiasm in demonstrating the sustainable measures it has in place is remarkable, and the talk is backed up by some really robust policies. EllisKnight wants to do business differently and position itself as a leader in the recruitment industry, and it is well on the way to achieving these goals."

Our partners have recommended several steps to keep our reduction targets on track including:

  • Participating in the Planet Mark Carbon Tour – Our Co-Founder, David, spoke at the Heathrow leg of the tour on 16 Nov
  • Considering a net zero strategy
  • Joining their online community platform
  • Download the Planet Mark toolkits and other resources.
  • Sharing our success stories with Plant Mark on LinkedIn
  • Keeping up the good work and continuing to work towards the recommended 5% reduction for next year

We look forward to recertifying next year.

Click here to see our Planet Mark Commitment:

Published in News

 

At long last, we have released the 2020 sustainability data!

The team at Berkshire-based recruitment agency, EllisKnight International have released our 2020 sustainability report on 23rd July 2021.

In an extraordinary year for everyone, and for so many reasons, who could have predicted the challenges that families and businesses would face throughout 2020? We took the time to reflect, time to review, and time to establish exactly what is that we stood for, while we reviewed our blueprint.

We have always positioned ourselves as positive disruptors within our sector, but we are only as good as the exceptionally talented team that we have. From becoming the first recruitment agency to achieve a Gold CSR Accreditation and The Planet Mark, to achieving carbon neutral status, and holding ourselves accountable against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, we will continue to learn and grow to ensure that a partnership with EllisKnight International is always a partnership for good.

Thanks to our partnership with Ecologi, we planted 144 trees in our EllisKnight forest between September and December. We also supported another three major tree planting projects in which over 4,400 trees were planted and supported six carbon reduction projects in which over 103 tonnes of CO2 were removed.

In those short three months, we achieved three Ecologi milestone badges for climate positivity, tree planting and carbon reduction. We also work with Terracycle, Climate Care, Carbon Footprint Ltd and Ecosia to ensure we do our part on climate action.    

We twin a client’s toilet every month with a latrine in a developing community through Toilet Twinning which helps bring clean water and safe sanitation to the world’s poorest people.   

We are a Living Wage employer, not only for our team, but all candidates we place also receive a minimum of the Real Living Wage of £9.50 per hour. We also offer staff interest free loans of up to £1000 PA to help with unexpected expenditures. 

EllisKnight International is committed to equality, diversity and opposition to all forms of workplace discrimination and regularly monitor the effectiveness of our policy. Applications received to join our team, or the teams of our clients, are treated equally regardless of sex, age, sexual orientation, marital status, race, religion, religious beliefs, colour, nationality, creed, ethnic or national origin, gender reassignment or disability. We are proud signatories of the Race at Work Charter and the Good Business Charter. We also offer accessible recruitment campaigns and partnership with Recite Me which can offer an accessible platform for any vacancy.

“We wanted to understand how we could do this and still have a positive impact on society, the environment, our customers and our team. From “Kaisen” based ideas focused around small improvements to our accreditations, certifications and clear purpose – we use our business as a force for good, putting people and planet before profit.” – Patrick Graham, co-founder of EllisKnight International.  

A recent report from B Lab gave insights into the progress towards the SDGs, the key component of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It concluded that progress towards these goals have remained stagnant, especially the contributions from the private sector.

As a positive disruptor, we believe our reaffirmation to the SDGs is necessary, especially our continued support for Goal 1: No Poverty, Goal 5: Gender Equality, Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth and Gaol 10: Reduced Inequalities as part of our business model.

We will also continue to support Goal 3: Good Health and Wellbeing, Goal 4: Quality Education, Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation, Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production, Goal 13: Climate Action, and Goal 15: Life on Land through our continued partnerships.   

By the end of 2021, we strive to meet or exceed the following targets.

  • Become B Corp Certified (achieved in March 2021) – We had a responsibility to be sustainable and put people and planet before profit. We wanted to set an example for the recruitment sector. As a result, we produced EK giving page in build up to verification
  • Reduce carbon footprint by minimum of 5% over 2020/21 (achieved on 30th April 2021) – We introduced a working from home model which reduced commuter miles and converted all systems to online for a paperless office. Overall, we achieved a 63% reduction (skewed by the pandemic) but we still plan to reduce our footprint next year by another 5% from 2020-21 baseline
  • Give all staff have membership of The Collective – Outliers Wellbeing community Group (achieved on 26th July 2021)   
  • Remain carbon neutral by offsetting our verified carbon footprint using our existing partners’ programmes 
  • Achieve our Ecologi target of 10,000 trees in the EllisKnight forest  
  • Achieve our B1G1 target to create 750,000 impacts
  • Fulfill obligations to support our local communities by sponsoring local sports teams, charitable events, and educational projects.

We will continue to fundraise for Buddy Bag Foundation and Naomi House Children’s Hospice, giving as much as we can every year to support their wonderful causes.       

 Click on the image to see our Sustainability Report:

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