It al begins with a business “Impact Assessment” – a very long questionnaire that’s split into sections on Governance, Community, Environment and Customers, and because I’m in the jewellery industry, a disclosure questionnaire about any potentially sensitive industries, practices or outcomes.
The impact assessment took me several weeks to complete, on it’s own. A lot of the questions were quite difficult to answer from a sole trader’s point of view and some I just couldn’t answer as they were relating to things like staff, which I don’t have, or energy suppliers, that my landlord at the time wouldn’t tell me about! This also meant that I couldn’t earn the points for some questions. Despite this though, I did manage to get to the magic 80 points (I actually had over 100) that meant I could enter the next stage of the process.
Then came a long wait, partly while my impact assessment sat in a queue of others, waiting to be assessed…
It was eventually my turn to move onto the next stage though, which started with a phone call worth a B Corp agent to verbally go through my answers. I was asked to explain several of them in more detail, and they also helped me with the ones that I didn’t really understand. After this, came the hardest part, verification….
So, obviously anyone can answer a load of questions and just “say” they’re an ethical business, but this is where becoming B Corp certified differs, as you have to provide actual evidence of your answers. This saw me trawling back though last years accounts, all of the suppliers that I work with, my commissions, website sales and client emails and reviews. Now, I’ve never been the best at the paperwork side of things, but just knowing that I’d “spoken” to a client a couple of weeks/months after their order or workshop and they’d told me that they were still looking at their ring every day and smiling didn’t count. I need hard “written down” evidence, and ended up loosing a few points due to this.
I did still end up with 98.3 points though, and on the 17th May 2023 I finally became B Corp Certified!