We’ve just completed our first annual impact report.
We’d love you to take a look, give us your feedback and join us in celebrating our progress since certification this time last year – you can find it here
What is B Corp?
B Corp is an international movement that encourages companies to use business as a force for good and contribute to building a fairer and more inclusive economy. The ‘B’ stands for benefit – to all people, communities, and the planet. At its core, it’s all about moving away from profit as the main yardstick for business success and moving towards a more sustainable business model that gives equal importance to how we make our money, how we look after our associates, students, wider communities and planet.
Far from a tick box exercise, certifying as a B Corp is an incredibly rigorous process covering every area of a business, addressing five key impact areas: Governance, Workers, Community, Environment and Customers. So when you see the B Corp logo, you know that company has been independently verified and is acting in a way that is socially and environmentally responsible, all the way through the business. Click here for the BCorp Uk site
How did we do?
Applicants are required to reach a benchmark score of over 80 to certify, with 100 seen as outstanding. Wise Goose achieved an impressively high overall B Impact Score of 112.3, it’s an amazing score, especially for a first application, a tremendous achievement that will enable us to grow our reputation even further and have even greater impact. To see the detail behind our score click here.
Why did we decide to become a B Corporation?
Wise Goose was founded in 2012, and from the start we set out to deliver forward looking professional coaching and accredited coach training for people who want to do purpose-driven work. Our community of coaches and associates help individuals and organisations deliver extraordinary outcomes – stretching thinking and closing the gap between ‘business as usual’ and dreams of ‘making the world a better place’. Using the power of coaching to make a positive impact has been at the heart of everything we do, so B Corp certification was a natural next step to demonstrate our social and environmental credentials to our students, our team and the wider coaching community.
We can now proudly shout that we’re a member of this prestigious international community of like-minded organisations making business a force for good across the world.
What are the benefits?
For businesses and customers, there are some big benefits to B Corp certification:
- Walking the talk & commitment to continual improvement
It’s easy to simply say you’re ‘ethical’ or ‘sustainable’ without really thinking about what that means, and then cherry pick evidence to back it up. BCorp certification is demanding, and we will be re-assessed in depth every three years, this means we will continually review progress and performance alongside a development plan and framework for the future. Becoming a BCorp is not just about getting a badge, it’s continuing to do the right thing as a business. There’s plenty of greenwash and grandiose claims out there, certification means talk about being ‘business for good’ has real meaning.
B Corps are scored publicly, giving a really transparent view of the business – so you know exactly what your money is supporting. You can compare our score with similar businesses, though there aren’t too many coach training organisations who are BCorps yet. We hope that by showing leadership, Wise Goose will help to blaze a trail in the coaching field.
- Holding us to our word
As a BCorp we are articulating the company’s values, purpose and mission internally and externally. Part of becoming a B Corp is changing the legal structure of your business. Every certified BCorp changes their articles of association to give people and planet equal weight as shareholders or profits. This commitment in law means that BCorps must consider community and the environment in everything they do. Wise Goose is a small owner-managed company, without shareholders and though important, profit has never been our only driving force, so to be honest, this wasn’t a huge challenge, but it does help future-proof the business if the ownership structure changes.
- A vibrant supportive community
This was probably our main reason for becoming a BCorp. As of September 2022, there are 5,697 certified B Corporations across 158 industries in 85 countries, all striving to use business as a force for good, all pooling resources and research, and creating positive change for the whole community. The UK BCorp community is now one of the fastest growing in the world, with about 800 certified BCorps. This brings possibilities for collaborating with other BCorps, joining BLocal groups, attending community events and working together to find solutions to specific challenges. It’s about collaborating to make the world a better place.
Being part of this community means we stand shoulder to shoulder with others who share our values; learning from each other and collaborating to reap the rewards of our shared expertise.
What we improved
Working through the Business Impact Assessment (BIA) helped us to clarify what we stand for and what is important to us – not just as a business, but as a community of practice.
We assessed our policies and processes; governance was already one of our strengths so we had quite a few robust policies and procedures in place. We made these easier to find in the Student Handbook and where relevant, on the website.
As a small business, we don’t have a significant negative impact on the environment and communities we work in, however we realised there were still areas in which we could improve. We updated and improved our sustainability policy, to include a social & environmentally responsible preferred suppliers list, this includes our associates.
Having to evidence every claim is hard work! One of our big challenges was in providing evidence of the wider communities we serve and impact our training and coaching has on ‘underserved’ populations. We’d never methodically logged this data, being happy to just ‘do good stuff’ fairly randomly. The results when we did dig deep were encouraging and made us realise how much good work had been quietly done by our students and graduates, and also the value of recording and monitoring this in future. We already do evaluations of our courses, but needed to provide an outcomes survey of the effectiveness of our training over time, going back several years, the response was heartening and the feedback confirmed something we knew anecdotally, the programme has a powerful positive impact long after the course finishes. We’ll make tracking outcomes a regular part of what we do from now on.
All of this is just the beginning. One of the things we love about the BCorp movement is the commitment to ongoing learning and improvement. We want to further improve as a company. We want to help drive positive change in the coaching industry. Being certified as a B Corporation will give us the credibility and the opportunities to do this.
The field of coaching, and coach training has been described as a fragmented minefield – thousands of pounds can be spent in training, and it’s often difficult to find out exactly that you get for you money in terms of hours input, hands-on support and impact. From the start Wise Goose made our rates and hours transparent and easy to find, but we weren’t clear about impact. In future we plan to gather stories from our graduates about how they are using coaching to benefit wider communities, we’ll make these available on our website, and hopefully inspire coaches outside our alumni community in the wider coaching field.
We also want to continue to respond flexibly to those unexpected events life throws at us. We did this with Covid introducing hybrid training, which is proving incredibly popular. This year, we are in the midst of the cost-of-living crisis, and have decided not to raise our fees, at the same time as increasing the amount we pay our associates. It’s the right thing to do and we are confident we can weather a dip in profits. We also plan to continue to nurture relationships with the communities where we operate, wherever we can giving bursaries to organisations who we believe will make a positive difference, this includes the two charities we are currently proud to support and collaborate with, Global Generation and Luminary Bakery. Then there’s the journey to net-zero to get our head around. It promises to be a challenging and stimulating year ahead!
For more information on B Corp and to see what great company we’re in, visit www.bcorporation.uk