07 Oct 2020

Toitū Envirocare to the power of B

Posted in: Toitū Together

Toitū Envirocare to the power of B

Toitū Envirocare is committed to being a business that not only does no harm but acts as a power for good. Toitū is more than our name, it is a commitment is to care for the life of this place, our people and future.

B Corp logoToitū Envirocare achieved B Corp Certification in January 2019. Certified B Corporations® (B Corps™) are for-profit companies that use the power of business to build a more inclusive, sustainable economy. They meet the highest verified standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability.

We believe that business can drive change; the B Corp framework supports our ambition for environmental regeneration and economic sustainability.

Why did Toitū decide to use the B Corp approach?

B Corp provides a rigorous mechanism to assess how we are positively impacting people and place and it prompts us to question what else we can do to care for our future.

The B Corp model also made a lot of sense to us as it aligns with our own business model:

Align with a standard of measurement: B Corp specifies the areas a good company should be focussing on to balance planet and profit. You can’t manage what you don’t measure.

Third party audit: external expert review ensures that your work is accurate and complete. Having a fresh set of eyes to spot risks and opportunities is a bonus.

Leveraging the power of the collective: our individual actions and changes together create a mighty awa of change, which builds in momentum and size as we go.

Measure iconManage iconVerify

How did Toitū find the process of B Corp Certification?

Toitū is very familiar with the process of getting ready for audit. We knew what we needed to bring to the table – allocated resource and a project plan.

Our first certification was driven by then CEO Dr Ann Smith, with support from our HR and finance teams, our carbon footprint team, and the senior leadership team. The first audit was time consuming, as we pulled together information across multiple areas of the business, but having a cross-functional team made it easier to collate the details.

Support from the B Lab team is also vital. They helped us understand the questions, what to consider when answering them, the types of proof that might work, and where to start with goals and projects.

What impacts has Toitū seen so far from B Corp certification?

Toitū achieved 82 points in 2019 and the breakdown of the score helped us see what we are doing well and where we need to do better.

Toitū's B Corp scorecard from 2019

B Corp reminded us of the power of our environmental business model – through our clients we can have a much wider impact. Our members are managing pollution and resources, reducing millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases and supporting nearly a million tonnes of offset projects.

B Corp also emphasised that we should push harder on how we care for people and community. We have formalised policies around fair pay, volunteer service, and benefits.

We know we have more work to do around diversity, inclusion and accessibility, and we are using B Corp principles to reshape our recruitment process to reflect that focus. We’ve found that B Corp helps with staff engagement, confirmed when our Chief Executive Becky Lloyd joined us in November, motivated in part by our Certified B Corp status.

Becky says, “B Corp was one of the things that attracted me to Toitū because it signals an intent to do business better. I've been in the corporate world for most of my career and was increasingly becoming interested in more progressive and positive ways of doing business.”

What’s next on the Toitū Impact roadmap?

Toitū is starting to think about our re-assessment in January 2022, and we’ve pencilled in answers in the meantime to help us track progress. We don’t anticipate the next certification to be as time or labour intensive to prepare, which means we can instead focus our resource on taking action.

Toitū has set up an internal Impact team to align B Corp with the rest of our people and planet commitments. The team is developing a roadmap to identify the practical and achievable steps to achieve our goals, including our commitment to science-based climate action.

The B Corp community in NZ is small but growing and is incredibly supportive. Toitū plans on learning as much as possible from this collective. As more organisations join, especially large companies like Kathmandu and Synlait, our awa of change gains strength.

If you’d like to join us in our Impact mission, explore the B Corp assessment and just get started.

Becky agrees, “I would encourage you to all consider how exploring B Corp could help your organisation make the next step forward, while also thinking about what you can bring to the New Zealand B Corp family.”

Want to hear more?

Watch this recording (30 minutes) to hear Becky Lloyd (Toitū Envirocare), Hamish Reid (Synlait) and Barbara Nebel (thinkstep-anz) explain the why, how and what of being a B Corp.

Ready to get started? Here are our three top tips

  1. Anyone can work through the assessment – create an account to get a feel for the questions asked and what sort of evidence you might need to find or create. Use it to help you track progress and bookmark ideas for your project plan.
  2. Allocate a champion dedicated to the project and set aside the resource they need. Ensure access to any other staff involved (like finance or HR representatives, sustainability colleagues, and senior leadership sign off). Resourcing is mostly time for the initial certification but ongoing improvement projects may require financial support.
  3. Ask questions of the B Lab team as well as talking to other Certified B Corps. Lean on the expertise of the B Lab and get inspiration from the friendly community on how to tackle any obstacles.