‘Build back better’ is a neat phrase; it would look good on a baseball cap

The PR industry has always been a sucker for a good imperative. 'Just Do It', 'Make Poverty History', 'Think Different' to name just a few.

Implementing a framework and audited action may not sound snappy but it's necessary, argues Arlo Brady
Implementing a framework and audited action may not sound snappy but it's necessary, argues Arlo Brady

A little commanding language and a headlong rush for collective action creates excitement.

But it can also feel like we’re jumping the queue – shouldering ahead of the need for some necessary forethought.

If we are to build back better as a sector, like any builder we have to ask: are we going to deliver any radical improvement on what we’ve done before without an architect putting in some groundwork first?

Most of the time the answer is no. But, in this case, the good news is that the architectural blueprints already exist:

B Corp Certification is, quite simply, the most straightforward step any agency can make on the journey to ‘better’.

Of course, it’s not the be all and end all, but it’s a good place to start a transformation towards balancing purpose and profit.

In practice, to become certified you need to pass a third-party audit of your social sustainability and environmental performance and accountability standards.

Achieve 80 out of 200 points and you can be verified, with your status reassessed every two years and an emphasis on improving at every stage.

The process clarifies what you’ve achieved and where you have slipped up.

Certification also comes with teeth, which is perhaps why it’s so well respected – B Corps are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community and the environment.

The B Corp framework originated in the US, and while we’re often not sold on US creations here, it’s a movement that is growing rapidly. So far, 325 UK firms have signed up, including Innocent, Danone, COOK, The Body Shop, Simply Business and The Guardian, alongside many smaller and ingenious companies.

It’s also making headway across our industry with firms such as Havas London, MullenLowe salt, Forster, Greenhouse PR and Milk & Honey among those that have signed up.

Together, the world’s B Corps now number over 2,700 in more than 50 countries.

The B Corp movement has a head of steam and it’s shaking things up all over the world.

I’m normally the first to reach for the punchy imperative, but in this case the change that’s needed is so profound that we need a framework and audited action.

That’s not a line you would ever find on a baseball cap – but in a world where everyone is talking about purpose, it’s not words but action and impact that will make the difference.

So, sign up, join us in the B Corp community, and together let’s rebuild as a stronger, and more socially and environmentally minded industry.

Arlo Brady is chief executive of freuds

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