Better Know a B: The TYF Group
www.tyf.com is a founding UK B Corporation. Kate Sandle (B Lab UK) caught up with Andy Middleton, the founding director, to find out more about them.
KS | What is the TYF Group?
TYF's skills are in inspiring change and delivering memorable, action-focused learning experiences. Our goal is to give customers and clients the confidence and desire to catalyse the shift that matters, inside and out.
KS | Why did you become a B Corp?
Playing a full part in accelerating positive change to better speed and scale is already central to everything at TYF, and we wanted to find better ways of showing that we do what we say. The B Corp certification process was the most practical and rigorous way of measuring our performance that we could find, so was any easy choice to make.
Having physical and digital connections to others on the same journey is vitally important, so joining a vibrant community of businesses that care was important to us too, as other networks that we’re part of don't connect people around values or build impact networks with anything like the same level of effectiveness.
KS | What did you think of your B Impact Assessment score (BIA)?
Walking the talk on sustainability is already important to us and TYF have been carbon neutral for over 10 years, use a bio-mass boiler for all heating, have onsite renewable generation, an electric vehicle charge point that’s free for customers and have lots of other good sustainability practices. Our entire business model is teaching people about sustainability and we had to still really focus our effort to get an overall score of 83.
Considering how much we did, it wasn’t easy to get a good score, and that made the process more worthwhile, rather than less - for the BIA you need to prove you are an all-round strong performer with more than just a green checklist. I recently compared the certification process to an Iron Man, thinking about the level of commitment required. If you are reasonably fit you should be able to complete any one part of an Iron Man, but to complete a full event, you need excel in multiple disciplines. The same goes for getting a great score on the BIA.
KS | What is one benefit you have seen since certification?
Every team member at TYF better understands the potential to change the world through business and they can access the B Hive and learn about why making an impact both important and possible. I receive daily updates from the B Hive and usually find something that is worth another click; it’s a great tool that would be even better if all UK B Corps participated in the group and contributed to conversations.
KS | You are obviously excited about the movement, but what did the rest of the staff think?
We bought three of the team from Wales to the launch and they loved the opportunity to see the buzz around the movement and experience first hand what it feels like to ‘drink from the fire hose’ of change with a few hundred like-minded travellers.
KS | What impact has the BIA had on TYF?
Becoming a B Corp has created a really clear narrative for why we do what we do. It hasn't changed what we stand for but it has helped us prioritise the things that we need to do next to make even more impact.
Going through the BIA helped us tighten up our policies and procedures and we’ve locked in some good things that were happening but not well structured or provable.
In the future we will encourage our suppliers to consider becoming B Corps and to spread the ripples of change. We work with a lot of SMEs and freelancers and plan to get 15 or more of them to certify as B Corps over the next couple of years.
KS | Who is your B Corp crush?
We have an ethical retail business that equips people for time well spent in nature, and we work closely with Patagonia on marketing and networking. We have been hugely inspired by a lot of what they have done over the years, so mountain man Yvon Chouinard would get my crush.
KS | What can B Lab help you with?
I would like to see a map of where all the UK B Corps are located and if you have any more materials that I can hand out at an event I’m speaking at next week – that would be great.
(You can find a map of the locations of the all UK B Corps here)
KS | It’s 2020, 5 years since you certified as a B Corp, what does the movement look like?
B Corps really fitted with the new sustainability legislation in Wales, which was launched in 2016, and the government as well as impact business really got behind the idea of the BIA and certification. The result is there are now over 250 B Corps in Wales – more per capita than any other country in the world, and that’s bringing huge benefits for a new caring, agile economy that’s finding its feet in our little country. At a wider UK level, the movement shifted gear when bigger corporate players including Unilever and Grant Thornton locked the BIA and B Corps into their business processes.