How B Corp Certification helps Yellow Sub Geo live up to its values
Cardiff-based Yellow Sub Geo is committed to leaving the world a better place than it found it
Becoming a B Corp in 2021 felt like a natural next step in Cardiff-based Yellow Sub Geo’s journey to leave the world a better place than it found it. B Corps are companies verified by B Lab to meet high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability.
- Company: Yellow Sub Geo is an environmental innovation and solutions consultancy
- Location: Cardiff
- Founded: 2017
- Size: 22 employees
- Sector: Professional Services
- Mission: To leave the world a better place than it found it
- Goal: To disrupt, innovate, and provide clients with sustainable solutions that benefit the planet, and to inspire others on the journey
- Deepening accountability to hold the highest possible standards
- Safeguarding the mission
As head of communications and engagement Lowri Humberstone-Hill explains: “Gaining certification forces you to scrutinise your practices, and be accountable for upholding the highest possible environmental and people-related standards.”
To become a B Corp, a company must update its articles of association to align with the interests of all stakeholders. Yellow Sub Geo felt this legal requirement would help safeguard its mission, because it would embed a stakeholder mindset that would survive any changes in CEO or senior management.
But becoming a B Corp was also, says Lowri, “an opportunity to join a very cool club of like-minded people.”
- Bringing the team together as it works through certification
- Investing in and strengthening relationships
Moving towards certification meant interrogating every single aspect of the business and raising Yellow Sub Geo’s game accordingly. Coming up with a set of meaningful business values was one example, and the entire team worked together to distil four ‘Live Life Yellow’ values to inform how the business operates.
- come as you are – the business welcomes anyone from any background
- relentless curiosity – innovative thinking to solve big environmental problems
- embrace discomfort – this is where growth happens, and the team has to be able to challenge each other
- create visible and invisible change.
One way the business is creating ‘visible and invisible change’ is by quantifying the results of its volunteering goals. In the past the team, who work remotely, simply enjoyed the opportunity volunteering afforded to spend time together, as well as seeing the difference it made. “Today, I can tell you that our corner of Cardiff is 78 bags of litter tidier as a result of 56 hours of team volunteering over the past 12 months,” says Lowri.
The team is also creating visible and invisible change through awaydays and away-weekends, where they have fun and talk about work challenges.
“It would be easy to argue sometimes that the money could be put to better use, but being a B Corp holds us accountable for looking after our people, and this is a great way to do that,” says Lowri. The events also facilitate personal growth. For example, one member of the team overcame her long-standing fear of water and did paddleboarding.
- Attracting staff
- Communicating impact
- Driving further improvements
The business’s new values have resulted in a number of positive impacts, particularly on people and culture. For example, Yellow Sub Geo has set itself a medium-term goal to become an ‘employer brand’ that welcomes and attracts a diverse range of people to tackle complex environmental challenges. An employer brand refers to the way organisations differentiate themselves in the labour market in order to attract, recruit, retain and engage the right people.
This gives Yellow Sub Geo the edge over much bigger businesses when recruiting highly sought-after candidates.
“Six months ago someone joined us, rather than a FTSE-100 company, specifically because of our commitment to neurodiversity – we recently joined the Neurodiversity in Business network,” says Lowri.
The second major benefit of being a B Corp is that it makes conversations with external stakeholders easier. “Instead of having to explain our mission, we can fast forward to exploring the opportunities to collaborate,” says Lowri. It also helps the company work with organisations that can support its growth. “Our recruitment consultant is a B Corp, meaning it can communicate our purpose and values to potential candidates – and the people whom it attracts as a B Corp are naturally attracted to us too.”
To maintain certification, a B Corp has to go through a process of recertification every three years. This acts as a catalyst for continuous improvement, says Lowri. As it approaches its recertification deadline in 2024, the company is working hard to improve its diversity, equity and inclusion.
While it hopes to improve its B Corp scores, Yellow Sub Geo also understands the importance of simply reflecting on the positive impact the business is making. “The journey is as important as the destination,” concludes Lowri.
To find out more about Yellow Sub Geo or B Corp Certification, visit the Yellow Sub Geo website or their listing on our B Corp Directory.