Independent technology consultancy Opencast has taken a big step forward to formalising itself as a purpose-driven driven business, after submitting an application to become a B Corp to the body that issues the globally recognised certification.
B Corp certification, accredited by independent non-profit B Lab UK, is designed to measure a company’s entire social and environmental impact. Once granted, B Corp certification verifies that a business meets high standards of performance, transparency and accountability in areas including employee benefits, charitable giving and supply chain practices.
Right now there are close to 2,000 certified B Corps in the UK, with over 7,500 worldwide. Opencast’s submission will now be subject to B Lab scrutiny, and requires the business to meet a rigorous 80-point threshold before it achieves full verification as a B Corp.
Opencast chief executive Tom Lawson confirmed the company’s B Corp submission late last month to a gathering of over 300 of its people at a company conference at Newcastle Civic Centre.
“We are immensely proud finally to have made our B Corp submission,” he said. “Becoming a certified B Corp will formalise social goals as key business objectives. In a world with huge environmental and social challenges, working simply to maximise shareholder profit is no longer enough.
“B Corp certification is not an end in itself. It is part of an ongoing process by the whole business to be a force for social change, with work already under way to change the way we do business, including on sustainability, supply chain excellence, people engagement and inclusion, and charitable giving. We’re also committed to ensuring that the work we do not only has a positive social impact but avoids any detrimental impact on the environment or society.”
Tom continued: “Submitting to become a B Corp has involved a huge effort by people right across the business, and I’m grateful to everyone who has been part of it. We’re confident that it is an effort worth making because we want to demonstrate to people inside and outside the business that we are serious about our role in helping to drive positive social change.”
Alongside its B Corp submission, Opencast is now a signatory to the Better Business Act Coalition, a campaign to ensure that business interests can easily be aligned with those of wider society and the environment. The coalition wants to change the UK Companies Act “to ensure businesses align the interests of people and planet alongside profit and helping to deliver a new contract between business and society”.
Tom added: “In signing up to the Better Business Act coalition, we ask the UK government to amend Section 172 of the Companies Act 2006 so that companies are legally obliged to operate in a manner that benefits workers, customers, communities and the environment.
“We no longer live in a world where the long-term interests of people, planet and profit are not aligned. We believe that every company in the UK needs to take ownership of its social and environmental impact. It is reassuring to know we’re not alone and that thousands of like-minded companies have already signed up to the coalition.”
To lead the company’s effort to be purpose-driven, Opencast has confirmed the appointment of a new head of social impact. Stef Monaco will lead a team focusing on action under three priority ‘pillars’, each aligned to key United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: health, inclusion and wellbeing; places and planet, and a fairer economy and society.
Among other work done by Opencast in recent months has been the co-creation by the team of new public-facing statements of the company’s purpose, mission and vision. This now states that ‘Opencast believes in making life better through the power of people and technology. Our vision is to make a positive impact on society through solutions that are simpler, more sustainable and fairer for all’.
Opencast is an independent and privately owned full-service UK technology consultancy specialising in designing, building and running user-centred digital and technology solutions.
Bringing together expertise in digital human experience, technology optimised operations, innovation and emerging technology and data driven insights Opencast works with UK public sector bodies, healthcare organisations and businesses to develop services that include support for critical national infrastructure and help for millions of citizens.