Envato has become a member of a unique global community dedicated to businesses that commit to making a positive impact on society. But what does it take to receive - and maintain - B Corp certification?
“From the earliest days of Envato, we’ve operated with ‘Not Just The Bottom Line’ as a core value, so while we have a healthy appreciation for the company’s financial position, we are committed to operating a sustainable business that creates wealth for many, not just for some.”
“We have been looking for a benchmark to measure our company against, and a guidepost for us to develop ourselves to be the company we want to be,” continues Collis. “The shareholders of Envato believe that businesses have a multifaceted role in society beyond just profit; when they’re at their best, they serve customers, staff, stakeholders and society, in addition to shareholders. As shareholders, leaders and people inevitably change, achieving B Corp certification ensures continuity of our commitment to both purpose and profit for many years to come.”
“It was quite a difficult bar to reach and a very comprehensive process that forced us to look into things that we maybe hadn’t been paying enough attention to. We embraced the fact that it was hard and the difficulty of going through the certification process made us develop ourselves as a company,” he concludes.
Now that it’s certified, Envato is part of a community of more than 3000 B Corp-certified companies in 71 countries around the world, joining fellow Australian companies such as CultureAmp, Sendle, Stone & Wood and Bellroy.
Becoming a certified B Corp is no walk in the park. B Lab, the non-profit organisation that administers the assessment globally, runs each potential business through a stringent series of questions, designed to tease out how the business contributes positively across five key domains: its workers, customers, suppliers, community and the environment.
At each step of the way, companies are asked to demonstrate how they are innovating positively in these areas, which can cover everything from best-practice transparency policies to green energy and sustainability.
“That was the most challenging - and interesting! - part of the assessment process, learning how we could measure the company’s environmental impact”, notes B Corp Project Lead, Jessica Nia. “Along the way, we switched to 100% GreenPower for our office electricity, and have implemented processes to help us continually improve our environmental performance as a company.”
“It’s been a constant learning process,” continues Jessica. “For instance, I learned that we donate excess food and milk from the office and events to OzHarvest, Australia's leading food rescue organisation. I also learned that the bulk of our electronic equipment is sold off to a company that repurposes and sells them second hand, and that old, ready-to-dispose-of gear is being collected to be sent to recycling via an e-waste solution.”
Andrew Davies, CEO of B Lab ANZ, said that Envato’s certification was recognition of a strong commitment to the journey of becoming a B Corp. “Undertaking the B Impact Assessment (BIA) is a long and rigorous process, and many companies don't get it on the first try. But the Envato team stuck to their values, set aspirational goals, and made all the changes necessary to achieve it."
"Many companies assume that their operations match their values. The BIA puts that to the test, and for many, it ends up being a revelation about the things that need attention."
“We congratulate Envato on their achievements across all of the impact areas, from workers to environment. They evaluated and improved every part of the business on their B Corp journey,” he concluded.
Rising to meet the challenges of B Corp certification unearthed new challenges and opportunities for the team at Envato, as Acting Office Manager Ruth Crespo explains. “One section of our King Street headquarters involved ongoing discussions with our landlord who had signed a long-term agreement for a non-green electricity product. The process involved conversations with our building manager's Energy Auctioneer to make a decision on whether to re-tender for a green product or pay for a product upgrade to a 100% green energy product, which is what we opted for in the end.”
“Overall, the process took around six months from initial discussions to the first implementation. Thankfully the remainder of our building was significantly easier to change to Powershop, even if it is more complex than changing your energy at home!”
As part of the pre-certification process, Envato also embarked on an upgrade of its policies and procedures, specifically those related to anti-corruption and bribery. “As a lawyer, I naturally think about governance a lot of the time,” notes Envato’s General Counsel Sarah Davoren. “So while we think that bribery and corruption risk is generally pretty remote for Envato, we felt that it was important to set the ground rules and articulate our zero tolerance approach, both for our staff and our wider community.”
While the company already had a number of internal policies that touched on similar matters, this was the first time it had released something that’s specific to anti-bribery and corruption. “It gave us a chance to reiterate Envato’s values, how those values were embodied in existing policy and processes and give a new dimension and rigour to our compliance practices,” continues Sarah. “We think our framework stacks up pretty well compared to our industry, and of course gives us a platform to refine, develop and scale compliance with the business.”
In setting up new anti-bribery and corruption policies and supporting training programs, Sarah Davoren and the legal team are hopeful it will help set a new benchmark for positive behaviour across the business. “There was a lot of feedback about these sorts of issues and how there was a lot of enthusiasm and support - especially in our Mexico office - for really leading by example and being change makers in this space. It was really impactful feedback, and confirmed we were on the right path.”
“I’m surrounded by lawyers who are motivated, values and purpose-led, and who are keen to be just that - a force of good for the company and its aspirations for our community. We’re really proud to support our business stakeholders who are contributing to and living Envato’s values every day.”
“So I would like to think that achieving strong levels of governance and ‘doing good’ go hand-in-hand in many ways. I’m hoping a B Corp certification gives the company - and its people - motivation to keep doing good things and to keep finding ways of doing even better!”
Taking stock of Envato’s journey to now, on the eve of its 15th birthday celebrations, it’s a sentiment Collis agrees with. “I hope that our B Corp certification can be one piece of the puzzle in helping us stay true to being a company that values both purpose and profit, and we hope that staff and the wider creative community feel a level of pride in contributing to and purchasing from a company that’s been verified to have some of the highest standards for social and environmental performance.”