This is an archived blog from when I ran Conscious Public Relations Inc. from 2008-2018. Excuse the potential outdated-ness!

Our journey to joining the global B Corp family

Our journey to B Corporation really starts from my childhood. Being raised in a Catholic family, moral values and a sense of being a good person were instilled in me from a very young age. In the second grade, environmentalism became one of my top values when I learned about how much waste humans were creating in the world, how we were polluting our natural ecosystems, and the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling. While I carried values of social justice and nature conservation dear to me, I ended up pursuing an Arts education and a career in PR that at first, didn’t allow those values to surface.

2011 was a pivotal year in that I “awakened” to more self-development and spiritual modalities. I had adopted a plant-based diet and was incorporating yoga and meditation into my life. It became clear that my business had to change after I realized I was representing clients whose products and services I personally wouldn’t support. As I tell everyone who asks me about my Conscious PR journey, I “downloaded” my new business name at the end of that year, and began the path to rebranding in 2012. Even though I had the idea for the business two years prior, I had encountered another local company representing it, and only later felt the urgency to pursue it myself.

It was around that time that I became aware of B Corporation. Madeleine Shaw of Lunapads was leading a roundtable discussion at a Forum for Women Entrepreneurs event in 2011 and I wrote some notes about the certification that she had described (having already been a huge fan of Lunapads’s work).

I learned that B Corp has one unifying goal: to redefine success in business. B Corporation performance standards are comprehensive, transparent and verified. They measure a company’s impact on all its stakeholders (e.g. workers, suppliers, community, customers and the environment). Unlike traditional corporations, Certified B Corporations are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on all their stakeholders.

To me, this means business for the benefit of people and planet as much as profit.

Later that year, I was mentored by Dawn Bowles through FWE, who e-troduced me to Stephanie Ryan, Community Development Officer for B Corp in the Pacific Northwest. I learned that a company of my size would be given a different assessment than larger companies, which was a bit of a relief. Still, I felt that I wasn’t ready; incorporating and re-branding was occupying most of my energy, so I focused on that and getting more clients who aligned with my newly communicated business values.

Fast forward two years in 2014. I went through B Corp’s B Impact Assessment and scored about 42 points, and printed out a list of all the things I could potentially do to earn the 80 / 200 points required to apply for certification. I must admit, it looked like a difficult list to achieve. So I focused on having a good business year, attended SVI Hollyhock, and felt like I had finally been recruited into the ‘tribe’ of conscious businesses in Vancouver. I also attended a Bridge for Health panel event in which three B.C.-based Certified B Corporations talked about their journey to certification and what it meant for them. I met Stephanie in person and she encouraged me to pursue certification because the annual B Corp Champions Retreat in 2015 was taking place in Portland, Oregon, which wouldn’t be a far place for me to travel. I also picked up The B Corp Handbook which helped me get started.

I resolved to make B Corp Certification one of my business resolutions for 2015. Serendipitously, I attended a Christmas party in December 2014 and I told Madeleine about my goal. She said to “go for it” and it was at that moment when the spark was ignited, and action began. It’s amazing how much you want to act when others rally behind you.

I finally sat down to complete the B Impact Assessment again (which took about one hour including note-taking) and found us at 46 points. I started bringing the book to my Mastermind group so that I could become accountable for the steps I was working toward. I wrote my first blog in March to document what I was going to work toward, and one month later, bumped up my score to 69. Some of the big things I did for the company included crafting and posting a new Mission Statement and Annual Report, joining 1% For the Planet, and establishing an advisory board who I had to meet with twice a year to review our performance. At this point, I didn’t know what else I could do on my own to gain 11 more points, so I scheduled an assessment review with B Lab and had my first review on June 18.

By simply reviewing my answers, I found our score was bumped up to 74. Now I was really close to 80, and had a concrete list of to-do’s I could do to achieve to get there. My Coordinator at the time was a whiz graphic designer and also converted our Cultural Manifesto into graphic format, which I felt was the missing visual element in our outward-facing mission statement. It occurred to me then how powerful my vision of achieving certification was affecting the team around me. YULU PR in Vancouver also certified, which provided more motivation for me to be the third PR firm in our city to achieve certification. Thank you to Melissa at YULU PR who sent me the pending B Corp graphic to use!

The final part of the assessment included submitting more documentation, including our Amended Articles of Incorporation, the wording for which is conveniently provided by B Corp. Once passing the 85 mark in October, I scheduled our final B Impact Assessment review, and submitted my final documents shortly after.

Even though I didn’t accomplish certification last year, I knew that I was very close and in March this year, was told that I had passed final assessment and that it would only be a matter of time before we received certification at that point. So I focused more on work and also attended my first Vancouver B Corp breakfast meeting at Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). Thank you for the advance welcome, Carla!

Last week I got the e-mail, and signed the declaration for our company. Eureka!

It still feels a bit surreal, even as I write this. But I feel that the missing puzzle piece of our company is now complete, and that we have proved we’re walking our values talk because we have been assessed and certified by a third party. We can wear the B Corporation mark proudly, and now join a global community of 2500+ businesses around the world who are also using their businesses for good.

I’m also proud to run one of the few certified public relations companies in Canada. I feel that B Corporation is important for our industry, in a time when both business and PR practices are viewed with suspicion.

I feel that this is the end of one journey, but also the start of something more, as we initiate ourselves into the community. We’ll continue to find out how we can improve our score, and raise our own bar of success as the team changes and expands and as we renew our certification.

If you’re in Vancouver, one of the ways you can meet people who run B Corporations is by attending the BLD Conference after party on May 19. The BLD Conference is a one-day leadership event for employees of Certified B Corps, so it’ll be another great initiation into the community.

If you’re thinking of pursuing B Corp Certification or even just taking the B Impact Assessment to see how your company measures up, I highly encourage it. The staff at B Lab are super friendly and knowledgeable and they are working tirelessly to set and maintain a standard that the entire business world can aspire to.

I would finally like to thank the people who were so instrumental to supporting me in this journey: Leo, Madeleine, Dawn, Stephanie, Michela, Kaare, the staff especially Matthew Nabhan at B Lab, and all of the existing B Corps I reached out to last year who provided kind words of support. I’m grateful, honoured, and ready to “B the Change.” Let’s do this.


Download Chapter 1 of Vegan Marketing Success Stories to learn the 6 basics ALL vegan businesses need to implement before they start marketing!

You have Successfully Subscribed!