From our inception, I always wanted RTOWN to be a shining example of a for-profit company that has social impact built into its DNA. In past experience, I’ve seen the direct correlation of impact to the bottom line when a team galvanizes around a collective purpose that not only translates into business results (profits) but betterment for society at large.
I’ve always wanted to scale RTOWN and maintain its soul while doing so; to not lose sight of our core values as we grow. A lot of business professionals argue this isn't possible as businesses get larger. I love hearing what most people think is impossible and then proving them wrong!
One of RTOWN’s core values is Surplus for Purpose. It is incredible to announce that RTOWN has become one of the few companies in British Columbia to obtain B Corp Certification by folks at B Lab. This stamp of approval means RTOWN is held accountable to using business as a force of good.
When RTOWN was founded, we were initially turned down for B Corp Certification. One of the key criteria is financial stability and RTOWN was too young of a company at that time to demonstrate that measurement. What attracted me to B Corp was that more stakeholders than just shareholders are considered in the context of certification but financial stability is still a critical measure. It is about capitalism plus consciousness.
I recently spoke with the RTOWN team about how great our core values are and how amazing it is to be able to work with people who see the world the same way and like to give back as we grow. However, if RTOWN doesn’t return the expected value to shareholders or misses payroll for its employees, then none of that matters. We have to take care of our own profits and give back from a secured position. It is akin to the advice we get aboard planes about putting our own oxygen masks on first and then helping those around us. B Corp uses traditional business principles and applies them to solving social problems without risking RTOWN’s profits. RTOWN is accountable to its regular stakeholder group (shareholders) but is now also accountable to a broader stakeholder group (employees, customers, community, and the environment). However, this does not mean our new responsibilities reduces or changes our traditional responsibilities to shareholders. It’s not a zero sum game. It just means we have more goals.
So here we are. RTOWN is a B Corporation. I'm super pumped!
Some questions you may have:
1) What criteria are factored into B Corp certification?
- how we compensate RTOWNers
- our impact on the environment
- our impact on the communities we serve and work in
- our support for local businesses
- advancement for women in the workplace
- training and professional development for RTOWNers
- transparency and governance
2) RTOWN is only two years old, how has RTOWN given back in such a short time?
In our short time, RTOWN has provided in kind marketing support to two primary organizations:
- a) TYE (The Young Entrepreneurs) - a non-profit focused on entrepreneurial education to high schools students in Vancouver and Surrey
- b) LocoBC (founding partners) - a non-profit focused on research and advocacy for shopping locally and connecting local businesses together. Their founding principle being that when dollars are spent locally, more of them stay locally to the benefit of the community
3) What was the primary motivation for RTOWN to obtain B Corp status?
- a) It is a benchmark for accountability. It's a way to measure what it means to be 'good' to a broader stakeholder group. One basic principle of business is "measure what matters to you." You can’t know what good looks like unless there’s a standard for good. B Corp will give us an annual audit around RTOWN's business practices. The intent is to scale RTOWN to be a massive business and a massive force for good in the world. The idea is to be the best in the world at what we do and the best for the world.
- b) It tells investors that RTOWN is a progressive company that will make money in a place where consumers increasingly demand more social consciousness from the corporations they engage with.
- c) It sends a signal to future RTOWNers that we are looking for values and culture fit. RTOWN wants new members who see the world the same way we do and to be part of the solution with us. Our mission is to make every town RTOWN.
6) What was RTOWN’s B Corp score?