A corp on the way to B Corp.
At Fluro we make positive change happen. It’s our vision, it’s what we do. We’re the positive change guys.
Now, this has always been our thing. It’s what Nick and Matt set out to do 10 years ago, but it’s only more recently (thanks to investment and partnerships) that we’ve been in a position to full-throttle embrace this ethos and embed it into the fabric of everything we do. And we love that, we love that for us. We’re getting to live our dream of making an impact.
One huge part of that shift into fully validated positive change is becoming a B Corp. It’s non-negotiable. Let’s talk about it.
What’s a B Corp?B Corps are businesses verified by B Lab for their high standards in the areas of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Essentially, it’s committing to doing good in every aspect of the company, whether that’s charitable contributions, reducing environmental impact, customer treatment, or employee wellbeing. It’s also the nature of the transparency around these practices - essentially ensuring we’re not a nefarious corporate evil but instead use our platform as a conscientious and diverse force for positive effect.
How do you become a B Corp?Having applied to become a verified B Corp, you must then fulfil and maintain a criteria of passive and proactive practices and initiatives which, combined, contribute to a multifaceted positive impact. B Lab will then ascertain when your business meets their standard scoring to become a B Corp. It’s not an overnight thing, it’s a lot of changes but it’s also the sustained nature of these changes. It’s a commitment to always be better.
How it startedAfter our initial application, walking through what was required with B Lab, and doing a lot of research into how to most effectively implement the changes required, we started by creating five dedicated pillars of action.
Our five pillars:
- Team members
- Stakeholders and communities
- Governance and accountability
Each pillar got its own dedicated team, and each team’s first duty was to devise a list of potential actions to help effect positive change in their area. Here are just a few examples:
- Better develop tools for vulnerable customers
- Build out customer care resources
Stakeholders and communities
- ED&I staff training
- Company-wide commitment to local communities
- Values alignment
- Social event diversification
- % of energy from renewables
- Eco-friendly products
- Review committee ToRs
- Change articles of association
How it’s going
Not only are we really happy with the progress we’ve made in the last 6 months and the feedback we’ve been receiving from Greenheart, a team we’ve partnered with to help us make well-informed decisions in the right direction, but we’re energised by this cause and how rewarding this process has been.
So far we’ve made a lot of changes, improvements, and additions across all five pillars.
We’ve always put the customer at the heart of our products. We’re incredibly proud of our Trustpilot score and the positive feedback we’ve received. However, part of this initiative is asking how we can not only create customer-focused products but champion the consumer beyond our customer base.
As part of a wider initiative to become a line of defence in the war on fraud by raising awareness of fraud practices and patterns in the UK, we’ve started by adding this information to our application process. This includes contact details and avenues of support for anyone concerned they may be a target of attempted fraud.
We’re also building a catalogue of resources for consumers to reference when shopping for financial products. Working in finance, we’re more than aware of how alien some of the terminology can be to anyone unfamiliar with the sector. We believe demystifying jargon is the first step in putting financial control back into the hands of the consumer. We want to break down these barriers and help to increase not only financial literacy but the ability to make informed decisions about personal finances which, in turn, will protect against some cases of preventable debt and financial difficulty.
This all culminated in a wider deep-dive into customer vulnerability and actions we can take to support different groups of consumers throughout our application, loan management, and repayment processes.
Stakeholders and community
This pillar comes in all shapes and sizes but we’ve kicked it off by partnering with a wonderful organisation who have graciously allowed our team to periodically come and help them rebuild playgrounds in the London area. We’d like to say this was selflessly supporting the community but this was so much fun and we can’t wait to do it again soon, definitely a treat for us that we’re still counting it as work towards the pillar!
In a similar vein, we will be reintroducing internships and apprenticeship schemes, which really just means we get to work with more incredible young people.
Fluro is also committed to matching monthly charity donations from the team, as well as regularly collecting and donating food supplies to those in need.
We’ve made a lot of changes for the team and future team members. We’ve ensured our job descriptions are inclusive, attempting to avoid any gendered or exclusionary language. This was a huge learning opportunity for us - not because our job descriptions were ever written for the attention of a certain demographic but because we always wrote our job descriptions with the belief they were neutral and it wasn’t until we properly took the time to learn about language perceptions from different genders, classes, and races that we realised there was a huge degree of nuance to the practice. We may never be perfect but we’re incredibly conscientious of this now and hope to do our best to always make everyone feel welcome as part of our team.
We’ve also implemented a Culture Club, a People Team, power hours, democratic voting, and additional processes for career development, review, and recognition. We’re really keen to shout about how people have helped in the business, whether with ideas, selflessness, support, or output. And we’re also really keen to do this in a way that makes everyone comfortable. We understand not everyone likes attention but we want to make everyone feel seen for their contribution in a way that works for them.
Another small addition is a home working hub full of information, resources, and tips and tricks for our remote employees. This might at first sound like some corporate trick to make sure everyone is scared into working but it’s actually quite the opposite - it’s about how to remember to separate your work life from your home life. It’s to set up clear barriers and deadlines, things like ensuring you don’t feel the need to work longer or answer emails at 8pm just because your home is also your office, or to make sure, when you’re unwell, that you still take a sick day without feeling guilty because you’re working from home. It also contains things like confidential contacts if you just fancy a chat or if things are getting a bit overwhelming.
A few things we’ve done so far include: giving everyone a Fluro eco-mug, the team can take these mugs to a local coffee shop for coffee on us instead of buying coffee in a disposable take-out cup; adding environmental tips and tricks to our remote working hub; use of renewable energy; providing additional in-office facilities for recycling. These are small changes but they’re indicative of how we want to approach our relationship to a neutral environmental footprint.
One bigger change is a commitment is the implementation of an eco-friendly purchasing policy across every aspect of the business which should be in place soon!
This will be somewhat gobbledegook for anyone who isn’t in the sphere of legal and compliance, but we’re working with our board to update Fluro’s articles of association. This is the biggest step in confirming our commitment to becoming a B Corp. In simple terms, this means we can now change all our legal stuff to commit our interests to be not only of the company, but the company’s employees, community, and environment.
Essentially, we putting a ring on it.
So much! We’re slowly working our way down the lists from all five pillars and executing on plans to make Fluro a B Corp. The lists are long and fruitful and exciting and we’re proud of how far we come. We’ve been getting incredible feedback from Greenheart on our progress, ahem:
It has been a joy seeing Fluro jump into their impact journey feet-first. They have taken ownership over it and have managed to get as many people involved as possible, making real, tangible progress. They haven't treated this as a side project, but have ensured that positive impact is truly embedded at the core of the business - Tatty @ Greenheart
…and we hope that our final and official application to become a B Corp will be submitted this year. When (not ‘if’) we get the B Corp validation, we’ll update you guys on everything else we did to get there and what it means to us to be a B Corp.
Watch this space.