21 Sep B Impact Team Pilot
Author: Margo Bailey, Undergraduate Student at IE University
A team of five undergraduate students at IE University served as student consultants for Fundie Ventures on the first European B Impact Teams, for a month at the end of last semester.
B Impact Teams are student-organized groups who help companies prepare for B-Corp certification, a rigorous process that measures a company’s positive impact on the environment, community, governance, as well as its customers and workers.
The first IE B Impact team was a pilot that laid the groundwork for an undergraduate seminar and thesis class. If momentum continues and grows, the team will become a permanent sub-unit in the IE Net Impact Club. In the club, undergraduate and master students can collaborate while providing free impact consulting services for local companies.
A Hands-On Intro to Impact Consulting
“Being part of the B Impact Team and collaborating with Fundie was a very useful way to get a valuable first experience in consulting,” commented Beatriz Martinez Berriatua, consultant for the B-Corp Community. “In the following internships and jobs I will apply for, I would especially highlight from this experience the teamwork, adaptability and creative problem solving that was required in order to make improvements and achieve the goals established that will be very useful in the future.”
Showing students how business can be used as a ‘Force for Good’
Though business often gets a bad rap for corruption, students of the IE B Impact Team know things can be turned around if there is a movement to change the actions of business.
“Only if someone starts a movement can you make a change,” noted Alex Panther, a consultant for B-Corp Workers and Customers. “Many people say, ‘Why should I start doing this if I am the only one?’ Through this project I have learned that most of the time you are not the only one because there are always people who think the same. Second important thing to remember: only when someone is brave enough to be different to the mainstream, can something change AND improve, at the same time.”
“To me, the B-Corp certification makes the responsibility to protect our communities and environment available to everyone,” said Alba Dieguez, consultant for B-Corp Environment. “As these types of initiatives expand it is important to expose students to business models that successfully make profits while incorporating a social mission.”
And companies too…
Apart from being a great professional experience for IE students, the IE B-Impact Team also supports local businesses keen on improving their impact.
“B-Corps are a middle ground between non-profits and for-profit companies, making companies focus on creating a purpose through their service or product. It takes a 360 degree approach to look at all aspects a company touches from its employees, to the environment it operates in. It’s positive, real and inspiring,” noted Coral Taylor, consultant for B-Corp Workers and Customers.
Companies interested in being B-Corp certified can start the process themselves and can also reach out to the IE B Impact team to get started.
“The first step is to do the B impact assessment, which is a free tool offered by B Lab,” explains Belén Moroño, consultant for B-Corp Governance. “If the company scores higher than 80 they can get the B Corp certification after the score is confirmed by B Lab. Many then take steps to improve in areas where they scored low, discussing with their team what changes will benefit their company and society the most.”