At Phil we understand that change is difficult. Despite accruing a high score as a B Corp, we know that improving that score will be difficult. This is because Phil was built with the values that B Corp also holds high. To achieve our certification, there was not much we had to change. Some aspects had to be refined to the specifications of B Corp, but overall, we were going in the right direction. Continually improving our practices now is a much harder feat. As a small company, our time and resources are already stretched pretty thin. Nonetheless, change is the motor of progress.
One of the ways we decided to push ourselves was participating in the Inclusive Economy Challenge. This is a B Corp initiative to encourage companies and help them improve social and environmental metrics by focusing their energy on a small selection.
We carefully chose the three aspects we would focus on; making sure these were ambitious, but at the same time manageable:
– Supplier Screen Topics: Develop a Strong Code of Conduct to screen negative practices.
– Financial: Initiatives to increase wages.
– Diversity: Percentage of suppliers owned by women or minorities.
To begin, for the first metric we consulted with other B Corps to discuss strategies of creating a Code of Conduct. A formal document was put together, and additionally, a survey was created and will be sent out this fall. The responses of this survey will be analyzed in detail by our team and conclusions will be drawn to make strong and fair guidelines.
The reason we decided to send out a survey was because we also wanted to hear the opinion of our suppliers before we imposed rules on them. We have been working with a lot of them since our beginnings and hold our relationships in high regard. Simply imposing rules on them would be detrimental for their process and our relationship. This survey will help us gain a new perspective, find middle ground that is reasonable, and reach our goal with their help.
For our second metric, we focused on improving one of our founding ideas. We want our dream to work while providing people with a living wage. For this we had to calculate the living wage of Montreal, something that had not been done (to our knowledge) by any organization. Basing ourselves off cost of living data, while also comparing Montreal to cities such as Vancouver and Toronto, we managed to draw up some figures. We’re proud to say that all employees throughout Phil were already receiving at least the living wage we had calculated and we’ve since increased what we pay our interns from minimum wage to living wage (approximately $3 more an hour). Now, we had the calculation solidified for our team to know they were being honoured while pursuing our common goals.
Lastly, our third goal was significantly tied to our first and it was the most we learned from. Diversity is one of our founding values. Phil is 100% owned by women. A lot of our suppliers are also majority owned by women, or are self-employed women. People’s differences are embraced. As we strive for diversity, we also strive for strong relationships. We will not pick our suppliers based on the colour of their skin or their gender. We will pick our suppliers based on shared values and competency while embracing the increasing diversity of our city.
As can be noted, our metrics were very supplier focused. The Inclusive Economy Challenge has helped us to take note of the indirect effects we have on society and the environment. Although we have strong relationships with our suppliers, we do not understand their inner workings enough. On top of the benefits stated earlier, the increased communication and transparency will add to our efficiency as a business, allowing us to serve our clients even better.
We are confident that the efforts of each of us will lead to a better society and a sustainable planet. Each small step goes into the melting pot of positive change. We thank B Corp for pushing us to improve continuously.