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B for Benefit for all. Our journey to B Corp.

What does getting the B Corp certification mean for Base, and what motivated us to apply for it? Lola Philippart, Managing Director of BaseBRU, sheds light on our journey toward B Corp certification.

As Managing Director of the Brussels studio, what motivated Base to apply for the BCorp certification?

I believe it's no longer sufficient to run our business as usual. We must address society's greatest challenges and use our business as a force for good. While our focus remains on the health of our company and how we can help our clients, we need to consider our broader impact on all stakeholders, including our team and the environment. As a new Managing Director, I want us to think bigger. B Corp was the perfect framework to help us set our goals and define our areas of improvement to do good.

BCorp certification entails meeting various requirements. Could you share insights into the certification process and its impact on Base's operations? Any notable challenges or learnings discovered during the journey?

Obtaining this certification is not a means to an end; it’s not a destination but a journey. We applied for the certification for both our Brussels and NYC offices. It was tough because we had to do it simultaneously for two studios in different marketplaces with different cultures. Now I want to encourage our other studios in Geneva and Melbourne to join us.

Thanks to the B Corp Impact Assessment (B.I.A.), we evaluated our company across five impact areas, gaining valuable insights and a roadmap for improvement. Post-assessment, our approach to worker-related aspects and governance was already on track. Given that Base is centered around people—working with and for them—creating a great workplace culture is essential for us.

Since the B.I.A., we've set up a Diversity & Inclusion Taskforce to raise awareness within our team and facilitate action on these important topics. We've been shifting most of our office supplies to local and sustainable sources, aiming to have at least half of them from engaged suppliers this year. We've also been focusing on employee health and wellness, implementing a training program, and new well-being initiatives. Finally, we audited our carbon footprint with Tapio to assess our actual environmental impact and define tracks for improvement.

It's part of our plan to keep improving, and B Lab will check us out every three years to ensure we're making progress.

What does BCorp certification signify for a company, beyond its potential as a marketing tool for client attraction?

Becoming B Corp certified goes beyond marketing; it’s about using it as a tool to navigate our business, identify areas for improvement, and set goals for creating a more positive impact as a creative agency.

When I became Managing Director in 2022, I decided to pursue Base's B Corp certification. This was a big step. But being B Corp certified isn't just a badge we wear—it's a symbol of our commitment to improving things. It's a way for us to stand out in a crowded market as a company that cares about more than just profits.

What does getting this certification change for Base Design? What is the impact?

1. The impact of the certification process

Going through the B Corp certification process has been quite a journey. It's forced us to formalize our operations, like creating policies, defining our code of conduct, or creating a complete employee handbook. It will help us communicate internally with more transparency.

2. Great instead of Big → Tangibility aspect

Getting certified as a B Corp has added a new layer of meaning to our mission of being a "great" rather than a "big" company and putting our values into action. The certification provides solid proof of our commitment to doing things right, and it's given us confidence to talk openly about what we stand for.

3. Reassurance for clients

These days, clients want more than just good creation or expertise; they want to know they're working with a company that cares about their societal impact. B Corp certification shows them we're serious about it. Being part of the B Lab community allows us to learn and grow alongside like-minded businesses.

4. Employee pride

As Managing Director, I want to lead a company that adapts and evolves with the changing times. It's essential that our employees feel a sense of pride in being part of our team. I want to use the B Corp certification to motivate our current team members, instilling a sense of belonging to a company actively working towards a greater good—a part of something bigger.

BCorp emphasizes creating positive impact. How does this core ethos resonate with Base's vision and aspirations for the future?

B Corp certification will surely contribute to and even elevate one of our main purposes of becoming a Great rather than a Big company. Our goal, our “Base way,” is to make a positive impact through our expertise and how we conduct our business. This means creating a positive work environment, being accountable to all our stakeholders (team, clients, communities, planet), and fostering a culture of responsibility.

*To obtain the certification, a business must achieve a minimum score of 80 points on the B.I.A. (B Corp Impact Assessment). This comprehensive evaluation tool covers a wide range of questions designed to evaluate the current state of a business, its impact and eligibility for certification.