July 18, 2016
Guest blog by Steve Linton, President, Deltec Homes
Deltec Homes had the opportunity to host a large group of business owners last month for Asheville B Corp Network’s hackathon, owners at all different stages on the journey to becoming a B Corp. Our B Corp certification journey was recent enough that I clearly remember how many of those in attendance felt: a mix of early optimism (we’re a great company, so I’m sure we’ll have no problem with this), followed by reverence for the assessment tool (this is an amazing representation of what it means to be a socially responsible company), transforming quickly into the realization of the extreme challenge ahead (wow, this is going to take some serious effort to achieve).
We all know that nothing worth having is easily had, and as much as I wanted Deltec to become a B Corp by “acing” the entrance exam, I quickly realized the assessment wasn’t just another marketing label, but an authentic and aspirational system. A system that’s not an afternoon activity, but rather a lifelong ambition. A system to push those of us with a vision beyond where we currently are to become business bricoleurs—creating tomorrow’s best version of our companies with what we have at our fingertips today.
Okay, enough of the philosophical ponderings. If you’re in the early stages of certifying your business as a B Corp, or are simply curious about the movement, you probably want to know how long certification takes and if the process has value. Here’s our experience:
Deltec’s B Corp Certification Timeline
We filled out our Quick Impact Assessment in April of 2015, and our certification was finalized in February of 2016. There were a lot of steps in between, but the folks at B-Lab offered an amazing amount of support as we went through the process.
Was It Worth It?
Short answer: Yes. I would go through this again in a heartbeat.
Long answer: We have seen a very meaningful and measurable response to certification from all of our stakeholders. Employees are proud to work for a company that cares about them as much as it cares about profits. Customers now understand at a deeper level what Deltec stands for, and in turn our bar has been raised on how best to engage customers. We have had twice as many interviews, articles, and stories about us this year as we had in all of last year, allowing our story to be told to more and more people. We have had more qualified applicants for new positions than ever before. And we’ve codified and preserved our triple bottom line values into the company’s DNA.
I believe that a note we received from a customer sums all this up nicely: “I was just reading the article about your B Corp certification. Congratulations! That’s a huge step to take and I find it very meaningful. It tells me a lot about what’s important to your company. To be honest, I was starting to think about [Company X] simply from a cheap-fast-and-easy perspective, but when I saw that article it reminded me about what I’m really hoping to do with this community. And it won me back. Cheap, fast, and easy is so much of what has gotten humanity into its current mess. You being willing to go the extra mile to try to do it right reminded me that I can, too.”
It’s only through breaking down everything we do and putting it all back together with the guidance of the B Corp process that we were able to get to the point where we are today. Who’s next?!
To get involved in the B Corp movement in WNC, visit the Asheville B Corp Network’s page on our website. There, learn about a local meetup group, upcoming network events, and how to have lunch with a local B Corp like Deltec. And stay tuned for more posts in our On Becoming a B Corp series.