The Phocas values are based around three words: fun, fulfilling and forever. We apply them to our people, our customers, our partners, our suppliers, our shareholders, our fellow citizens, and the planet. And as an organization, our purpose is to consider and positively impact all of these stakeholders.
As a company we have always cared passionately about the planet but historically our efforts were ad hoc. In short, we did not have a clear strategy about how we would positively and effectively impact the planet.
In August of 2020, I established a seven person agile group charged with solving this problem.
One of the first things we did was write a manifesto or put more simply, a one-pager about the group’s intentions. The idea was to guide current and future generations of Phocas people, so they know the decisions they need to make to contribute to a fairer and more sustainable world. You can read out manifesto here.
We looked into different sustainable models and preferred the bCorporation (bCorp) framework because it is global and aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Goals. It has excellent assessment tools that are updated regularly to keep the business on its toes. The Phocas team loved the idea of bCorp, so we had unanimous support in favour of accreditation.
If you don’t know, certified bCorps are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. There are nearly 4000 bCorps globally that are encouraging a universal shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy (think Patagonia, Eileen Fisher and Ben & Jerry’s). The companies strive to reduce inequality, lower poverty levels and create a healthier environment, stronger communities, and purposeful jobs.
A couple of weeks ago – we hit the button to be certified. We had 90+ points in the application (you need 80) but there a few things we need to get in order before the official audit and process starts.
Submitting our bCorp application is a milestone for Phocas, but it is just starting our 'new' way of working. We can do so much more for the environment and work with our partners and customers on joint programs, but the focus now is getting accredited and shining a light on what we’re currently doing well and where we can do better.