July 25, 2023

Reflections from a B Keeper: Novata’s B Corp Certification Journey

This month, Novata announced our B Corp Certification. As Head of Partnerships at Novata, this is a full-circle moment for me. When I considered leaving management consulting for a corporate role, one of my top priorities was to move to a mission-driven company. My ideal company had sustainability fully integrated into the business strategy. In curating my list of dream companies, I searched the B Lab company directory for B Corp Certified companies near my home in New York. I knew that if a company earned that big, bold B logo, it meant something. It was the easiest way for me to filter through the noise of CSR reports and ‘do good’ headlines in corporate America and identify companies committed to improving the world. 

When I interviewed for a role at Novata, Chief Sustainability Officer Lorraine Wilson mentioned that the company intended to pursue B Corp Certification. From the outset, Novata was committed to operating as a sustainable, responsible organization, using B Lab standards as a guide towards best practices. Such an initiative requires leadership buy-in, project management, and cross-functional navigation to implement new policies and procedures. This would not be my only project, but a significant one — and one I was more than ready to take on. What’s better than working for a Certified B Corp? Building one from the ground up!

Achieving B Corp Certification

As we kicked off our internal efforts at Novata, my first step was to take a conservative inventory of Novata’s existing progress by completing B Lab’s Business Impact Assessment. We quickly realized we needed to tag other Novatans in to weigh in on their respective departments. I identified our “B Team,” 12 team members who met bi-weekly to align on goals, track progress, and unblock blockers over several months. I was so impressed by their commitment and engagement that went beyond their specific improvement projects.

In June 2023, less than a year after starting my role at Novata, we officially became a Certified B Corp with a score of 102.9, far surpassing the required 80-point threshold. The evening we received the official welcome email from B Lab, I was so happy I could barely sleep, reflecting on what this milestone means for us. 

Lessons from Novata’s B Corp Certification Process

Having led Novata’s B Corp Certification process, I have a few tips to share with companies getting started on this journey. These tips apply to any organization aspiring to improve upon sustainability in their operations.

1. Connect with others who have gone through the process

In my first few months, I reached out to my network on LinkedIn, asking to connect with leaders of Certified B Corps. I’m grateful to Hessam Lavi (Climatiq, pending B Corp) and Fabienne Smolinski (previously at Arbonne, Certified B Corp) for their early insights. It was refreshing to get the inside scoop from leaders who know first-hand how challenging and rewarding it can be, and take notes on best practices. Their guidance helped us set expectations with our leadership team on what we were embarking on. 

2. Pull together a cross-functional “B Team” 

It’s not possible to become a Certified B Corp without input and time investment from other functions such as Human Resources, Finance, Legal, Product, and Customer Success. Establishing coverage and accountabilities for each section of the B Corp assessment with buy-in from leadership was crucial to our success. 

3. Operate with conservatism and stay organized

We started by taking a conservative inventory of our standing in the Business Impact Assessment (BIA) and only selected answers we were 100% confident we had data to support. As we improved on our BIA score, we stayed organized by gathering supporting documents that we were prepared to provide during the validation portion of the certification process.

4. Celebrate every small win along the way

We shared updates with the entire company over the course of the year. We highlighted relevant enhancements such as new policies and composting in the office kitchen, pointing out how these incremental shifts added up and contributed to the larger goal of becoming a B Corp. It was important to highlight how every employee’s actions really do contribute to our broader sustainability goals and not something managed by a small group of people.

I am so thrilled to have reached this milestone with my colleagues at Novata, but I’m even more excited about what is to come. We are now connected to a community of over 7,000 other B Corps who continuously strive to make the world a better place. I can’t wait to see what we accomplish together. Learn more about Novata’s B Corp certification and our commitment to sustainability