To end B Corp month Derek, our CEO, and Holly, our Sustainability Manager, discuss what’s behind the B at Coffee & TV.
It’s our second B Corp month which means over a year has passed since we became a certified B Corp. When talking to other companies about their B Corp journey a question that always resonates with me is what actually changes when you become a B Corp? So let’s start here…
Absolutely. I believed that B Corp was a chance to be part of something bigger – Coffee & TV formed for all the right reasons, we built a brilliant company culture, recently recognised as Broadcast’s Best Place to Work in TV 2022 and it was a chance to push the business, outside the boundaries of our industry, to be better for all people and the planet. But I had no idea how the learning and changes we made would continue after we certified. For example your role changed significantly didn’t it?
Indeed it did! Before we started our B Corp journey I thought I wanted to become a 3D artist but I was inspired by the impact I could have within the company and industry, to be part of something bigger. I was so grateful when you offered me the role of the post-production industry’s first full-time Sustainability Manager. As a team we’ve achieved quite a lot haven’t we? But like you, I didn’t really appreciate how certification was really just the beginning. With all the research I’ve been doing I now realise how much more we can do. It’s not just about sustainability is it?
Definitely not. For a long time now we have measured our ‘triple bottom line’ – reporting not just our financial profits but also the happiness and engagement of the people we work with and of course trying to minimise our environmental impact. In the last 12 months we have attracted some incredible talent to our exceptional team, many of them chose Coffee & TV because we were a B Corp. I believe that we have something special to offer our team and I’m delighted others see that too.
Although your role is new, it’s evolving nicely isn’t it? What are you working on at the moment?
Besides launching our full Sustainability Report a lot of my time right now is spent on helping the communities outside of our company. For example, we have connected with the charity ArtBox to support the local artist community. Artbox is a NGO which creates a safe space for artists with disabilities to produce and sell their work. Partnerships like this are brilliant, not only for the artists themselves but the connections we make between each individual and the ‘real world’ can be invaluable. I’m always looking for more ways we can spread our reach beyond traditional VFX and animation.
That’s great. I feel we have a responsibility to give our time and support to communities and organisations which resonate with us. We recently increased the paid time off that everyone can have to volunteer for a charity or cause of their choice. The initiative is supported by Matchable, another amazing B Corp scheme that matches people’s skills and interests to organisations that need their help. We had no idea when we were going through the impact assessment how schemes like this would begin AFTER we certified!
What other things have changed that we didn’t foresee?
Well, so many things. For example, shifting staff mindsets from receiving to giving is encouraged with our birthday initiative to offer everyone the opportunity to have a cake or donate to charity. We introduced a community structure to ensure everyone is part of a team that supports and empowers them. Sustainability has been a big part of our progress since we started tackling our B Corp assessment in 2019. Working alongside Albert to create annual carbon emission reports has shown us where our impact lies and how to minimise it, we have now reduced our emissions by 59% which is a big achievement and one that we will continue to work on in the hope of reaching net zero emissions by 2028. Certifying certainly wasn’t a one-year project!
Without being a sustainable business how can we survive into the future? It’s great to see what we have achieved so far in this space and how we can help the Ad Industry to do the same. We have to recertify in less than 2 years time. How do you think that will go?
I can’t wait! We’ve learned so much and changed so many things. I really want to see what score we can get. That will be the true test of whether our hard work in this area has really paid off. Between now and then I want us to look at the bigger picture. How can we help the advertising industry to use the power of advertising, alongside our exceptional creatives, to produce ads which have a positive impact on people and the planet? rather than just sell more stuff. It’s great we are on the steering committee for Ad Net Zero, I’m excited to see that grow and to use our skills as communicators and storytellers to effect change outside of the VFX industry.
It’s an exciting time to push the boundaries of our industry. I am sure all of our actions and hard work will be rewarded in our reassessment in 2024.