NEWS16 August 2023

Strat7 seeks B Corp status

Inclusion News People Sustainability UK Wellbeing

UK – Strategic insight and customer analytics group Strat7 is pursuing B Corporation status.

Barrie Brien

Strat7 is currently in the process of gathering data to support its B Corp application and has created an eight-person steering committee from across the business to lead its B Corp work.

The process to becoming a B Corp requires meeting targets in five areas: governance, workers, community, environment and customers.

Businesses must provide evidence of socially and environmentally responsible practices relating to energy supplies, waste and water use, worker compensation, diversity and corporate transparency.

Once B Corp status is reached – certified by B Lab UK – the company must make a legal commitment to maintaining these standards through amendments to its articles of association.

There are almost 6,000 companies worldwide and more than 1,000 in the UK that have been accredited as a B Corp, including several market research companies including The Nursery, Space Doctors and Zappi.

Speaking to Research Live, Barrie Brien (pictured), chief executive at Strat7, felt the accreditation was the most rigorous to demonstrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) intentions.

Strat7 Incite had been working on B Corp status before it was acquired by Strat7 in 2021 from Kin + Carta, and Strat7 is building on that experience in its current application.

“B Corp status is the right thing for the business – we have to think about our people, diversity and inclusion, protecting our planet, community, having the right corporate governance,” Brien explained.

“We needed something that would give us that framework, which is what B Corp status will do.”

Brien added that B Corp status would also be the clearest way to demonstrate ESG credentials to staff.

“Talent and workforce are more demanding of the companies they work for, quite rightly,” he said.

“We need to demonstrate we have a framework and will work to that. B Corp is a publicly accredited body and status is properly audited. It is putting a line in the sand.”

Brien added: “I think it will give us greater transparency. That transparency is important as it holds our feet to the fire in terms of doing the right thing for local communities, planet and people.

“Will we turn away clients? Probably. It will make us challenge ourselves.”

As part of the process of becoming a B Corp, Strat7 has set out six core areas that it will focus on over the next year, the first being training and development, in particular creating a more personalised approach across the group and incorporating best practice.

The second area is health and wellness, which is led by people and culture team representatives – or an equivalent – across all of Strat7’s agencies, and will examine core HR policies.

The third area is diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), for which the company will work with a HR consultancy and look at a cross-group policy and industry approaches.

“DEI means different things to different people in different places,” Elaine Kent-Smith, head of brand and culture at Strat7, who is helping to lead the B Corp initiative.

“We have to get a local and individual flavour to it. This is the area where most work needs to be done.”

Strat7 is based in 11 locations across seven markets, with six businesses: Strat7 Bonamy Finch, Strat7 Crowd DNA, Strat7 Incite, Strat7 Jigsaw, Strat7 Rainmakers, and Strat7 Researchbods.

Other areas of focus for the Strat7 B Corp programme include charity and volunteering, the environment and client services.

Brien said that the benefits from B Corp status will outweigh the work needed to gain accreditation.

“There’s definite business positives from this,” he added. “In some ways, it is not really why we are doing it – it is the right thing to do. We can’t just put our heads in the sand.”