It’s that time of year again, where we celebrate and learn from the top performing B Corps in each of B Lab’s five key impact areas. Much more than a high score, Best for the World enables the sharing of knowledge, learnings and best practices within the B Corp and aspiring B Corp community, encouraging us all to innovate and transform our businesses not just to be the best in the world, but best for the world.
With 1,016 businesses recognised worldwide, we are thrilled to see 71 of them from our region. Taking a closer look at the Customers impact area, it’s time to acknowledge and celebrate B Corps who are leading the way in customer care, data privacy, feedback channels, and ethical marketing, all while positively impacting the broader community and the planet.
What it takes to be Best for the World: Customers
Setting the gold standard for serving and empowering their customers, the businesses who make the Best for the World: Customers honour roll provide services across industries as diverse as education, healthcare and finance management, proving that no matter the industry, size, or location of a company, you can make a positive impact.
Understanding customers’ needs and wants, and empowering them by going above and beyond to meet those desires, is what the B Corp community is all about.
This year’s Customers list spotlights B Corps who are pioneering business as a force for good and who have achieved a high verified score through the rigorous certification process. So, how do they achieve such a high score in this area on the B Impact Assessment? Practices such as:
- Codifying policies that aim to protect and empower customers and their data;
- Providing high and inclusive value to all patrons;
- Designing robust methods for gathering and responding to feedback;
- Ensuring customers are deeply respected by upholding integrity.
Compared to other impact areas, the Customers impact area has less points available compared when it comes to day to day operations. However, there are plenty of opportunities for companies to ‘unlock’ additional points through ‘Impact Business Models’ (IBMs) if they have a product or service that specifically benefits a group of people.
Think: companies who work with purpose-driven businesses; those who provide an education element to their customers; and consultants driving positive social and environmental change in other businesses. These IBMs can be worth a large number of points on the B Impact Assessment, and each of our Best for the World: Customer honourees have unlocked at least one of these models.
These are just some of the exemplary standards that B Corps who score well in this area are setting across all industries.
Of the 214 businesses worldwide named Best for the World for Customers in 2022, 12 are from Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.
Image by ALightAGlow from Getting Images
Why it’s as important as ever to put customers first
Customers have for too long been on the receiving end of dishonesty, poor practice, unethical marketing, and exploitation from businesses. It’s little wonder therefore that annual trust and credibility survey by Edelman Data & Intelligence (DxI) found nearly 60 percent of respondents globally reported a tendency to distrust until they see evidence to the contrary.
This vicious cycle of distrust has, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer, ensnared us all in a world that is ‘failing to meet the unprecedented challenges of our time’, thwarting progress on climate change, global pandemic management, racism, and mounting geopolitical tensions.
Yet, despite continuing levels of uncertainty and chaos, business continues to emerge as a ‘stabilising force,’ being named the world’s most trusted of the four collective institutions of government, business, NGOs, and the media.
Image by Huseyin Bostanci from Getty Images
Stakeholders want and need business to engage in finding solutions to societal and environmental issues.
At a time when the challenges before us are immense and many of us are desperately seeking support, personalisation and empathy, B Corps are leading the way in customer care, treating people with the respect and value they deserve.
Going above and beyond for customers
Often the best businesses respond to and take meaningful action on issues that their ideal customers care about. And with anxiety about climate change at an all-time high, B Corps like Ethinvest are enabling customers to align their investment portfolios with their values through financial planning and advice.
Image by Tomás Monteiro from Pexels
Through a dedicated focus on ethical investment, Ethinvest aims to work with customers so that their ‘investment portfolios shape and fund the world they would like to live in.’ By instituting a codified complaints policy, tailored quarterly reporting and creating shareholder advocacy policies that provide the basis for transparency and accountability, Ethinvest is just one example of a B Corp stepping up to the plate and batting for its customers.
Another example is B Corp Hart to Hart Counselling, who provides flexible, supportive and individualised mental health support. Because when it’s not climate change, it’s the impact of a pandemic and vast social and health inequities that have resulted in a heavy emotional toll and mental health decline for so many.
One way that Hart to Hart goes above and beyond for its customers is by employing interpreters to enable effective and accessible communication for all clients. They make privacy disclosures and complaints procedures publicly available, and strive to offer an alternative model of care grounded in choice, respect and innovation.
Then there’s CSnet, who assists organisations to record and measure the benefits and outcomes that they deliver using IT systems. Key to their focus on customers is putting people, not technology, at the centre of their work:
“When you work with CSnet, you have a key contact who has worked in human services – it’s our job to know you and the work that you do. This helps to break down the silos between the ‘program people’ and the ‘IT people’.”
Sharing knowledge and connection in this way enables the CSnet team to use data in a way that truly benefits the people and communities they serve, and changes how human services are delivered for better social outcomes.
Congratulations to the ‘Class of 2022’ — Customers
By now, you’re probably curious to know which B Corps have been honoured in the 2022 Best for the World Customers list from our region. Drum roll please…🥁
We are so proud to see these 12 B Corps recognised for their exemplary practices and commitment to a better economy through customers.
Australian Ethical Investment | Customer impact score: 56.6 | B Impact Score: 156.4
Australian Ethical Investment’s promise is that they will only invest clients’ money in a way that creates financial security and positive change for society and the environment. With an Ethical Charter and the first publicly listed Australian company to become certified back in 2014, AE is also one of three B Corps recognised in more than one impact area this year (Customers & Governance).
Banqer | Customer impact score: 47.5 | B Impact Score: 106.1
Banqer exists to prepare the next generation for their financial future. Since launching in 2015, they have helped 60,000+ students experience personal finances first-hand in their classroom led by a team of educators, developers, designers and dreamers.
Brightlight Impact | Customer impact score: 47.4 | B Impact Score: 86.2
Brightlight Impact builds portfolios and products across the responsible, ethical and impact investment spectrum. Honouring the values of their customers, they work hard to positively transform lives.
Community Services.Net | Customer impact score: 43 | B Impact Score: 117.3
CSnet brings together innovative software and good human services practices. Their innovative web-based platforms help to collect client data from the ground up, and they recently partnered with the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency to embed Indigenous culture and practice into their case management program.
Ethinvest | Customer impact score 52.2 | B Impact Score: 99
Ethinvest provides comprehensive financial planning and investment advice to individuals, trustees of self-managed superfunds, and a wide range of NFPs, NGOs and charitable foundations. Mobilising money for the greater good, Ethinvest is proud to be part of the growing B Corp community.
Future Super Services | Customer impact score: 48.9 | B Impact Score: 132.9
Future Super is a fossil fuel free superannuation fund, aiming to encourage and facilitate movement of money away from fossil fuels and other unethical industries. Helping to build their members’ wealth while building more of the world everyone wants to live in, Future Super strives to be good for the people who keep their business going.
Hart to Hart Counselling | Customer impact score: 46.1 | B Impact Score: 122
Hart to Hart is an NDIS Service Provider providing counselling support, group activities and support coordination in Melbourne. With free interpreters available, they offer flexible, supportive and individualised service through a team of qualified, dedicated and caring professionals.
i=Change | Customer impact score: 57.3 | B Impact Score: 98.8
i=Change is a cause-marketing ecosystem for online retailers with the aim of helping to accelerate the impact of extraordinary development projects. Believing that retail offers a fascinating mirror that reflects the zeitgeist, their platform enables retailers to give back to social causes and their customers love them for it.
Maths Pathway | Customer impact score: 49.6 | B Impact Score: 101.8
On a mission to reform the teaching and learning of mathematics in schools by giving teaching the power and tools to change. Their holistic, curriculum-aligned model enables teachers to target every student’s point of need, empowering them to challenge themselves and find joy in learning.
Pathfinder | Customer impact score: 45.5 | B Impact Score: 112.3
Pathfinder is an asset fund management company balancing their investment decisions between people, planet and profit. Not only avoiding companies and industries causing harm, but putting a positive focus on where money is invested, Pathfinder helps members save for retirement by aligning their ethical beliefs.
StartSomeGood | Customer impact score: 51.8 | B Impact Score: 102.5
StartSomeGood works with social entrepreneurs, NFPs and community groups to raise the funds they need to make a difference. By empowering anyone with a great idea to make the world better, they are working hard to create a world where every person has access to the information, inspiration and tools to do good.
Your Call Whistleblowing Solutions | Customer impact score: 50.8 | B Impact Score: 126.7
Your Call Whistleblowing Solutions is an independent whistleblowing provider of corporate whistleblower hotlines, online reporting, investigations, and consulting. Giving a voice and agency to customers, they also support the greater good by providing subsidised services to social sector organisations.
“The ability to deliver on our customer promise and successfully manage a fast growth business comes down to our people, partners and of course, our customers.”
The team at Your Call recently implemented a trauma-informed whistleblowing process whereby employees are trained to respond to disclosures in a way that is both compassionate and legally compliant. Their advice for others looking to have more impact in this area?
“It sounds cliché, but put the customer at the centre of everything you do and build your business success around delivering a remarkable customer experience that is a force for good.”
The team at Your Call Whistleblowing
A big congratulations to Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand’s Best for the World: Customers honourees, each contributing to a more inclusive, equitable and regenerative economic system.