LAS is an award-winning provider of elearning consultancy, design, development and training services in the UK and internationally.
Established in 2005 as LearningAge Solutions, we work with some of the best known organisations in the world to boost their performance through the innovative use of learning technologies. Working in partnership with our customers, we draw on proven principles from human behaviour, how people learn and how the brain works to create impactful digital learning solutions with real return on investment.
Tess is a director of LAS. She has worked in a learning environment for over twenty years. First, as a senior manager in universities, moving into digital learning ten years ago.
By Tess Robinson
Posted 14 May 2021
We have always firmly believed that business should not just be focussed solely on profit. Having a positive impact on people, communities and planet should be equally as important. Our strong ethical stance has seen us turn down some lucrative contracts over the years with organisations that, after careful research, we didn’t feel made a net positive contribution. I won’t lie, it’s sometimes hard to go against the profit-above-everything norm of the established capitalist order, but at the end of the day, it has always felt like the right thing to do.
A few years ago one of our team suggested that we look into becoming a Certified B Corporation (B Corp for short). These are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability. They balance profit with responsibility towards people and the planet and represent a new way of doing business, using business as a force for good. She felt that B Corp principles were already firmly in our DNA and that it would be a no-brainer for us as a company. We loved the idea of being part of a community who shared similar values to us and could amplify our voice and belief that things can be different.
The initial online assessment is really rigorous - this is not a status that is awarded easily. The first time we did it, we scored below the threshold of 80 needed to progress to the next stage. This was really disappointing, but we were not deterred.
We worked on a few things and went back two years later to try again. One of our partners, Oxford SM, also became a B Corp last year and were able to offer us some valuable advice on the process. This time we were delighted to achieve an initial score above the benchmark and move onto the next stage, which is providing a heap of evidence to back up all your statements.
Following a review by B Corp analysts, you then have an online interview or two where they drill down further. You also need to make some legal changes to your business articles. It was a lot of work, but the fact that it’s not easy to obtain makes it all the more valuable. This time we were over-the-moon to pass with a score of 92.1.
However, this is just the start of the journey. We have an ambition to be even better at this stuff and are aiming for a score of 100+ when we’re re-certified in three years time. The evaluation gives you lots of ideas of how you can improve and we’ll be working on a plan with our team and stakeholders over the next few months, so watch this space.
Another amazing benefit of being a B Corp that we hadn’t fully appreciated, is that you become part of a really active community of like-minded companies. The UK B Corps community includes well-known brands such as The Guardian, innocent, Ben & Jerrys, Patagonia, The Body Shop, and organic food pioneers Abel & Cole. There are now over 3,900 B Corps globally in 75 different countries. Shops like Waitrose and Boots Pharmacy now have B Corp filters on their online shopping sites so customers can make ethical choices more easily.
There's a real energy and optimism about this movement. It feels like now is the time for change and B Corp is at the spearhead of this kinder model for business. This is backed up by their stats. The UK has the fastest growing number of B Corps and has seen an incredible 397% increase in press mentions in the past year. Change for the better is coming and we’re very proud to be part of it.
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