BCorp Twente: Thinking in generations and not in quarters

"In 2010 we published our first CSR report", begins Bas van der Geest van Gebr. van der Geest painting and real estate maintenance with the answer to the question: "Why are you taking part in the BCorp Twente initiative?" "Topics such as innovation and sustainability are in the DNA of our company", continues Bas driven. Bas takes part with fellow entrepreneurs in the learning-work-do-do-process 'BCorp Twente', which Saxion Conscious Business and Eshuis Accountants and Advisors organise together. The Agenda for Twente contributed to the existence of this initiative.

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In short

  • We can use the business models of companies more efficiently to create social impact. 
  • That's why BCorp Twente was founded. A quality mark for entrepreneurs who, besides profit, also take people, the environment and society as their starting point and thus undertake meaningful business. 
  • Gebr. Van der Geest Painting and Real Estate Maintenance participates because it helps them translate sustainable development goals into concrete actions.

"As a company, we want to think and act sustainably ", says Bas. "Whether it's the development and use of linseed oil paint or Denimtex with which we make circular textile wallpaper from old jeans, we do everything we can to keep ourselves focused and to awaken our sector".

Think in generations and not in quarters

"Besides the technical innovations with which we want to make a social impact, my brother Dick and I are closely involved in the further development of our sector. With Dick as chairman of the Painter's Vocational Training and my role in the national board of the FOSAG Sector Real Estate maintenance companies, we are driving our profession's sustainable future. We realise that we need to look at value from multiple perspectives in our sector and our company. After all, we are a family business that thinks in generations and not in quarters." 

"It makes sense for us to take part in Bcorp Twente. The BCorp standard helps us translate our vision, which we derive largely from the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, into concrete actions. Also, BCorp allows making our initiatives externally visible and verifiable, so it is a tool in the journey to more meaningful entrepreneurship. We do this primarily from an intrinsic motivation, where we find that our clients—especially in the public sector—are increasingly going to ask for our vision on, for example, the Sustainable Development Goals. But consumers are also right to ask more critical questions about, for example, the extent to which we are environmentally damaging".

Looking beyond economic value

The BCorp standard provides insights and tools to achieve structured multiple value. It provides us with a clear framework on which to base our strategic direction for the future. Using the aforementioned SDGs forces us to look at the 'gap in society' and look beyond economic value and 

the classic 'gap in the market'. For example, it is crucial—especially in our sector—to invest in our people's sustainable employability or stimulate circular building. We see a possible BCorp certification as a 'medal' that helps explain to the outside world what we do and why we involve social aspects. The road to certification is not a competition, because our DNA ensures things happen by themselves".

Intrinsic motivation as a driving force

When Bas compares BCorp to other forms of certification such as ISO, he experiences BCorp as being more intrinsic because it helps structure the motivation behind Gebr Van der Geest's social ambitions. That it forces businesses to look more broadly at social, environmental and economic values also makes it an appropriate tool for Bas. "To look more broadly at implementing our vision and strategy, we are addressing the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)," says Bas. 

"With SDGs being a source of inspiration, BCorp helps to translate them to our business model. For example, the SDGs motivate us to take the next step together with colleagues from the sector to realise sustainability in the construction industry. This involves both the sustainable employability of people and promoting circular building in the sector". 

Bas concludes with advice to fellow entrepreneurs: "Seek each other and also me, because only in cooperation we realise sustainable business models that make a difference."

About BCorp Twente

BCorp is a quality certification for entrepreneurs that tests for corporate social responsibility. Worldwide, there are over 2,750 ‘Benefit Corporations’ in over 50 countries and 130 industries. In Twente, Saxion Conscious Business Lab and Eshuis Accountants and Advisors commit to supporting entrepreneurs from Twente, who want to give meaning to circularity in their company, and focus on people and society. Saxion Conscious Business Lab and Eshuis Accountants and Advisors started BCorp Twente together.
 

Date: 22 December 2020
Source of tekst: Bcorp
Author: Bcorp

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