- Business models of companies can be used more and more to create social impact.
- That is why BCorp Twente was founded. A quality label for entrepreneurs who, in addition to profit, also take people, the environment and society as a starting point, and therefore have a meaningful business.
- One of the participants is De Driesprong Fysiotherapeuten (physiotherapists). They want to take a big step towards having more social impact.
This way of thinking started to take hold in Erwin after reading a book by Kaj Morel called ‘Tijd voor de betekeniseconomie’ (time for the purpose economy). Erwin decided to participate in the B Corp Twente project after an introductory meeting about this theme held by Saxion Conscious Business and Eshuis Accountants and Advisors, which took place shortly afterwards. “I concluded that the impact we have on society as physiotherapists is not limited to our treatment room. This gave rise to the ambition of having an impact on the well-being of the neighbourhood in which we are located and on that of all knowledge workers in Twente.”
“The active learn-work project has made me realise that we can make an impact on society. It also became clear that this would require some changes to our current health insurance system. But, this will not stop us, as De Driesprong. We are looking for health insurers and colleagues to highlight the value of positive health. However, I concluded that the fact that people from Twente are sober and modest is not always helpful for making an impact. The B Corp tool encourages us to take a closer look at what we do, and how we want to communicate this to the world outside”, says Erwin.
“There were things we already did unconsciously before we joined the B Corp project, but we have started profiling ourselves on these things more consciously. This brings us into contact with new partners and new clients who, as it now appears, share our vision of positive and healthy employment. This would like to introduce this way of looking at things to companies with knowledge workers in Twente.”
“We are a discussion partner because we focus on creating an impact with schools and companies, among others. Another good example is our screening of hockey player's movements and performance so that we work preventatively rather than curatively, which is an intervention that we do for free. This impact leads to new business and educational partners, which is how we make our living.”
Erwin is asked whether B Corp is just ‘new wine in an old bottle’. He replies: “The biggest difference between B Corp and HKZ, if I compare the two, is the way of looking at things. B
Corp is more about social impact, and it, therefore, has a different focus. The HKZ quality system for healthcare (similar to what ISO is for companies) is a more classical list with items that can be ticked off. This renewed way of thinking with the B Corp standard has ‘forced’ us to clarify ‘what we truly want with our practice’. The HKZ audit does not challenge us in this regard; HKZ is more about how an organisation functions, where B Corp looks at the effects of a business model.”
Erwin continues enthusiastically: “The best thing about it all is that a community of entrepreneurs has been formed. They strengthen each other and bring ideas from different sectors together. It’s very nice to see that connections are being formed between the organisations; we help each other improve. We are currently participating in a challenge from the Ministry of Education together with the Twickel College in Hengelo, where we will be investigating how we can reduce the perceived workload of the teaching staff. I have also realised that I am now very focused on purchasing goods from regional parties.”
“We are working towards getting certified because we have noticed that this tool helps us with realising our ambitions regarding positive health. The most recent baseline measurement shows that we are almost ready for certification. We would like to the actual certification in the second half of 2021. This will not be a goal in itself; it is a way of continually benchmarking ourselves against a standard that deals with impactful entrepreneurship. If you are an entrepreneur who wants to make an impact, start using B Corp as we did, and work towards creating an impactful business model. And above all, work together with fellow entrepreneurs so that new ideas and collaborations can arise”, is how Erwin concludes the interview.
BCorp Twente is a quality label for entrepreneurs that assesses corporate social responsibility. There are over 2,750 “Benefit Corporations” worldwide, located in over 50 countries and spread over more than 130 industries. Saxion Conscious Business Lab and Eshuis Accountants and Advisors started BCorp Twente and focus on supporting entrepreneurs in Twente that want to give more meaning to their business in a circular way, focusing on people and society.