Wayne Myslik led Twelve Winds through the B Corporation certification process and is a passionate advocate for the value it can bring to a company’s culture and brand. We caught up with Wayne to find out what inspired him to get involved with the B Corp movement and the benefits and challenges of becoming certified.
Why did Twelve Winds pursue B Corp certification?
Twelve Winds was founded on the principle that companies are inextricably linked to the communities in which they operate. It just makes good business sense to behave as responsible and valuable citizens in those communities. Being a B Corp helps us live up to our values, and serve as an example for our clients.
How does being a B Corp support Twelve Winds’ strategy?
For Twelve Winds, being a B Corp is about transparency, credibility, and continual improvement.
The B Corp certification is very comprehensive as it looks at social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. This framework gives us a way to report openly about what we are doing as a corporate citizen. This transparency is especially important for Twelve Winds, because we want to be an example to our clients that business can be profitable and responsible at the same time. The B Corp certification gives us the third party credibility to talk about responsible business.
This is why we were really keen to be among the Founding UK B Corps. We want to stand out as a leader, as well as be part of a network of likeminded organisations.
Twelve Winds was already doing a great deal to be a force for good, but the B Corp assessment also challenges us to continually improve our performance. We have already identified a number of areas that we think we can do better, and will be working on these in the next year.
What has been the impact of becoming a B Corporation on the Twelve Winds culture and its brand?
It’s definitely had a great impact – both on the company’s culture and brand.
This external recognition of our efforts boosts morale among our staff and associates. It’s hugely motivating for the whole Twelve Winds team.
It has also helped us gain visibility with potential customers. Having the B Corporation certification provides us with evidence that we have walked the talk ourselves.
When did you become interested in corporate governance?
Back in the 1990s in South Africa, I was working with large employers, helping them to understand, predict, and mitigate the impact HIV/AIDS was set to have on their businesses. It became clear to us that companies could not separate themselves from the issues affecting employees, their families, and communities. And the more we ran the numbers, the more we saw that supporting people’s health and wellbeing was the best way to protect the bottom line. Doing the right thing is just good business.
When did you become interested in ESG (environmental, social & governance) reporting?
South African corporate governance is guided by a set of reports called the King Reports. I was part of the consultations on the King Report II in 2001, which brought in the idea of integrated financial and non-financial reporting. Similarly, I contributed to the Global Reporting Initiative’s Reporting Guidance on HIV/AIDS in 2002. Based on my experiences with employee wellness and healthcare, I realised that it was really important for businesses to be transparent about their environmental and social impacts. Interestingly, in 2010 the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) adopted the King III principles, including integrated reporting, as part of its listing requirements.
What advice would you give to those looking for a career with a positive social or environmental impact?
You don’t need to work for B Corp or a company with strong sustainability credentials to make a difference. At Twelve Winds, we’ve seen from our clients that a company’s commitment to sustainability often starts in small ways. A new challenge or problem can prompt the company to look at things in a different way. Or a passionate employee can change the discussion. Be an “intrapreneur”. Work from the inside out, identify influencers in the company and pay attention so that when the opportunity arrives you are prepared.
About B Corp
B Corporations are certified by the non-profit B Lab to voluntarily meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. Certified B Corporations distinguish themselves in a cluttered marketplace by offering a positive vision of a better way to do business; better for workers, better for communities and better for the environment.
The B Corporation community includes over 1,000 companies from 38 countries and over 121 industries with nearly $3 Billion (collectively) in revenue.
B Corporations are a diverse community working together toward 1 unifying goal: harness the power of the private sector for public benefit and redefine success in business.