Purpose in the Pandemic: Our Journey Towards Achieving B Corp Certification
In March 2020, while discussing how to navigate the impending pandemic with other leaders in our industry, Tiernan, our founder, received some unexpected advice:
Don’t let a crisis go to waste.
‘Crisis’ took on new significance when COVID-19 forced us to shut our doors. We persevered through three years of rolling closures, policy and regulatory changes, and cash flow difficulties while also adopting a variety of strategies to assist our employees in coping with the ensuing mental health challenges in the face of extraordinary conditions.
But despite our pools being closed, we continued to make waves. A task force was set up to address the pressing health crises; remote project teams were created to support our staff; and resources were put in place to get money back into the pockets of our customers, who were also dealing with the economic turmoil of the pandemic. And in the midst of the confusion and uncertainty, we also began our journey towards becoming a Certified B Corporation.
What is a B Corp?
Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy by using business as a force for good.
The B Corp Certification process was rigorous. For us, this meant honestly evaluating our impact on the environment, our employees, community, and customers and identifying areas where we could improve. With the pandemic at the forefront, we had to adapt our operations while also maintaining our commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. We worked closely with our team and other B Corporations to identify areas for improvement and implemented new policies and practices to align with B Corp standards. Some of these initiatives included:
- Integrating stakeholder governance into our organization’s legal structure to ensure that Making Waves is accountable to a broader purpose and is committed to considering the interests of all stakeholders.
- Partnering with Enviro-stewards to identify and compile business cases for strategic projects to help us reduce our carbon footprint.
- Improving communication, increasing engagement and providing more professional development opportunities for our staff.
- Establishing our DEI committee as part of our commitment to inclusion and to better understand the lived experiences of our staff and recognise the contributions they make to our organization and the communities we serve.
- Helping our communities through our partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters, by allocating more than 3% of our earnings during the pandemic to offering free swimming lessons for families.
- Lowering our environmental impact, enhancing social responsibility and boosting the financial advantages of supply chain management, by committing to supporting sustainability in procurement.
- Spearheading the effort to unite our sector throughout Canada by assisting in the formation of the Canadian Swim School Alliance, which in November 2022 played host to the world’s first-ever carbon-neutral swim school conference.
- Operationalizing our sustainability strategy by dedicating a full time role to ESG to ensure that people, planet and profit are equal priorities in our decision making.
And now, we are proud to announce that Making Waves has achieved B Corp Certification, making us the first swim school in Canada to receive this prestigious designation. It’s hard not to get emotional looking back at the last 3 years. For us, this certification marks the beginning and end of the pandemic and the challenges that accompanied it.
We didn’t let the crises of the pandemic go to waste, but we still face a crisis: the world is facing some of the biggest challenges of our time. Our environment is in rapid decline and social justice gaps are widening, not closing. By choosing to prioritize profit over people and the planet, most businesses are adding to the problem.
As we proudly display our B Corp Certification, we are committed to embracing the values it represents and to use it as inspiration to drive even greater positive change within our organization and beyond.
Click here to learn more about our impact!
Passion x Purpose