Ryan’s Blog: Networking with a conscience

14th May
Vicky

Published by Vicky

14th May

Our Business Leader Ryan talks about his first experience of a B Lab social event.

 

On April 17th I attended my first B Social event, organised by B Lab UK, the UK branch of the organisation that provides B Corp certification. This was my first B Corp event, attended by both B Corp business owners and those interested in becoming B Corps. It was a different vibe to the sort of networking events I usually attend and I have to say, I really enjoyed it.

 

Jago is currently undergoing certification to become B Corp certified. We’re all excited to be moving in this direction, associating with businesses that are more conscious of their impact on the world around them.

An environmentally responsible travel company?

The event was at Intrepid Travel in Brixton; Intrepid are an adventure travel company, but they’re also pioneering social and environmental responsibility. It was really interesting to hear about them and their business. They did a talk about how being a B Corp has helped to transform their organisation, to address issues and to become carbon neutral.

After his talk, I managed to have a brief chat with Guy Fowles, the marketing director from Intrepid and had a great conversation with him about the tours they provide, how they’re unique, the challenges they’re facing and where they’re winning – and the diversity of the group they’ve built. It was interesting to hear about how Intrepid aims to work with local guides so that they are able to provide a deeper local knowledge and insight, taking people to places a standard tour wouldn’t include. This creates a memorable experience for their customers, who can also feel good that they have spent their money with a B Corp who put the planet and people first – and they get to meet people whilst on their adventures too! Although we’re in a completely different business here at Jago, I felt like their approach of trying to create a 360-degree experience for their clients is something that really resonates with us.

 

Innocent smoothies leading the change

There was also a talk from smoothie brand Innocent, who spoke about becoming more environmentally responsible with their sourcing of ingredients and their packaging. It was an interesting insight into how one of the country’s most recognisable brands has looked into their entire product journey and the impact it has on people and the environment – a real eye-opener to see how aligned they are with B Corp, and how committed they are to constant improvement. I found it really refreshing to see that although they are now a very successful brand, they were far from the typical corporate persona you often see from a high street brand. They’re a big business but they seem to be very much grounded in terms of what they’re doing, in touch with their people and connected with what’s important.  As a company whose product comes in a plastic bottle, it’s heartening to see that they are working to improve their green credentials in this area as much as possible – even including 15% plant-based materials and 50% recycled plastic in their bottles these days. They’re really leading the way in things like this.

 

An inspiring networking event

As the director of a small agency, it was very motivating for me to see some of these larger brands really pushing the way forward. This seemed to be a theme throughout the evening in fact – nobody was unapproachable and the event was far from that corporate, financially-driven feeling that can often flow through networking events. I felt that the people I met at the B Social event were more open and are really about being “people first” orientated which was refreshing.

 

I managed to have a brief chat with ustwo representatives, one of the largest – and for me, most inspiring – digital agencies in the UK. I also met Lorenzo Curci, CCO of Almond. This is a really exciting app for the conscious consumer which I think we’ll see growing exponentially in months and years to come.

 

As a business owner, I have attended numerous networking events over the years. Some have been enjoyable; some have been excruciating. At some I’ve made good contacts; at others, I’ve learned useful information. I’ve found at a lot of networking events that people seemed to be rather ego-led; it was all about how high someone’s turnover is, or being in competition over some other irrelevant point. Events like that can be challenging in a good and a bad way. My first B Lab event was different from any event I’ve attended before; I had down to earth conversations with people I felt were being completely real and authentic, with no ulterior motive or gameplan. I feel like this was the first networking event I had been to which was truly aligned with my way of thinking.

 

The next event

I’m looking forward to attending my next B Lab event later this month, Learn to B: How Business Can Create Social Change. This event will look at the part businesses can play in providing a fresh start for people seeking refuge or people with a criminal record.

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