Climbing Trees on Becoming a B Corp

I-Construct member and Managing Director, Alex Holliman, talks about why his company Climbing Trees is applying to become a B Corporation. 

Climbing Trees is a search marketing agency focused on getting their clients more visibility on search engines like Google. In April 2021 Climbing Trees submitted their application to become a B Corporation – a certification that demonstrates the businesses’ commitment to reducing their impact on the environment. Managing Director Alex Holliman told us how becoming a B Corp will help them find businesses they’re proud to work with. He also talked about the small steps construction companies can take towards becoming more sustainable.

“The B Corp movement was set-up in 2012. It's focused on the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profits. It makes sure that you are conducting yourself in a way that mitigates or reduces your impact on the environment. There are about 3,500 B Corps globally. 
“It's a more ethical way of doing business. It aligns your mission and vision to real corporate actions, that you then measure and are accountable for. Becoming a B Corp also helps you find like-minded clients to work with. Since applying to become a B Corp we have picked up the account for Greenpeace, and now look after their Google Ads grant in the UK.
“If you search for B Impact Assessment, there is a tool that you can use to grade all manner of ways your business has impact. It was a thorough and detailed process that looked at areas like internal governance, how you treat your staff, the impact you have on your community, environmental impact, and customers.
“We're not just ‘snake oil salesmen’, we want to work with companies that have a passion for their business. Working with us they'll get a team that are passionate too. A team that will put their shoulder to the wheel and make a difference to the inbound inquiries they get.” 

The construction sector has a challenging zero-carbon target to hit: ‘100% of all building processes must operate at net zero by 2050’. But for an SME owner thinking about the bigger picture can be overwhelming. We asked Alex how he makes sustainability a priority. 

“When you start looking at it intellectually it's very simple. It's just about focus. There are a lot of things that can be done from web development to search engine optimization. Through to basic stuff, like email storage. For example: Rather than sending large attachments, you can use services like WeTransfer. You send a link rather than the file, and that uses less energy.
“We use an energy supplier that is purely sustainable and environmentally friendly. As a construction company you could look into using electric vehicles. That will then put more pressure on the energy companies to deliver more sustainable sources of energy, like wind turbines and solar panels. 
“As a B Corp we’ll carry on working to become more environmentally-friendly. In terms of the environment – we’ve planted about 53,000 trees so far, and we've just made a commitment to plant a million before 2030.  
“But no-one is perfect. I want to visit my family out in Australia, for example, so there'll be a long-haul flight involved. It’s all about educating yourself as to the impact of your decisions. There's so much stuff that can be done, and I think it's a conversation that needs to be had, not a browbeating. We all need to go through a transition to adopt better practices.”

As his business has grown Alex has made sustainability a big part of his team’s ethos. We asked him what they’re currently doing, and how small businesses can make a big difference.

“In the first phase of being a business we had to work very, very hard just to keep the lights on, to make payroll. We’re now through that phase, though we're not complacent. We still work exceptionally hard, but we've been able to take a pause and look closer at who we are and what we're doing.
“I think the great thing about running your own business is knowing I can make a real difference for our clients through to our staff. I know that if someone does decide to leave the team, they will leave in a significantly better position as a result of working at Climbing Trees.
“There are also about 10 different charities we work with. They include Greenpeace, a charity saving orangutans out in Borneo, and a charity that helps people with MS. 
“I believe business has a massive ability to make significant change in the world. Making things better, that's what we can do."

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