Benefit Systems is the first and so far the only listed company in Poland to renew its certification after joining the B Corp movement in 2018. The recertification process – an independent, external verification carried out by B Lab – was all the more difficult as it concerned the year 2021 when the company’s flagship product and the whole fitness industry struggled with numerous pandemic restrictions.
− The success of B Corp recertification makes us very happy and is a great motivation for further actions, not only in the field of sustainable development. In accordance with the idea of the B Corp movement, we try to positively influence our environment through everyday activities and business decisions. For many years we have been supporting our clients and users in undertaking physical activity, building personal wellbeing and strengthening the work-life balance. We devote a lot of energy to building social awareness about the importance of physical activity for people of all ages and from different social groups. We attach particular significance to relations with our employees and business partners. We can safely say that sustainable development is an important element of our organisation’s DNA and stems from the very specificity of the services and products we offer
- explains Bartosz Józefiak, Management Board Member at Benefit Systems.
Fot. Jurre Rompa & B Lab Europe
– Recertification is an important milestone for B Corps, holding businesses accountable and reinforcing their ongoing commitment to benefit all people and the planet. Benefit Systems has been a pioneer in the movement in Central and Eastern Europe, and as a public company they are uniquely equipped to create impact at scale
– says Maria Correa, Head of Comms and Community Engagement at B Lab Europe.
– Having changed their legal statutes to embed purpose into their organisation, they exemplify it’s not only possible – but also beneficial – to take into consideration the interests of all their stakeholders in the way they do business. The B Corp recertification for Benefit Systems also coincided with the celebration of the international community – B Corp Month – which falls in March. Throughout this month we aim to shine a spotlight on this community of influential companies that go beyond the status quo, taking action to improve the economic system – she adds.
Certification as an important element of change
– The new provisions add the social purpose of the company. According to the statute, when making decisions the Management Board is obliged to take into account the company’s stakeholders (including employees, society and the environment) to a greater extent than before. In this way Benefit Systems implements the assumptions of the “stakeholder corporate governance” model, which, in the face of global problems that humanity is currently facing, is to be one of the mechanisms to improve the system in which companies operate and whose 20th century assumptions do not reflect the reality of the 21st century. The introduced changes also implement the postulates of new regulations in the European Union, such as the CSRD and CSDD directives. The draft law assumes that soon this corporate governance model will be the target model in Europe.
Success today, commitment and guidance for the future
− The recertification process was an opportunity to verify our current activities by independent auditors from B Lab, a kind of maturity test of the parent company and the Group’s subsidiaries. It also allows us to identify further areas in which we want to develop – says Bartosz Józefiak. – We can see the growing awareness of our employees, but also of the market where consumers, suppliers and business partners pay attention to whether a given company operates in a sustainable manner and what values it is guided by. More and more often investors are also carefully analysing the activities of companies in terms of ESG and want to invest in transparent and ethical businesses. Sustainable development criteria are also important from a financial perspective, as they are taken into consideration by banks and financial institutions when making financing decisions.
– In 2018, when Benefit Systems received the certificate, there were 2,500 companies with the B Corp title operating worldwide. Currently, there are just over 6,400 of them. This is a relatively small group if you take into account the fact that more than 200,000 companies have expressed interest in the audit. These figures prove that certification is a difficult and very restrictive process. On the other hand, the growing number of B Corp companies shows that issues related to social responsibility and sustainable development are gaining importance and become a real part of many business activities
– adds Wojciech Bagiński.