Don’t get caught in the dark – how to use the B Corp tool to drive accountability and success for your business

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In late June, I promised in my B as Benefit article (https://fabrik.fi/vaikuttavuusarviointi/) to keep you updated on how our B Corp journey is progressing. As I mentioned in the same article, there is plenty of pent-up demand for social change leaders. As for the official B Corp certification, we are still patiently waiting for our assessment report.

But we have not stood idly by. The comprehensive battery of questions in the B Impact Assessment tool (BIA), the backbone of the certification, brought to our tables a number of areas for development that we have been actively pursuing over the summer and autumn. Personally, over the last couple of months, I have been immersed in the world of B Corp and above all in the BIA assessment tool I mentioned above in the B Leader Intensive Coaching. However, the motivation for attending the first possible course in Copenhagen was not the fancy-sounding title, but our desire to help others benefit from the opportunities offered by B Corp. In the future, there will be more than one B Leader in Fabrik.

So what is it about B Corp that interests companies?

In short: business orientation. B Corp certification is about developing a company as a whole, rather than a single product or a specific part of a supply chain, for example. To use the power of business for good, in line with the B Corp philosophy, companies need to grow and prosper. That is why, in addition to social and environmental performance, the magnifying glass is equally focused on economic performance, and the scoring system used for certification provides a particular incentive to develop a business model with a positive impact.

In my own experience, companies are well aware of the need for change and the will to change is high. The challenge ahead is not knowing how. In the big picture, as with individual sustainability issues, it is important to first understand what is at stake and what is relevant to you. For that, B Corp offers a great tool in the form of the B Impact Assessment.

A concrete tool for sustainability assessment and management

The assessment tool, which adapts to the sector, the size of the company and the responses given, is based on five pillars (governance, people, customers, environment, community) that really challenge you to develop your own activities to a more sustainable level and open your eyes to issues that might otherwise be overlooked. BIA also works well in the transition to impact management and continuous improvement. It includes the opportunity to set your own targets, compare your own performance with other companies and pick up best practices for your own company.

Best of all, the tool is freely available to everyone and is completely free to use to assess, develop and manage the impact of your business – even if certification is not something you are interested in right now. Of course, the language is English and the terms are challenging to say the least, but it’s worth a look: https://bcorporation.eu/become-a-b-corp/b-impact-assessment/

Author Timo Kupiainen, Fabrik’s Impact Strategist & B Leader

Guidelines for crisis communication – the biggest risk is to do nothing

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We live in a time where people expect responsibility, transparency and solutions to problems affecting society as a whole from organizations and companies.

The corona crisis, the war in Russia and the crisis of the coming winter have shown on a large scale that two years ago, the next crisis communication plans with channel selections can help the freedmen – if companies or organizations had them.

At the crisis communication training day, THL’s communications manager Marko Lähteenmäki talked about his 2.5 years of experience in handling the corona crisis. Lähteenmäki is still responsible for THL’s campaigns, social media and brand, and below is his advice.

Guidelines for good crisis communication

1. Responsible persons
Based on the crisis, you should choose a working group for the organization’s responsibility, which includes crisis managers, spokespersons for media cooperation and people needed for communication.

2. Resources
Initially, more resources are always needed – where is it possible to detach additional people or an additional jet to implement communication?

3. External partners and stakeholders
It is important to know and engage not the parties who take your side in the public debate and are also ready to share constantly.

4. Common basic messages
Make sure everyone is telling the same story. Sometimes in the middle of a crisis, informing your own personnel can get stuck, but it ensures everything else, the useless trash radio starts spinning and brings extra rounds with it.

5. There is no information vacuum
If you don’t dare say anything yourself, someone else will. Again, there may be extra rounds ahead, unless you tell your own message the way it should be told.

6. Be on the channels where your audience is
The press release and website are not used. Audiences are dispersed, and multi-channel must be taken into account, especially in cry communication.

Management of crisis communication

A quick summary of the speech is that the biggest risk is to do nothing.

The smallest thing is to prepare for a crisis as well as you can (effective communication will help you avoid crises in the future). When you find yourself in the middle of a crisis, you should remember that in addition to management and the situational picture, communication is always important. If you are inspired to research the topic further, I recommend you to read the book Exceptional Communication (ProCom), which you can find in electronic version here.

Writer of the article: Jonna Ekroos, Fabrik’s communication strategist

Responsible business is the key to future success – 5 concrete reasons to take action

Our blog guest
Petri Vuorio
Director of Entrepreneurship and Business Policy at EK

Read this article in Finnish >

In the midst of the global crises, the expectation for comprehensive corporate responsibility has not disappeared, but the pressure for concrete actions, changes and positive impacts has increased. Sustainability is increasingly a strategic choice for companies to ensure success. In addition, a number of legislative projects are in the pipeline at EU level to drive forward sustainability requirements.

Research shows that Finnish companies are pioneers in sustainability – but actual success stories, with sustainability at the heart of their growth and success, are still relatively rare.

If you’re still wondering whether it’s worth investing in sustainability now, Petri Vuorio, Director of the Confederation of Finnish Industries, sums up the answer in our guest blog.

1. Finance
“Sustainability regulation and reporting requirements in both the financial and corporate sectors will become more stringent. Sustainability criteria will therefore have an increasing impact on the price and availability of corporate finance in the future.”

2. Supply chains
“More than 70% of Finnish exports are intermediate goods. Through domestic and international supply chains, the sustainability requirements imposed on even large companies will be reflected on all actors, including SMEs. Self-regulation and differentiation from competitors are moving from self-regulation to mandatory regulation through a number of legislative projects in the pipeline.”

3. Skilled labour
“As the top employer brand, sustainability is a key success factor in companies’ competition to recruit the best people. A responsible approach increases an organisation’s ability to attract and retain the productive and happy employees it needs. Sustainability is therefore a way of providing solutions to one of the most important bottlenecks to SME growth: the shortage of skilled labour.”

4. Brand equity
“As purchasing behaviour changes, people expect brands to be responsible and want their choices to contribute to a sustainable future.”

5. Market value
“The sum of the above factors, together with the potential for companies to succeed in the future, have a significant impact on the market value of a company, both in terms of sales and purchases. The above points underline the point: sustainability is an essential part of a company’s success story.”


Interested in more on this topic? How to make sustainability a sustainable competitive advantage for your brand – check out our impact branding product.

Responsibility as a competitive advantage – performance and resilience in the face of change

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Corporate responsibility is no longer just talk – it’s a business imperative

The transformation of global conditions and consumption is happening now. And the results speak for the fastest movers: among the challenges, they are identifying new opportunities. Sustainability is then a competitive advantage, and the business benefits are quickly reflected in the results.

So what is sustainability as a competitive advantage in practice?

Sustainability is a shared choice. Consumers, investors and business leaders are all aware of what they want.  The level of demand and, fortunately, the supply of products is changing, for big and small. Even market leadership will not go far if you do not keep pace with developments.

Responsibility is about reacting quickly. The market cannot wait for politicians to fine-tune future policy. Competitive advantage is achieved when a company sets its own milestones. If you simply follow existing recommendations, you will fall behind in performance and development.

Responsibility is the key to determining the value of companies. If a company is not in touch with the transparency and shared obligations of its own business, its value will inevitably fall. It is difficult to imagine that in five years’ time there will still be significant acquisitions without a thorough assessment of the impact of the activity.

Responsibility is the safest strategy. Since the only certainty is change, preparing for it will bring the fewest operational surprises. When you understand the impacts of your business, focus on developing the most relevant ones and communicate this to your customers, you have chosen a very safe strategy.

Read more about our Impact branding program – welcome to the forefront!

Kirjoittaja: Perttu Kouvalainen, Fabrikin Toimitusjohtaja & liiketoiminnan strategi

Corporate responsibility keywords on the rise – is your organisation on the move?

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Sustainability and related keywords have been on the rise for a long time. Trends show a clear message that corporate responsibility-related keywords are gaining ground in search results.

Compared to a year ago, the following words are the clearest risers:
responsible business +33%
responsible management +200%
social responsibility +57%
environmental responsibility +120%
corporate financial responsibility +50%
fibs +23%.
(Source Google keyword tool: change in the number of Finnish Google searches from 2021 to 2022 in Finland)

And here are just a few examples – there are many more keywords with different variations.

The rise of words related to corporate responsibility is not just a phenomenon of the last year

Looking at the total number of search terms included in this sample in May 2022, they have doubled since May 2019.

Increase in search volumes for corporate responsibility words from 2019 to 2022. Source: Google keyword tool

It is also good to see that B Corp has steadily increased its visibility in Finland in terms of search volume. B Corp companies are responsible, widely certified operators that operate in a sustainable and transparent manner. It is also a global sustainability network, and we will certainly hear more about it in Finland in the coming years. Find out more in our earlier B Corp article by Timo.

As you might expect, corporate sustainability topics also sleep in the summer – in July we see a clear drop in searches. Instead, it is interesting to see that the top search peaks for this topic are in March and November year on year. These are the periods when sustainability issues are particularly prominent in the business world.

Both national and international surveys tell the same story in terms of consumer aspirations and search terms:

“69% of global consumers believe brands should do more to help them consume more consciously; 65% believe governments should introduce legislation to promote conscious consumption.”

Accenture, April 2021

Is your organisation ready?

November is approaching – and there’s nothing stopping you from taking the first steps towards truly impactful and responsible business now. In fact, it is already becoming the default. At Fabrik, we are here to support businesses in this important change. Check out our Impact Branding product and let’s continue the conversation!

Author of the article: Hanna Leppänen, Fabrik’s SEO and Data Planner

Responsibility as a competitive advantage – performance and resilience in the face of change

Read this article in Finnish >

Corporate responsibility is no longer just talk – it’s a business imperative

The transformation of global conditions and consumption is happening now. And the results speak for the fastest movers: among the challenges, they are identifying new opportunities. Sustainability is then a competitive advantage, and the business benefits are quickly reflected in the results.

So what is sustainability as a competitive advantage in practice?

Sustainability is a shared choice. Consumers, investors and business leaders are all aware of what they want.  The level of demand and, fortunately, the supply of products is changing, for big and small. Even market leadership will not go far if you do not keep pace with developments.

Responsibility is about reacting quickly. The market cannot wait for politicians to fine-tune future policy. Competitive advantage is achieved when a company sets its own milestones. If you simply follow existing recommendations, you will fall behind in performance and development.

Responsibility is the key to determining the value of companies. If a company is not in touch with the transparency and shared obligations of its own business, its value will inevitably fall. It is difficult to imagine that in five years’ time there will still be significant acquisitions without a thorough assessment of the impact of the activity.

Responsibility is the safest strategy. Since the only certainty is change, preparing for it will bring the fewest operational surprises. When you understand the impacts of your business, focus on developing the most relevant ones and communicate this to your customers, you have chosen a very safe strategy.

Because only change is certain, being prepared for it will bring the fewest operational surprises. When you understand the impacts of your business, focus on developing the most relevant ones and communicate them to your customers, you have chosen a very safe strategy.

Read more about our Impact branding program – welcome to the forefront!

Author of the article: Perttu Kouvalainen, Fabrik’s CEO & Business Strategist

A simple tool for employer branding – start by defining your differentiators

Employer branding has made its way onto the corporate agenda in recent years. In an age of dire talent shortage, the ability to attract and keep key employees productive and happy is the lifeblood of many businesses.

To meet this challenge, employer branding creates an image of the company as an employer and makes it attractive to potential employees. Too many people leave attraction and employer image building to recruitment advertising, which is often rushed and unplanned.

Start with the target group

An impactful employer brand requires that target groups and differentiators are identified as precisely as possible. Your organization does not need to attract everyone, but only the talent that is important to your future. Start by asking: what are we recognized for now and how do we want to be seen by potential employees in the future?

Make choices

The list drawn from the previous question should be split into three parts. The default factors are things that competitors can offer too, such as occupational health care, well-being days and training. Essential things to have, but not what sets your company apart from the rest.

Competitive factors are already on the next level. What do you do particularly well compared to your competitors? What are you investing in now or in the future and what are you developing intensively? What are the authentic things that your current and future employees value?

Differentiation factors are the cherry on top of the cake in employee branding. This often requires a bit more reflection and looking at the big picture for your business and its future. What truly makes your company different and why do your employees want to engage with it? What is most meaningful?

People often talk about the mission of the company, its purpose, responsibility or the change they want to accomplish together.

What’s next

Now, it’s time for an action and communication plan. Give most visibility and resources to communicating and developing your differentiator factors. They should also often be at the top of the recruitment advertising agenda.

The three-part model is a fairly simple tool, but it will ensure that you get to build your own distinctive employer brand, and don’t end up offering a ‘ring-side seat’ in your recruitment ads next time.

Read more about developing your employer brand & do a quick test to see what level your employer brand is at here.

Author of the article: Jonna Ekroos, Fabrik’s communication strategist

B for Benefit – take a comprehensive look at the sustainability of your business

Meanwhile, we have to pass with flying colours an exceptionally rigorous assessment of our entire business, from business model to workplace culture to social and environmental impact. We also have to play nice and wait our turn. More than 6,000 applications were submitted in 2020-21 to join the growing line-up of Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, Danone’s, Body Shop and other Certified B Corporation companies. A modest 38% increase from 2018-19, and the pace has only increased.

There is now a great tool for impact assessment

However: the figure for pre-application impact assessment is even more impressive. From 2020 onwards, the number of people registering for the B Impact Assessment tool increased by 84%. In Europe alone, there were more than 14,000 new users of the tool in 2021. The B Corp community is not about certification, but rather the desire to improve one’s business and increase the level of sustainability.

The assessment is a great tool for that. That includes us too, even though we thought we were already looking at sustainability from every angle. Questions with a wider view of a company’s activities help us understand what’s possible and uncover strengths and resources we hadn’t previously thought of.

Over the spring, we have taken a number of steps for our company, such as:

  • a sustainability strategy (focusing on impact)
  • a plan for implementing the strategy, i.e. how we will make a concrete and positive impact
  • a data collection plan for our customers and employees
  • an ethics code & diversity programme

We’ll keep you updated on our integration into the B Corp community, and what happens next. Being part of this team is fascinating for us, our customers and stakeholders. We promise to share everything we learn along the way with everyone interested. Find out more about the B Corp movement. Have a look at Fabrik’s Impact Branding service and see how we can help your company with sustainability assessment and development.

First steps to employer branding – start with empathy and understanding

In a changing world of work, many recruiters are still attracting talent with vague benefits – a mere “prospect” is no longer enough of an employer promise.

Skilled labor is a fading resource. Age groups are shrinking. With technological change, there is less use for traditional skills. Businesses in every sector are facing skills shortages.

In the future, the leading brands that will succeed in the employer market will be those that stand out and are credible to more than just to their customers. Now is the time to recognize that for employers, understanding the needs of their staff is as much about understanding the core business as it is about understanding the core functions of the company.

We make it easy for you. We have the data-driven analytics and process tools to create a successful employer brand:

The first step in successful employer branding and recruitment is empathy. The first step in building an employer brand is to start with a clear definition of the target group and their needs – to offer the best in the job market to them. You don’t have to please everyone, just find the right people. Get to know them.

The second step is in action: we will perfect your employer brand. After a few months of work, you’ll have a concrete employer promise targeted at your key target groups.

The third step is to consolidate the process into a permanent practice: you will be in control of your own employee image. Employee understanding becomes a natural part of the company culture, and uncertainty on the staff side is eliminated.

These are the things that will become increasingly visible in the smooth running of recruitment, but few companies are still sufficiently prepared. We support you in your employer branding – both in building your employer experience and your attraction strategy. We’ll make sure that in the future, the right job finds the right people.

4 Facts: Why do responsible companies perform better?

Both research and concrete success stories make the case for investing in sustainable business. But what is the positive impact of sustainability based on?

1. The rules of the game have changed – What worked yesterday won’t work in the future.

From a business perspective, digitalization can provide a benchmark for change. Even now, some say they are not affected by the phenomenon – and end up with the worst-case scenario of failed change management like Kodak’s cameras or Nokia’s mobile phones. Others believe in what they see clearly ahead and turn the opportunities that this trend brings into a driver for growth.

2. Responsibility attracts capital

Companies that focus on sustainable business practices attract investors both in terms of risk management and expected returns. The EU’s green development program is the biggest driver of the trend towards responsible investment, fueled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Even faster than the legal requirements, new demands are coming faster and faster against companies in international supply chains – including SMEs.

3. The most sought-after talents demand relevance from their work

The transformation of work is raining on the shoulders of responsible companies. For the new generation, a salary alone will not bring fulfillment. They are thinking more carefully than their parents about where they want to work and what values they want to promote. The importance of relevance becomes particularly crucial in sectors where competition for the best talent is fierce.

4. Ethical and environmental values drive purchasing behavior

The most important asset of a responsible company is a committed customer base. People want to be part of the solution to global challenges, and they are looking to companies. Brands are expected to deliver on promises, not concrete actions, which require more than just fine words.

So, what to do?

For sustainability to be a true driver of growth, it must be seamlessly integrated into all aspects of business and speak the same language as both marketing and corporate culture. It all starts with knowing yourself and understanding your impact on the world around you. With a clear focus and a plan in place, it’s easier to start the journey to a better business – and that’s where we can help you.