X+Why are an award-winning and impact-led flexible workspace provider. They achieved B Corp status in September 2021 and are on a mission to change the way the world works for good.
No details were spared when designing their spaces to be as sustainable as possible, from energy-efficient lighting right down to the chairs you sit on. We sat with CMO Jemma to chat about their B Corp journey and being an impact-led business.
We believe in being the change that you want to see in the world and that businesses are a conduit for creating a better economy and society. Therefore, becoming a B Corporation was our ambition since inception.
The B Impact Assessment is incredibly rigorous and requires you to re-examine every facet of your business through the lens of sustainability, people, and purpose. One of the challenges we faced as a new, and small, business was around policy and process. It is one thing to say you are doing something, and even to be living that promise - but it is another to have all of the official documentation and policies written down. We were forced to really think about things like our people policies and programs. This was a time-consuming effort, but ultimately incredibly useful with long-term benefits to the business.
For us, the B Corporation badge is the gold standard when it comes to certifying on-going commitment to people, planet, and progress and we wanted to join a network of like-minded enterprises that are really walking the walk. Progress does not mean anything unless there is something left to benefit from it and we wanted to be part of a movement that is creating a better future for all.
The certification is credible and meaningful and gives us a framework to keep us accountable. This is only just the beginning for us!
We create spaces with sustainability and wellness at their heart. Therefore, most of our members are attracted to x+why because of our unique proposition and commitment to purpose - which makes it much easier for us to keep them engaged in sustainability. They are surrounded by like-minded businesses, and so those water-cooler moments tend to be motivated and inspired by similar challenges and opportunities.
However, we do also actively encourage and support our members on their sustainability journey - whether they are just starting out, or seasoned experts. We host regular events, panels, and programmes with relevant topics and speakers.
We also have two programmes that are designed to directly support members with purpose and sustainability - The WhyB Programme and The Mission Lit Programme.
The Mission Lit Programme is a toolkit for entrepreneurs, which will recognise and reward those businesses that are committed to sustainability.
The WhyB Programme, guides participants through the B Impact Assessment (BIA). It is designed to motivate businesses as they complete their BIA– the key to unlocking the coveted BCorp certification, but also an excellent planning tool and way to measure impact for businesses of all sizes.
It is an excellent way for business, large and small, to understand their impact, improve it, have fun and create long term impact within their company, as well as meet and network with like-minded businesses and CEO's. The live sessions are designed to remove any confusion or complexity and allow time and space to ask those impossible questions and get the answers as you need them.
We host the programme depending on demand, but it tends to be once a quarter. The next one is scheduled to kick off in March 2022, and we already have a wait list.
Chiswick Works is a really exciting new site for us - being in a slightly more suburban area it allows us to support the local community as they adapt to more flexible working opportunities, and seek a place of focus that allows them to work close to home.
The building has a BREEAM* Very Good rating, and like all of our buildings the fit-out, furniture, and management of the space are all designed with sustainability front of mind. The fit and furnishing of Chiswick Works includes sustainable materials such as cork floors and Baux acoustic panels, as well as locally and environmentally sourced furniture. We have a full fresh air handling system to all spaces and a biophilic design which seeks to bring the outside, inside.
*BREEAM is the world’s leading sustainability assessment method for master-planning projects, infrastructure and buildings. It recognises and reflects the value in higher performing assets across the built environment lifecycle, from new construction to in-use and refurbishment.
The Community. Our values around sustainability and purpose attract members of a similar mindset, which means that our community is more than just a line on our brochure. Community is at the heart of our proposition. Members genuinely learn from and inspire one another. Conversations are naturally fueled by shared interests. And it means that we can host events that are relevant and useful to the whole community.
Of course, there are also some more 'practical' benefits of being in an innovative green space, for example, our green credentials are so good at People’s Mission Hall, that members completing their B Impact Assessment are awarded an additional 5-7 B Corp points.
I love the booths at People's Mission Hall. The vibe is always great over there, and the booths give you some privacy and space to focus, whilst still allowing you to be 'in the action' of the coworking area.
We have lots of plans for more sites across the UK over the coming year. Next up is Birmingham, where we have two amazing locations opening in the Spring. We will also be launching the Mission Lit Programme early in 2022, with the publication of our very first book, which we hope will inspire and support businesses beyond just those who are members of x+why.
A big thank you to Jemma for sharing so much about X+Why's inspiring B Corp journey.
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