WeTransfer achieves B-Corp certification, pledges carbon neutrality

Digital file transferring service WeTransfer has today (10 June) confirmed that it has achieved B-Corp certification, joining more than 3,000 other businesses including the likes of Ben & Jerry's, The Body Shop and Cook.

WeTransfer achieves B-Corp certification, pledges carbon neutrality

In order to maintain B-Corp status

In order to achieve the certification, companies must prove they have adopted a holistic and embedded sustainability approach across people, planet and economy, and be striving to go beyond incremental improvements to their negative impacts, towards creating a net benefit.

The assessment procedure takes into account both day-to-day operations and broader business models, as well as business’s disclosure, goal-setting and stakeholder empowerment efforts.

WeTransfer passed the assessment last month, noting in a statement that its work on improving social equality was praised by B Lab. The company has helped to raise millions of dollars to abolish medical debt for low-income LA residents and donated more than $300m (£236m) in advertising inventory to organisations campaigning for causes such as better gun control, digital literacy and human rights.

On the environmental piece, WeTransfer has announced a new commitment to become a carbon-neutral company by the end of 2020. The majority of progress here will be achieved through carbon offsetting, but, to ensure that the firm does not become solely reliant on this approach, a 2025 goal of reducing absolute carbon emissions by 30% against a 2019 baseline has also been created.

Given that the business, founded in 2009 and headquartered in Amsterdam, is still growing at a pace, it has committed to conducting an audit to establish what “responsible” growth – growing while maintaining or improving progress across environmental and social focus areas – looks like, and how this can be ensured.

The growth audit will be carried out in partnership wit DotEveryone, a think tank working to champion responsible technology. DotEveryone’s founder Baroness Martha Lane Fox is notably the new chair of WeTransfer’s board of directors.

“WeTransfer… has long supported the values espoused by Certified B Corporations: balancing people, planet and profit,” WeTransfer’s chief executive officer Gordon Willoughby said.

“We believe in accountability for the products and technology we put into the world, and we will strive to push our peers to transform our industry into a more responsible and sustainable one.”

On Willoughby’s latter point, which speaks to the fact that WeTransfer is a digital business with a larger reach than physical footprint, WeTransfer will offer B-Corps a 20% discount on advertising. The offer will apply to both companies which have already been certified, as well as to existing and new advertising clients at the point of certification.

A growing movement

More than 3,300 companies globally have achieved B-Corp certification to date, including more than 270 in the UK.

The cohort has grown rapidly in recent times, with more than 600 companies having been added within the past six months. 

This snowball of interest is likely down to a number of factors, from B-Lab’s growing presence and influence at international policy forums – more than 500 B-Corps took to the stage at COP25 championing a net-zero transition by 2030 – to an uptick in green legislation and public interest in business’s impacts on society and the environment.

Keen to react to this trend, the Business Roundtable, consisting of 180+ US-based business leaders, redefined the purpose of a corporation as an entity which “serves all”. similarly, a survey of 50 UK-based business leaders published in March by Neighbourly found that 85% are implementing measures to prioritise long-term social impact over short-term profit.

Sarah George

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