Therese Stevinson, Sustainability and Diversity Officer, QBS Technology Group

QBS Software’s Therese Stevinson on achieving B Corp Certification

QBS Software recently celebrated its 35th anniversary. Alongside this it also achieved B Corp Certification (covering the company’s operations in the UK, Germany, France and the Nordics). But it was its employees who saw the greatest benefits of this milestone. To find out just what this mean for QBS as a company, PCR caught up with Therese Stevinson Sustainability and Diversity Officer at QBS to find out more.

For QBS, B Corp Certification is a critically important certification as it measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance. Therese Stevinson explains.

What does becoming a B Corp mean to QBS?
This is further validity of our ESG commitment, becoming certified by an independent and objective body. Unequivocally proving that QBS Technology group and all our subsidiary companies across Europe are validated at the highest possible level for our ESG commitment. Moreover, it demonstrates our commitment not only to the planet but also to our external stakeholders, our investors, our people, our publishers and our partners.

Can you remind us what a B Corp is and the benefits of this?
Certified B Corporations or B Corps are companies verified by the global non-profit B Lab to meet high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability. The benefits of certifying as a B Corp will allow us to grow and scale the business and operate to an even higher socially responsible standard.

To become a B Corp, a business receives an external accreditation by undertaking a rigorous assessment of a company’s impact on its governance, workers, customers, community and environment. It closely aligns with our policy in QBS of using our business as a force for good.

How will this status now affect business for QBS across the company’s operations in the UK, Germany, France and the Nordics?

There will be no change. We will continually need to work hard with our partners and publishers to deliver software, shorten deal cycles, drive deal registration and maximise the value that every user gets from the software. Our ESG narrative and B Corp certification are part of the guardrails that allow us to operate in a socially responsible and well-governed manner.

What further changes will QBS look to make now it has achieved B Corp status?
Becoming certified as a B Corp is just one tool in our ESG narrative. We don’t see good governance as having an end, we need to continually get better and better. One thing that we particularly want to do is share the message and process with our friends in the channel and particularly the PCR readership. As a company we are now looking to further improve on our Employee Value Proposition and invest heavily in our human capital department.

What measures has QBS taken to change its corporate governance structure in line with attaining B Corp status?
We had already revoked our shareholder primary clause in our article of association adding in extra stakeholders ranking equally. We have added an iNED onto our board of directors. We have recruited a world-class company secretary and we are focused on ensuring that we have and maintain the best-in-class ESG. The B Corp certification has helped us to structure further developments making sure that we truly balance the needs of all stakeholders in line with their templates and guidance, so our vision of the world is in line with the industry leading ESG accreditation body.

How have QBS’ employees benefitted for the B Corp status?
I think I can speak without exception that they are all immensely proud, but it is important to remember that my QBS co-workers have been a true force for driving this ambition and all of us want to make our business a force for good. The biggest benefit they can take from this is that other members of the channel want to follow in their footsteps and leave a lasting legacy for the next generation through their actions.

As the only channel company listed in the B Corp directory, what advice can QBS offer to can encourage others to also become B Corps?
First of all, that fact is a real shame and hopefully that will not be the case for much longer. Maybe B Corp certification is not right for everyone. Just because external verification and certification of ESG is critical in our opinion it may not work for other companies with competing priorities. Hopefully we can encourage others to join us on this journey and any help we can give them along the way, do not hesitate to reach out to Dave or myself.

Why is attaining B Corp status important?
B Corporations are required to be transparent about everything that they do. This gives every member of our software delivery platform, whether as a publisher, end-user or partner, confidence that by partnering with QBS they are partnering with a company who operates to the highest possible ethical standards and has had that fact externally verified and published.

How will this benefit other companies?
We hope that a company’s ESG rating will one day rank equally with their credit rating. Where businesses that have the highest possible independently certified ESG rating will be rewarded with more business. We are happy to share our roadmap, our expertise and time to help other companies on their journey to becoming a certified B Corporation.

Can you tell us more about what the QBS journey to B Corp Certification involved?
To become a certified B Corporation we completed the rigorous certification process: the B Corp Impact Assessment. This measured QBS’ performance across 5 Impact Area Pillars: Governance, Community, Environment, Workers and Customers. To become a certified B Corp a score of over 80 is required. The process provided us with a clear roadmap for improvements and the positive sustainable and social practices that should be implemented so as to continually strive for good.

The independent audit was quite challenging ensuring that not only do we have the correct procedures, but that they are correct and in line with the B Corporation procedures.

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