Feasting or looking out for those around you? Some advice for B Corps in december holiday season

When I proudly told customers, friends, and family that GRRR became B Corp in 2020, they all looked at me with wide, questioning eyes. B what? Not so surprising when you consider that B Corp was just getting a foothold in the Netherlands at the time.

Over two years later, we see that more and more people are talking about B Corp. Undoubtedly, the certifications for companies like WeTransfer and Tony Chocolonely have contributed to this. Which in my opinion is only positive. We used to get the generic questions on what B Corp is. Now, these generic questions make way for deeper insights: what do B Corps actually do differently? And what can we learn from each other? Also, more and more companies reach out to us via B Corp page to help them in the first steps of their assessment.. 

In the article, I will share– based on the five impact areas of B Corp – which actions we take at GRRR. With this week: GRRR’s impact on our (immediate) environment.

From B to C: Community

B Corps can be characterized as companies that not only think about themselves but also make an impact for or through the environment in which they operate. This can be about diversity, equality, and inclusion, but also about charities or economic impact. At GRRR we decided in 2018 to work exclusively for Meaningful Matters. By that, we mean purpose enterprises, NGOs, and the (semi-)government. Plus, we structurally give pro bono hours to the most sensible amongst these companies if they need an extra push in an early stage of their growth.

When is the best time to think about your loved ones?

Structure often works best if you link it to an existing routine. For example, my grandfather always learned ten new Swedish words while brushing his teeth. After a year, he could speak quite a bit of Swedish, and he always showed it off when we ordered a portion of Swedish balls at IKEA. The poor man forgot for a moment that most of the staff only spoke Dutch.

The holidays in December are of course pre-eminently the time when people pay more attention to their social environment. It’s the natural time for charity events. On the other hand, those same holidays are also a period with an ecological footprint bigger than that of the Big Friendly Giant. In addition to charity, the holidays unfortunately also represent gluttony and overblown consumerism. The possession of a B Corp certificate therefore also calls for noblesse oblige at this time of the year. You don’t get away with ordering some Christmas packages and promotional gifts on Friday afternoon on the first website you find on Google.

You don’t get away with ordering some Christmas packages and promotional gifts on Friday afternoon on the first website you find in Google.

Don't fall into the Black Friday trap

Whether it’s the ingrained traditions or the short and cold days; We experience these holidays as a time of reflection. We make time for each other and give gifts to our business associates or staff to show our appreciation. The usual way to do this is with a Christmas package filled with a standard bottle of wine, crackers, and chocolate.

But this focus on consuming didn’t feel right to us. Let alone push an already overworked parcel deliverer to shove around even more redundant goodies. How could we thank our business partners without giving even more to people who actually already have enough stuff? The solution was simple we give something of real value to people who really need it. This has now become a tradition and every year we find a good cause that’s close to us.

Use your special skill to make helping easy, natural en impactful

At GRRR we decided to use the budget we would normally spend on a Christmas gift and invest it in a good cause.

In 2019 we asked our neighbors from the residential care group Amsta Flesseman what would make them happy. Our suggestion was a massage chair. But these cheerful residents much preferred a Bluetooth speaker with a Spotify account and a party. Given that was a human-centered creative agency, we of course followed the client’s need in this one.

In 2022, we used network and communication tools to call attention to economic homelessness. As a result, more people will soon be familiar with this often overlooked group of people. Contributing to helping this group of 3000 Amsterdam citizens find a roof over their heads quicker. 

Invite your neighbour

We’re having this cheerful tradition for three years now. Fortunately, every year we find parties who want to think along with us, or who want to support our campaign. For example, the shoe brand ETQ gave 50 pairs of shoes to the homeless in 2020, when we had a promotion for a walk-in center for the elderly De Kloof. And gave the non-toxic plant brand Sprinklr a hefty discount on 180 plants that we gave to economically homeless people, to brighten up their temporary living spaces.

Actions like these take a little more time than when you order a promotional gift with a simple click on the webshop. But they also yield much more appreciative responses. Of course, it will be a while before the holidays are around again, but hopefully, it will inspire you to question your own traditions and turn them into something that more people can use.