WHY IVHQ IS A CERTIFIED B CORPORATION
Environmental and social impact has always been at the heart of what we do, so it made sense for International Volunteer HQ to undergo the rigorous assessment to become a Certified B Corporation.
B Corp is a symbol of sustainability, inclusivity and quality, showing that we have been externally audited and holding us to the highest social and environmental standards.
We’re proud to say that since 2015, IVHQ is the first and only certified B Corp volunteer travel provider.
IVHQ is also the only volunteer travel company to be a member of the Volunteer Groups Alliance (VGA), which is aligned with the United Nations and its 2030 agenda for sustainable development.
Certified B Corps are celebrated for using entrepreneurialism to help solve a range of global social and environmental problems. It’s like a Fair Trade certification except it certifies a company as a whole rather than just a bag of coffee or a carton of milk.
The B Corp movement is all about identifying and recognizing ethical organizations that work toward reduced inequality, lower levels of poverty, a healthier environment, stronger communities, and the creation of more high quality jobs with dignity and purpose.
How did IVHQ become a B Corp?
As a certified ‘B Corp’, International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ have undergone a robust assessment on the company’s impact on its workers, customers, community and environment.
But it doesn’t end there. B Corp is a long-term commitment, and the process continues with a challenging annual recertification process.
“It’s no longer good enough for businesses to think about their success solely in terms of financial performance. I believe the companies who truly understand this will not only make the biggest positive impact in the world, but they’ll also become more attractive to customers and will be appealing to the very best talent. Understanding our success in terms of our wider social and environmental impact has always been a focus for us, so becoming a Certified B Corp is a no-brainer.”
We believe that business should be contributing positively towards society. That’s why we only offer ethical volunteer programs that are locally run. Locals determine the focus of the volunteering, because they understand the community need surrounding each project. This ensures volunteers are contributing to projects that genuinely benefit from their support.
Being seen as ‘good’ through marketing is easy, but actually doing good is where many companies fall short. The B Corp stamp ensures we are dedicated, accountable, responsible and 100% transparent with our customers, communities, employees and the environment.
How does IVHQ put B Corp values into practice?
Here are a few examples of how we use B Corp’s best practice guidelines to ensure maximum benefit to volunteers, communities, employees and the environment.
- Empower volunteers to make a positive impact, learn new skills and explore their career path.
- Ensure programs are affordable, flexible and accessible to people of all ages and from all backgrounds.
- Provide hands-on support to every volunteer from start to finish and ask for feedback.
- Regularly audit programs to ensure they are impactful, safe and well-run.
For local communities:
- Ensure programs target the local community's most pressing issues so volunteers help where they are genuinely needed.
- Ensure all projects work sustainably towards long term goals, providing a consistent flow of volunteers until they are no longer needed.
- Screen volunteers, manage expectations and cap numbers when a program reaches capacity.
- Provide regular training to the local teams on best practice volunteer management.
- Promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
- Prioritize operational savings and sustainable spend.
- Ensure internal transparency within the business.
- B Corp symbol attracts talent and new employees.
- Collaborate, build relationships and learn from fellow B Corps.
For the environment:
- Offset carbon emissions for all staff flying to visit/audit programs.
- Encourage volunteers to offset carbon emissions with a Carbon Footprint Calculator.
- Run tree planting and environmental conservation programs.
- Volunteers participate in environmental education projects in local schools to promote sustainable living.
We’ve got a big vision for the role that IVHQ will play in enabling people anywhere in the world and do something positive in the community, and this Certification is a symbol of our commitment to realizing that vision in a responsible and sustainable way. We hope other entrepreneurial businesses will be inspired to join the movement too.
The B-Corp declaration of interdependence:
We envision a global economy that uses business as a force for good. This economy is comprised of a new type of corporation - the B Corporation - Which is purpose-driven and creates benefit for all stakeholders, not just shareholders.
- That we must be the change we seek in the world.
- That all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered.
- That, through their products, practices, and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all.
- To do so requires that we act with the understanding that we are each dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations.