September 2022: Audio Recording w/ Chapters
Audio only of the presentation and Q & A Session w/ POLINA PINCHEVSKY UNIT CO
On, Paulina, the floor is yours to introduce yourself and introduce your talk.
POLINA PINCHEVSKY UNIT CO 0:07
Great, thank you. I am really excited to be here with all of you, because so many of you are good friends and others and just eager to get to know more. And I’m thrilled that Ross was able to join me he is my co pilot in this venture. So I’m glad to have his him on the call as well, to help talk about this topic. And then of course, there’s at least a handful of you here who I’ve probably bothered over the course of the two years, as I asked for user interviews and questions. So some of you know what we’ve all been up to, and a few others who are in our first beta tester cohort. So thank you everybody so much, because I feel like so many of you have contributed to this venture already. Just a little bit about myself. So I’ve had round peg, which is a marketing, design, consultancy and a social impact space for 19 years. And it was only in May of 2020, when pandemic hit us hard and everything came to a whole that I finally had a little bit of time to kind of slow down think and reevaluate. You know, what’s next is the pivot in the works. Ross, who I would say has been a mentor to me for many, many years, had some good conversations. And we kept talking about doing a project together. And what started out as our skunks project, just a little research project on the side, turned into a full fledged company called unit Co. That’s now a Maryland benefit corporation. And we’ve been at work ever since. So for almost two years, somewhere along the way, we brought in Elisa here from Unity web design, she’s very involved with the with the change group. So some of you may know them, and her through that. But yeah, I’m going to share my screen and really looking forward to you know, talk about Impact Reporting.
Unknown Speaker 2:17
Okay, let me do the
Unknown Speaker 2:23
right show you. All right.
POLINA PINCHEVSKY UNIT CO 2:28
So it really is a testament to this community and the B Corp network. I don’t think I would be here on this seat if it wasn’t for the for the community and meeting so many of you who kind of helped get us here. Just very quick, quickly. So what is unit of impact? We are majority women on public benefit corporation were founded by three B corpse to address an gap in the marketplace by creating first of its kind SAS platform, specifically for small businesses. In in talking among ourselves and trying to help ourselves, we figured out that there was no tool on the market that we can use as round peg, Oliver Russell, a unity, the three of us were struggling with the same problem of how do we create easily create impact report? And how do we keep track of our data in between the assessments like that assessment is great, but it happens every three years. So a lot of things fall through the cracks in those in between times. And after looking for some time, we couldn’t find anything that was affordable and targeted for small business community. And we decided to build one for ourselves, really, the two of us are agency, I’ll have a wrestle and roundtable agency and we were still struggling with creating our impact report. So we imagine that for you know, folks out there who are not in the agency business, this was even even that much harder. And then we went out to validate that idea. So purpose is to help small businesses succeed by inspiring them to collect, measure and share the impact with the world. And now that today actually, we launched our marketing site unit of impact calm so we’re really kind of finally getting out there and starting to live our purpose. So why now and I don’t I mean, you guys are all in a social impact space, you all run B corpse you work at B corpse. This is not something that I need to spend a lot of time on. But it is it is a little bit of a wild west out there. There’s a ton going on. Everybody seems to be talking about social impact environmental impact. There’s tons of greenwashing going on out there and we in a bigger community have the advantage of our seal and our certification to kind of, you know, prove that we mean what we say. But it’s just gotten crazy and it seems like the space is growing and growing, just look at the B Corp community or 1%. For the planet community, they have quadrupled in size in the last four years. So it’s to over 220% growth for both of those organizations in the last four years. And it’s only projected to happen more. So think of this has had become kind of like a hot market a hard target. And it’s even for us who are in a B Corp space, it’s challenging to navigate, you know, there’s, it’s there’s so so, so much skepticism out there, there’s, it’s hard to know what’s real, what’s not. So kind of trying to make sense of it all is one of the reasons we got into this work. We started out by doing, as I mentioned, a research project. And that that led us to this concept. And it was pretty informal, I’m sure some of you probably participated. And it was pretty small. So we’re not talking about, you know, huge datasets here. But it was still kind of interesting to see the results. And not surprisingly, you know, B corpse and public benefit corporations were the ones who were most concerned about how they measure and track their social impact, making sure that they’re making a difference. And, and we’re also, you know, interested in communicating, communicating it out. Again, not surprising that the community kind of communities, the easiest sections for many of the B corpse to have the greatest impact on nonprofit donations and volunteer hours, it tends to be that entry point, where many of us, you know, have a program in place and do something about environmental impacts usually comes next. And there are a number of different metrics around that. And when it came to non traditional, you know, to more traditional businesses, they really were struggling with environmental impacts, a lot of us have resources. And I know there’s even somebody on the call, who mentioned that they provide sustainability resources, we just have so much available to us through from V lab and through the community. But if you don’t live in that world, it’s pretty challenging to find that information. And it also there’s just so much information that for a lot of folks, it’s like where do I even start? Like, what should I be doing? First? How do I know what I’m doing matters? You know, so there was just so many questions.
It was also interesting to see where the challenges lie, and particularly that depending on your role in a company, you may have, you know, identify your challenges quite differently. So for founders, communicating their brand story was the number one challenge for employees, they were really wanting di training. And for those traditional businesses, they were really looking for environmental measurements and sustainability help. So that gave us a sense of like, the land of the land, you know, the lay of the land and the landscape and helped us understand what we need to focus on. One of the stats that really surprised us, is that while you know, worker satisfaction seems to be much, much higher at big corporations, and those companies care a lot about their employees, whether it’s paying the living wage, or the kind of benefits, employee engagement programs, you know, across the board, B corpse tend to do more. And they also care deeply about their suppliers, their partners, and funders, you know, just all of those relationships matter. But yet only 63% of B corpse or PVCs will publishing a Social Impact Report, which is you know, that there’s room to grow, given that Social Impact Report is often the main way for the companies to communicate what it is they’re doing.
Unknown Speaker 8:56
POLINA PINCHEVSKY UNIT CO 9:00
let me see my notes. And a lot of times when it is communicated, it’s communicated on social media. And it’s kind of like quick and dirty, you know, maybe down through like dollars donated a number of hours volunteer, this many partners talk to, you know, the kind of quick touch points, and those are good, but I think it’s often not enough. We all know that quite a few agencies on this call. So we all know the power of storytelling humans learn by listening to stories. And again, kind of using the vehicle impact report to tell those impact stories, matters, building that engagement. And a lot of companies outside of C suite. Many of the employees don’t really know the nuts and bolts of the companies can you know, social impact. They might not even be aware of all the dollars donated or different initiatives that the company has in place that you know could be talked about. So it becomes not just a tool for outside engagement and external stakeholder engagement, but also for an employee engagement and helping kind of get everybody on the same page. And if you’re a public benefit corporation, and I’m curious how many of you are, maybe you could put that in the chat, if you’re a public benefit corporation, you may be required by law to have an impact report filed with your state. And then, oops, on that note, I’m not going to go far into this slide. Because I think in this community, we all know what public benefit corporations are and how that all works. You do get B Lab has some new rules in place around that. We probably, you know, don’t know yet. We’ll know about it soon. But for many public benefit corporations, you’re required to submit a report with your state. There are some exceptions. And there are four states in the union, New Jersey, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Vermont, that actually penalize you if you don’t, if you don’t fulfill that requirements. So for companies in those states, it’s mandatory.
Unknown Speaker 11:18
POLINA PINCHEVSKY UNIT CO 11:22
So what’s the process? I’m, again, I’m gonna run through this quickly, so that we have some time for q&a at the end. But it’s, you know, it’s pretty intuitive. You need to have the data. That’s step one, no, no way around that step. You need to measure set goals, and then share out there are a lot of measurement tools out there already. And many of you are probably using them be it is from B Lab is fantastic at doing that. And I think for us, for many of us who are using that it’s very helpful. And it works. It works together with unit with what we have built, we have done that on purpose. We did not we are not a certifying organization. We don’t certify anybody. We’re not trying to step on be labs toes, we’re trying to kind of add one more tool in the arsenal for all the big boards to help them make this a little easier.
Unknown Speaker 12:21
I can have a
POLINA PINCHEVSKY UNIT CO 12:22
presentation without a quote from Peter Drucker, right? He’s their guru at all. So if you can’t measure it, how are you going to improve it essentially? So what are the key ingredients that go into Impact Reporting, after looking at many, many impact reports, I have a Google alert set for Impact Reporting on my computer, I get weekly updates of new impact reports that come out, and we look at them very frequently. And really try to cherry pick the ones that are the best ones, or that are doing something interesting, or if something strikes us. So we’ve been kind of in this space, you know, really studying Impact Reporting for the past 18 months pretty closely. And surprisingly, the one thing that often is missing is the brand Foundation. And it sounds ridiculous to even talk about it, and have it be like our thing that we need to discuss. But it is, is something that’s missing quite a bit. I think a lot of companies assume that whoever is reading the Impact Report already is familiar with them and knows what they’re talking about. And they don’t kind of don’t need to go there. They just can talk about their mission and their social initiatives. And a lot of times if you’re coming in, like I always joke that if I came in, you know if it was an alien came in from outer galaxy, and look, look some of this impact report, I’d be very pleasantly surprised that you can make a living on planet earth by being a force for good. So don’t miss out on that piece of it. You know, make sure that you include your brand Foundation, talk about your products and services. There’s a shareholder letter that’s very important. And then you get into this kind of by the numbers with tends to be a section that is at a glance like a quick capture of what has happened in the past year.
The other ingredients is the storytelling. And this is where I would say share two or three of the most compelling stories from the year people often feel pressured to share it all. You don’t need to do that edit yourself down, pick something that really matters and focus on that. Obviously, it’s super important to list your certifications because that’s your credentials, and then use the impact report as an engagement tool as well whether it’s through social or campaigns you involved with anything that makes sense. It is still a marketing piece. And then there’s legal requirements and those that those companies that are public benefit corporations, those legal require requirements will vary state by state. So for companies that PVCs in California, it will be a different set of requirements than let’s say, for my company that’s based in Maryland. So you do need to know what those are. And one of the things we build into unit is that piece of it so that you can look up, what are your requirements and know very quick, very quickly what you need to include in the impact report, if you’re a public benefit corporation so that that box is checked, like you’ve done your legal duty here. One thing that I want to also touch upon is that when it comes to measurement, and storytelling, a lot of folks want to share everything that they’re measuring. And that’s not always the best route. You know, we the way we build the unit, we build it, there’s two portions to it, there’s the measuring and tracking of data. And then there’s the impact report generator, which you can, you can select which of your data points and which of your, you know, initiatives that you want to include in the Impact Report, what you want to share and what you want to measure and not one and the same. There are a lot of metrics that you might find very useful, and measuring. As you build out your business. They are helpful metrics to help you plan for the future, they helpful in your business strategy, they helpful in your marketing and all kinds of data that’s really helpful from a business perspective, it doesn’t mean that it needs to be shared. So it’s definitely a editorial decision on what you decide to include for the Impact Report versus what you actually measuring. Okay, and then I figured all of you probably want to see quick samples of a few good ones that so I wanted to throw that in here. So many of you know Maya was mangrove. I had picked her this is there’s a link. Hopefully Erika could post the link and chat to the full webpage. But I’ve actually seen her 2020 Report, and then this is her 2021 report. And the difference is tremendous. So kudos to Maya and mangrove for, like most improved, they’ve really done a super nice job on this latest version, starting with, you know, really clearly identifying the brand foundation on what they do and what they believe. So nicely done. This comes from a B Corp called Katchafire. And, again, they’ve done a nice job of how they’ve done the numbers. And at a glance, it’s interactive. It’s very dynamic. It’s simple. But it’s it’s interesting. So again, check it out. Take a look on the link that Erica shares. I think this company is no longer be equal, but they still a public benefit corporation and that we fund her their impact report is insanely complex. They’ve just have so much going on. And in spite of it being super complex. They’ve done a pretty amazing job of keeping it organized and doing and doing like really great storytelling throughout. Oops, sorry.
Unknown Speaker 18:29
Oops. My screen just went to sleep. Oops.
POLINA PINCHEVSKY UNIT CO 18:44
Here we are, we’re back. They’ve included a timeline. I mean, it’s kind of like pull out all the stops Impact Report of impact reports. So it’s fun to see there’s videos there’s it’s just really like when you have a lot of resources and you can utilize those resources. This is an impact report that does something interesting. And then actually it ends with a listing of all the jobs they have available. So they using the impact report as a recruiting tool to find more employees, which I thought was a really interesting twist as well. Okay, and then I definitely want to also talk about for a second about Dr. Bronner’s Impact Report. It’s been shared on beehive and I think a few other places in the B Corp community. It is fantastic. Definitely check it out. But they’re the only ones that I’ve seen so far. They have a section specifically on the B impact assessment, including, you know, the scores across every division and all of that. So it’s kind of you know, they’ve been incredibly transparent. They also do tremendous amount of work and they’ve done a fantastic job. I’m talking about they’re talking about their activism, their programs, their I mean, their stats, it’s all there, it’s super well done. Okay, so I realized that somehow along the way, I skipped this slide. So let me if you bear with me, and let me talk to you for a second, about what actually we are doing with Unicode. So we had specifically created four sections governance, community, people and environment that match up pretty closely to the b i A, so that the data that we as B corpse already have from those sections can be matched up to our some of our questions, although what we’re doing is much more simplified, again, because we’re not certifying anybody. So it’s a much simpler process. And it is really not just b corpse, but for any small business that is interesting and embarking on this journey of social impact measurement and reporting. But as you can see, it’s it’s kind of big buckets that you know, track back to B Corp assessment pretty closely. So I wanted to make sure that for B corpse, this, you know, getting into the tool and entering the data should be pretty simple, because we have, you know, a lot of us have this from our B Corp assessment.
Unknown Speaker 21:34
POLINA PINCHEVSKY UNIT CO 21:37
Go back to this section. So, Russ is with me on this call. He’s my co pilot and co founder. And Elisa is not here with us. But Russ, and I would be happy to, you know, in the time we have left, take any questions and see what you guys want to talk about, I did a very quick run through just because I wanted to make sure we have some time for discussion at the end.
Question1: Customizable 22:11
This has been super interesting. I’m excited to learn more. And I think I already have you set up one of you. But I wanted to just clarify. So will this only work for certified B Corporations or PVCs? Or I’m thinking some of our suppliers will be a good fit for it, but they you know, have different kind of impact metrics that they’re using. So is it need to really be following kind of BI a specific standards? Or can it be a little bit more customized?
POLINA PINCHEVSKY UNIT CO 22:37
No, it’s we build it really for non B corpse, because I think we as B corpse already do so much more and so much farther away, you know, much more advanced. I think, for a lot of B corpse we anticipate, you know, who knows, but we anticipate that the input impact report generator tool is the most useful, you can take your data from the assessment, go into unit of impact tool, enter your data, and then use the generator to create a web based Impact Report pretty easily. They are, you know, verbal prompts, they’re examples that templates. So it becomes kind of a, like a nice way to very quickly make an impact report for your company. If you have the data. If you’re starting from scratch, and you’re just kind of new to this whole process, you are going to have to invest in actually pulling the data together. So yeah, thanks for that question.
Question1: Customizable 23:33
One more question that might be somewhat specific to my company, but hopefully will help others. So I’ll say it out loud. I’m imagining with our suppliers or even business clients that we would be wanting to know their impact through these reports, and also help them kind of show it off, which sounds like it’s exactly what you guys are able to do. Would we be able to create a more standardized version that we asked them to do as an impact report? Does that make sense to like our 70 suppliers, we’d be able to send it out to them so that they could report the kind of consistent metrics that we look for.
POLINA PINCHEVSKY UNIT CO 24:04
Yeah, we would probably need to work with you a little bit to see what that looks like, you know, definitely specific, but a little more confident. Yeah, it definitely can be done. And I do want to say that, you know, we have three B corpse that have been putting like, we’ve been bootstrapping this process bootstrapping, as, you know, we have like, no money for marketing. So our whole entire marketing strategy is partnerships. And we’re really going to rely on like a lot of you guys who we know or would love to know. And it’d be good community to build those partnerships. So there’s an affiliate form on our website that launched today and would like fill it out, let us know that you want you know, you’re interested because we can help you and you can help us. We’d love to do it. And for all of those sustainability folks on the call or any accounting anybody who works with the small All business community, like this is how we’re hoping to kind of build and grow the tool, you know, we’d love for you to share it with your customers. Man, we would love to share your services with our customers. So it’s kind of like, let’s help each other grow.
Unknown Speaker 25:21
Right, Erin? Hi, I
Question2: Tracking Metrics 25:25
just wanted to ask about a specific metric that we track that I’m realized I realized recently is not something most B corpse track, but we’re, we’re on the designed to give track. So we give a minimum of 5% of our billable hours pro bono to not for profits, but it doesn’t like from the run through that you did. It doesn’t look like there’s a way to necessarily track that specific type thing or so I’m curious as to with your platform, are there? Are there ways to customize certain metrics that get tracked? Or is it a standardized set of metrics that if you don’t have a module for that we can track it with this?
POLINA PINCHEVSKY UNIT CO 26:05
It depends what you mean by tracking? Is it one person who will be doing the tracking? Or do you want everybody in a company sort of entering some kind of data points? No, it’d
be it would be a some summary that one person would stick into the tool.
Okay, yeah, I think that we actually have a pretty flexible. Russ, do you remember this? I feel like we have a pretty flexible setup, so that you decide how this gets set up? And what you do. I’m gonna double check on that and get back to you, but I am not the technical lead, at least. But I will, I will double check on that and check it. I’m pretty certain you can. It shouldn’t be. Yeah. And I believe there’s a pro bono section in there as well.
Unknown Speaker 26:49
Okay, great. Yeah. I haven’t had a chance to play with it yet. But I think I am so
Unknown Speaker 26:55
cool. Thanks. Yeah. He’s
Question3: Track hours or money 26:57
pulling out what I remember from from having done the beta testing, which it’s a fabulous platform, I think it does allow you to indicate the either the hours or the money. And then Aaron, I think that there is also a space there where you can kind of provide a little bit of narrative context. For the numbers, correct me if I’m wrong on that pulling up, but that’s where you could probably call out that, you know, you were you qualified for the design to give IBM which obviously, is fabulous, because not all businesses do that. So I think it’s been set up in such a way that it does have that flexibility built in. From what I saw as a user as a beta user.
Unknown Speaker 27:38
Yeah. Thank you.
Unknown Speaker 27:41
Thank you much appreciated Carolina.
Yeah, John, I see your hand up. I also saw a lot of active chat happening. Go ahead and ask your question and catch us up on what you’ve been talking about. Well, I only wrote one thing. Can you show us the platform so we can have a sense of what it looks like and what the output is.
POLINA PINCHEVSKY UNIT CO 28:06
Um, I can show you if I can, I can show you the platform right now because it hasn’t actually launched. We are launching it next week. So stay tuned for that. This call this call happened. You know, the timing was a little off. But I wanted to since this is the B Corp community and you guys have heard me talk about it here. There. I didn’t want to wait. The tool is publicly launching next week there, Karolina and Jennifer and several I think, Michelle, there have been several people who’ve been in our beta testing cohort, so they’ve got to play with it and advance. Once it launches next week, there’s a 21 day free trial. So you have 21 days to mess around, play with it, see what you think of it, you know, give us feedback. I mean, we are very open to learning from all of you. And we, you know, we’re figuring it out as we go along. But we kept Ross’s mantra all along was keep it simple. Keep it simple. And I think that’s what that’s been our mantra all along trying to make it accessible to as many companies in a small business space as possible.
Unknown Speaker 29:21
Is that helpful? John? Not immediately, but
POLINA PINCHEVSKY UNIT CO 29:28
yeah, but, you know, if we, I guess I would ask you and that applies to anyone if you drop your name into the into the website. And Erica, can you share the link. And if you click on any of the buttons on the on the side that says Start your free trial, there’s a form to fill out that says you’re interested in being on the early bird list. And all of those folks and all of you, you know, can get a discount and we’ll get an announcement next week. Once the platform launches,