Balancing Profit and Purpose – feat. Skating Panda

We got to know Andrea Hartley, Founder and CEO of Skating Panda as part of our series ‘Balancing Profit and Purpose’, Skating Panda is a creative social and environmental impact consultancy and fellow B Corp.

The purpose of our series “Balancing Profit and Purpose” is to feature fellow B Corporations, to hopefully inspire many more to join the movement. We showcase those companies that meet rigorously verified standards of social and environmental performance, those that use business as a force for good. As a collective, B Corps are accelerating a global cultural shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

For some background information, who are you as a business and what makes your business offering unique?

Andrea: I’m Andrea Hartley, and I’m the CEO of Skating Panda. We’re a creative social and environmental impact consultancy – which means that we deliver work that has a positive, long term effect on people and the planet; our work drives real impact. Everything we do creates sustainable change, whether that’s in health, education, environment or for women’s rights. We were founded just over a decade ago, at a time when focused social and environmental impact agencies didn’t really exist – it wasn’t really a ‘thing’. Today, in the current climate and growing global crisis, this kind of work is a necessity. So, we like to think that we were somewhat pioneers in this space and therefore unique in terms of our goals and experience.

Over the last decade, we’ve delivered a deep and broad range of work that has contributed to systemic change across gender, health and the planet. Our work has included: bringing Stand Up to Cancer to UK screens for Cancer Research UK; conceiving and launching Sky Ocean Rescue which put single-use plastic on the agenda; rebranding an association of charities to NHS Charities Together, which became the go-to charity and a household name during the Covid 19 pandemic; and introducing menopause to the national and international conversation last year.

We make sure our work aligns to our outcomes of healthier society, fairer society, thriving planet, impactful organisations, and working together.

We use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as a framework for our work  –  that could include a project which helps reduce gender inequality, or helps an organisation embed and communicate a clear and balanced ESG strategy, or improves access to health services or education.

Based on our clients’ needs, we advise which goals must be focused on, and work to understand how the project can contribute to those goals.

Our outcomes are underpinned by our three drivers for systemic change, which are unique to Skating Panda:

Awareness – helping tell better stories to improve knowledge and understanding.
Action – taking practical steps through strategic planning and decision-making.
Acceleration – building unstoppable momentum for tangible and enduring change to the status quo.

These drivers represent the change that we can bring about in the world as a consulting agency.  They work independently and cross-sectionally.

Ultimately, because real impact needs to be driven by organisations across the whole system, we work with partners from all sectors to ensure that change is joined up.

What got you interested in joining the B Corp movement and what does being a B Corp mean to you?

Andrea: It means a lot, and we were pleased to get our certification! We were interested because we already followed a specific approach to measurement taking into account impact, culture and revenue – a one size fits all approach wouldn’t really work for us. So, it seemed like the natural step to have that made more official in terms of being a B Corp, and to know we are amongst the company of like-minded brands, companies and agencies; that we can develop a network of local, regional and global communities for change.

In your case, what does it mean for your workers, customers, community and environmental considerations?

Andrea: We believe that it’s not enough to try to generate impactful change – we also need to ensure we practise what we preach and we believe that there are always greater ways to improve.

Even before we became B-Corp, real impact was always something at the heart of everything we do at Skating Panda – we have long challenged our clients – and ourselves – to go beyond the outputs of our work (the numbers and deliverables) and think about the outcomes (the changes our work brings about).

Otherwise, how can we help, for example, clients who are confused about their ESG strategy – whether they should comply at a minimum level, who they involve in the decision making, who leads it, who communicates it, how to go further? Or how we can foster an inclusive, thriving culture for the people we employ? Our workplace policies and benefits reflect our commitment to making change – with a consultative approach, on the topics which matter most – whether that’s menopause, mental health, grief, fertility and ongoing hybrid working policies. We pride ourselves on our workplace culture, and continue to review and evolve our practices in line with our values to meet new needs and pave the way towards more progressive policies where we can lead by example.

Ultimately, we want to work with like-minded organisations and individuals to create the impact we want to see for our planet, society and people.  Together we can do that better and faster.

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