Better Business – feat. Sawday’s and Canopy and Stars
The theme of B Corp Month 2021 (March) was “Better Business”. Being a ‘better business’ means prioritising constant improvement to continuously exceed the expectations, demands and needs of society and the planet.
B Corps are examples of ‘better businesses’, proven by their verified B Corp score and their commitment to placing stakeholders at the centre of their decisions.
Throughout March, we collaborated with some fellow local B Corps. Each week we focused on and featured a specific area within the B Corp Assessment sections to celebrate and champion what it is that makes some of the local B Corporations a “B Corp”, to hopefully inspire many more to join the movement.
Here, Mike Bevens, Managing Director at Sawday’s and Canopy & Stars shares their take.
ADLIB: For some background information, who are you as a business and what makes your business offering unique?
Mike Bevens: As a company, we have spent over 25 years finding, visiting and choosing brilliant places to stay across the UK and Europe. Our collection is a shortcut past the bland and impersonal, to places crafted by people with a passion for hospitality. Every single B&B, hotel, inn and self-catering place on Sawday’s is visited by one of our team to make sure it’s truly special. Also part of the Sawday’s family is Canopy & Stars, who inspect and select the most inspiring places to stay in the great outdoors, for those in search of a life more wild. We believe in connecting people with nature because of the joy benefits and importance it brings, our collection of over 850 places includes everything from a human-sized beehive, to floating cabins, treehouses and isolated bothies.
Our mission is to ‘Bring together people and places of spirit and character for meaningful experiences and to have a positive social, cultural and environmental impact’.
ADLIB: What got you interested in joining the B Corp movement and what does being a B Corp mean to you?
Mike Bevens: We were founded on strong principles about the way travel should be, how people ought to be treated and the role businesses can play in their communities. We are majority employee-owned and part-owned by a charitable trust that donates to projects and organisations dedicated to improving the relationship between travel and the environment. We are committed to doing business fairly: paying fair wages, promoting equality and diversity, and paying our taxes.
Becoming a B Corp means we are recognised and committed publicly to the principles we hold as a company and part of a likeminded community, striving to demonstrate how Better Business can and should be the norm.
We are proud to be the first accommodation platform in the UK to achieve B Corp certification.
ADLIB: Can you share a little bit about your B Corp story, what the process was like for you?
Mike Bevens: We embarked on the process in 2018, around the time I joined the company as Managing Director. Our first big step towards becoming B Corp was to first become majority Employee-Owned and to create our unique structure as an employee and charity-owned company. Sawday’s has always had strong beliefs about the way business should be done, in the most ethical and sustainable way possible, so the foundations were there, it was about taking a look at what we do in each of the key areas of workers, customers, environment and governance and demonstrating where we met the criteria and where we needed to work harder to become a better business. We achieved B Corp status in late 2019, but it is a journey not a destination, and we are constantly revaluating and working on areas we can improve. We have outlined our 2021 goals in our Impact Report.
ADLIB: Talking specifically about WORKERS – What does it mean to you to “be a better employer”?
Mike Bevens: In a year that has been like no other, being a better employer has been more important than ever. As a majority employee-owned company, this has meant being completely transparent and engaging with co-owners on all decisions, supporting those struggling with resources and time, being flexible and available, recognise the importance of mental, as well as physical health. Being a Better Employer, ultimately, means behaving like a human business, putting people before profits. The benefits are evident, we have an amazing and loyal team who have really pulled together building resilience and ensuring we come out of these turbulent times as strong as ever.
This article is part of the “Better Business” series during B Corp Month, a collaboration of the Bristol & Bath B Local Group. More info about #BristolBathBCorps here: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/9002180/ and more info about B Corp here: https://bcorporation.net/.