[Press Release] PFC now B Corp Certified
People Focus Consulting (Headquartered in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; President, Takuo Matsumura; hereinafter "PFC") announced on February 6, 2023 that it has become a B Corp certified company.
B Corp is an international certification system operated by B Lab (Pennsylvania, USA), a non-profit organization, and is a prestigious certification given to "companies that meet high standard of social and environmental impact”. The certification process is stringent, and although there are only 5,925 companies worldwide and, starting with Danone, only 19 certified companies in Japan (as of January 18, 2023), certification is beginning to attract attention among companies aiming for sustainable management.
For certification, PFC is required to practice management that emphasizes the benefits not only to shareholders, but also to all stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, local communities, and the global environment.
PFC formed an internal task force team, and all employees worked together over the past two years in order to become certified. PFC hopes to help many Japanese companies practice sustainable management and develop human resources to solve social issues through training and consulting, which is PFC's main business.
Founder's desire for business and social contribution to coexist
Yukiko Kuroda, the founder of PFC, learned about the Body Shop company when she was in England about 30 years ago, and was struck by the fact that business and social contribution can coexist as two wheels rather than being in opposition to each other and wrote "Management of Courage" (1992, Japan Management Association). Since PFC was founded in 1994, it has sought ways to contribute to society as a human resource development company by establishing a policy of "dedicating 1% of sales to social contribution" and developing and providing CSV (Creating Shared Value: businesses that combine social and economic value) leader development programs.
Objective verification of how your company should be
In recent years, concepts such as SDGs, ESG investment, sustainable management, and stakeholder capitalism have widely penetrated the business world, and many companies have begun to advocate social contribution, but they are also facing suspicion that they are "just putting up a sign" or "pretending” to do so.
PFC wondered, "Are our practices up to global standards?” so PFC decided to pursue B Corp certification in order to objectively examine its own operations and make improvements in areas where it fell short.
Approximately 30 improvement items identified
In January 2021, the founder Yukiko Kuroda proposed the idea of seeking B Corp certification internally, and about 40% of the employees voluntarily participated in the task force for the certification. In Phase 1, which took approximately two months, the task force deepened its understanding of the B Corp certification system and each standard, and identified items that PFC needed to improve or address. As a result, about 30 improvement and new items to be covered were identified, and all employees participated in Phase 2, which was aimed at certification. It is a matter of pride that the company was able to become a certified company through the efforts of all employees. After six months of improvement activities, the company applied for the certification in 2021 as scheduled.
Rigorously screened by experts
The audit finally began in September 2022. During the audit process, various questions were asked and additional materials were requested, and based on these, analysts from the certification body made a judgment as to whether each item truly met the criteria. In the case of PFC, the score was 85 in the self-assessment, but the final score was 83.7, meaning that the final points deduction was small.
Future as a B Corp Company
Matsumura commented, "We now have more confidence and certainty than ever in our ability to support our clients in creating a better society," and "Reviewing our current situation in order to apply for B Corp certification has allowed us to evolve significantly as a company.” Looking to the future, he continued, "We will continue to upgrade ourselves and strive to live up to the B Corp philosophy of ‘Make Business a Force for Good’.”