CircleIT’s theory of change is grounded in doing more good, and nothing embodies this commitment more than CircleIT’s B Corporation certification. B Corps are known for their commitment to the “highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.” They are assessed annually to ensure their integrity and are encouraged engrain their social stewardship into their broader industry.
I sat down with CircleIT President and Co-Founder, Will Cohen to discuss what being a B Corp means to CircleIT, and how the company plans on leveraging the certification to advance CircleIT’s goals.
What is CircleIT’s responsibility to push its clients and product partners to incorporate B Corp values into their own operations? Will CircleIT say no to clients who don’t uphold these values or potentially harm CircleIT’s brand?
We strongly believe that we all have a role to play in creating a more sustainable future. B Corp is all about integrity, transparency, and quite simply doing the right thing. We certainly encourage and educate our clients on the need to do more with the existing ITAD infrastructures. As the business closest to the handling and processing of e-waste, we see product every day that deserves a chance to be reused vs. recycled. As the largest B Corp in the industry, we view it as our responsibility to continue to push the envelope and encourage clients to align People, Planet, and Profit as core tenants of an ITAD program.
How does CIrcleIT fit into the B Economy? And how did becoming a B Corp and upholding the values of a B Economy shape your vision for CircleIT?
B Economies balance Purpose and Profit. CircleIT aims to keep devices in use, through our own repairs/refurbishment but also through our ecosystem of product reuse partnerships. If we cant reuse the device, we have a group of other companies who reuse devices and parts as a part of their business operations. We also have donation programs for devices, putting electronics in people’s hands vs. landfills. In addition, CircleIT aligns its clients to Purpose. Our ESG Program allows clients to claim ESG impact through this ecosystem of strategic device placement, ensuring devices are kept out of irresponsible recycling streams and in the hands of people and businesses.
B Corp companies are known for working closely with community stakeholders. Who does CircleIT see as its community stakeholders? And how does CircleIT plan on being a partner to them in accomplishing their goals?
CircleIT sees our employees, our clients and the general population as main community stakeholders. As an ESG-centric ITAD, we aim to not only provide secure logistics and certified data erasure on all devices, but what further differentiates us is what we do with devices after erasure, especially devices that aren’t already in pristine condition. Our ESG programs are tailored to our clients’ goals, whether that be working with a University to recirculate devices back into the community that University is located in. Or partnering with local clients and businesses to provide free electronics recycling events to the public, hosted at our facility in OKC. Or delivering carbon neutral services for clients with goals to reduce CO2 emissions through logistics.
What are the potential limitations and challenges of being a B Corp and with the certification as a whole?
Potential challenges of being a B Corp is that our commitments and goals are so transparent to the world, that companies who do not see the world in the way we do will be more reluctant to engage in
business with us. We got our B Corp certification in 2018, when there was closer to 2,000 B Corps worldwide. I believe that B Corp needs some large public companies to jump on board, but a requirement of B Corp is to legally change the companies by-laws, and large public companies may have a more difficult time doing this.
There are 3,928 B Corps. How does CircleIT stand out?
CircleIT is one of 3 B Corps in the state of Oklahoma. CircleIT is also the largest B Corp in the ITAD industry, and there are only a small handful all together. Our uniqueness with B Corp is that our industry is directly related to the challenges we are facing in the environment AND the digital divide. We are taking that step to tie corporate responsibility to the largest and most important world needs (environmental crisis and bridging the digital divide).