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Behind the B: celebrating B Corp month

In honor of B Lab’s B Corp month we’re inviting you Behind the B (and, er, the We) to find out what keeps us motivated to be a better, more sustainable business - spoiler alert, it’s you.

Gordon WilloughbyFormer CEO at WeTransferMarch 16, 2022

When we talk about being founded for creatives by creatives, we mean WeTransfer was built by a couple of guys facing an industry-wide struggle: getting large design files from A to B without the hassle of downloading to a USB stick and paying a courier to take it to the client (yes really that is how it was) or signing up for a complex web service. 

Twelve years on, and we still try to make sure everything we do is to make your life easier and support creative communities that rely on our tools - whether that’s donating 30% of our advertising space to artists we admire and causes we care about, or providing free subscriptions and education to those who need it most. So as we celebrated our 10th anniversary nothing was more logical than embedding our desire to be a net positive business  and becoming a B Corp.

We’re now in our second year of being a B Corp (a status that’s only been achieved by a few global tech firms), and in honor of this year’s B Corp month, our friends at B Lab have invited us to take part in their Behind the B campaign. Through this series, B Lab wants the B Corp community to lift the curtain on all things responsibility, and reveal how they are using business to make a positive impact. So, we want to share some of the things we’ve been able to achieve over the past couple of years, things that never would have been possible without your support.

A is for action

For a long time, we’ve used our global platform to raise awareness for important issues, whether that’s gun reform, mental health, or net neutrality. But since becoming a B Corp we realized that awareness, while important, isn’t enough and that transparency is key. So, we decided to double down on our efforts, turning awareness into action and, in turn, having a lasting impact. 

This isn’t limited to purpose-led initiatives like planting trees and restoring kelp forests (although we’ve done a whole bunch of that), but also being particular about the types of organizations we partner with and what they stand for.

In 2021 our digital arts platform WePresent collaborated with Serpentine Galleries to produce Groundwork. The series explores art's place in the conversation surrounding the climate crisis, highlighting the extensive research behind five artists’ proposals for Serpentine’s multi-year project, Back To Earth. Featuring artists like Vivienne Westwood and Himali Singh Soin, the project gave us the opportunity to back two causes we’re incredibly passionate about - climate change and creativity.

B is for better business

The term “responsible business” is used a lot. But, as a business, who are we actually being responsible to? Companies that are B Corp certified commit themselves to being responsible towards their workers, customers, communities, and the planet. And, in order to fulfill that promise, we’ve been learning more about our impact as a company so we can ensure WeTransfer is contributing to a better internet, and a better future, for everyone. 

For our first Materiality Report, we engaged with six key groups of stakeholders to identify a series of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues we need to prioritize as a business. The results range from climate and energy, and diversity to responsible advertising, and you can learn more about our process (if you’re into that kind of thing) right here.

C is for climate justice

Without a planet, there is no business. That’s why we’ve started measuring our success as a company not only by our profits, but by our impact on the environment. In 2021 we were proud to achieve our official Climate Neutral Certification, meaning we remove as much carbon from the atmosphere as we put into it. 

Becoming climate neutral is the first step on our B Corp journey to becoming a climate-positive business-where we actively remove carbon from the atmosphere-and our next goal is to reduce our carbon footprint by 30% by 2025. We’ve already switched to renewable energy sources to power some of our offices, slashed our business travel and commute dependency, and we’re looking into sustainable ways to reuse, repair, or recycle our electronics. We want to keep striving for higher standards.

D is for diversity

WePresent was founded as a platform that champions creative inclusivity and representation, spotlighting creativity in its many (many) forms in every corner of the globe. Advocating for marginalized artists and communities, WePresent offers a much-needed space in the digital publishing sphere where readers can discover stories and artworks they wouldn’t necessarily come across elsewhere.

And while this has always been true, we recently decided to document our pledge to diversity and inclusion in our Ethical Storytelling Guidelines. This includes practices like bringing artists from every continent to our monthly curation meetings and challenging the editorial team to find emerging artists from non-Western countries that we have not yet featured. As well as, ensuring a 50/50 gender split and fixed fees for the artists we feature and the writers we commission. You can read more on how we are supporting the creative community via our Editorial platform WePresent here.

Just the beginning

We’ve made a lot of big changes during our first two years as a B Corp, and although we’re proud of the progress we’re making, we realize that as a business we will never be perfect so we're committed to continuous improvement.

At WeTransfer we like to conduct business using the model of people first, creativity second, and technology third. Yes, digital technology can boost creativity, build meaningful relationships, and raise awareness for society’s biggest challenges. But without humanity at its core, it can also isolate, divide, and separate us from the world. So more than ever, we—and other businesses like us—need to create technology responsibly, with human beings and the planet in mind.

As we look forward to our future, we firmly believe that where creativity, technology, and empathy meet, we can solve the planet’s biggest challenges.

So, to answer B Lab’s question, what is behind our B? Our focus is to contribute to society, to do business responsibly, and in turn, to create positive change. But it’s what’s behind our 'We' that keeps us going—and that’s you.

Like this? Read this post about Storytelling with WePresent as part of B Corp Month 

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