PLEASANTON — A newly formed organization aims to help businesses find paths to sustainability.
Sensiba San Filippo LLP (SSF), a leading Northern California-based accounting and business consulting firm, launched the Sensiba Center for Sustainability in August this year. The center helps guide businesses through the complex process of obtaining B Corp certification — issued by the nonprofit organization B Lab, which aims to transform the global economy to benefit people, communities and the planet.
B Corp certification requirements differ based on size and structure of a company. Small and large companies can expect an assessment of their areas of impact on the following: community, environment, customers, governance and workers.
In other words, SSF Managing Partner John Sensiba explained that “sustainability” means putting people and the planet ahead of profit.
On their path to achieving sustainability, businesses take a look at their environmental impact and ways to improve the quality of life at a local level. They work to cultivate a more inclusive work environment, leverage what their company does best for future generations and help customers become more sustainable as well. While the focus for each company differs, the two main areas of focus remain on ethics and integrity.
Sensiba further noted that SSF started its own B Corp certification a few years ago, making it the only B Corp accounting and consulting firm in California and one of just seven such firms in the U.S.
“After Sensiba San Filippo went through the B Corp process ourselves, we quickly began to see the many benefits this shift in our business model had on our employees and company culture, client relationships and communities,” Sensiba said. “We’re excited to work with our existing clients and new companies that are ready to begin or significantly enhance their sustainability programs.”
Through this firsthand experience, Sensiba realized how time-consuming and complex the B Corp certification process could be. But he also called the endeavor enlightening, as he recognized the shift in consciousness is needed.
“Right now, some people might consider (B Corp certification) a nice to have, but in a very short period of time, it’s going to be a have to have,” Sensiba said.
He noted that the future job talent market is focused on sustainability. The fact that SSF is now a B Corp company allowed his team to recruit top students from colleges in ways they weren’t able to before as a smaller CPA firm.
Sensiba said several Tri-Valley companies have signed on for guidance.
“We started the center to be a resource for people,” he said. “Our profession is shifting toward verifying sustainability for companies that have to prove to their stakeholders — whether its shareholders or employers, investors, lenders — that their practices and supply chains are sustainable.”
From businesses just beginning to explore the concept of adopting a formal sustainability program to those that have already decided to undertake B Corp certification or Sustainability Accounting Standards Board compliance reporting, SSF’s expert advisors take a personalized approach intended to turn every client’s vision for a more sustainable company into a reality.
The Sensiba Center for Sustainability offers program and brand voice development, certification and compliance reports, and assessments. Sensiba said that, depending upon the client’s needs, the center can either take the reins and drive the process or assist internal personnel already tasked with spearheading the certification efforts.
“Companies that hope to be thriving 10 years from now have by and large accepted that incorporating sustainability into their business models in a serious and thoughtful way is no longer optional,” Sensiba continued. “However, knowing how to get started – and even where you’d like to end up – is far from obvious.”
For more information on B Labs, visit https://bcorporation.net/about-b-lab. For more information on the Sensiba Center for Sustainability, visit https://ssfllp.com/sensiba-center-for-sustainability.