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UNIBA's Blog: Lareau's route to B Corp Certification

19 April 2024

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Welcome to UNIBA’s Blog – your window into the world of insurance. In this edition, Michael Di Marco, Associate and Principal Director, and Catherine Alain, Administrative and Marketing Director, talk about Lareau’s journey to become B Corp certified, one of the topics of our upcoming Americas Regional Conference in Miami (28-30 April).

B Corp Certification shows that a business is meeting high standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. Lareau obtained their B Corp certification in November 2023.  Michael and Catherine discuss Lareau’s motivations, the B Corp process, and the effect it’s had so far.

What motivated Lareau to seek B Corp certification?

Michael: It all started with the vision of our CEO, Philippe Lareau. He has a very specific view on what a company can and should be; more than just earning a few quick bucks and giving back to society. And that’s where B Corp came in. Its vision is very much mixing the profitable aspects of a commercial company with the not-for-profit aspirations of doing something for society, bringing about change and helping social causes.  What we're doing is positive for our employees, for our clients, for the environment, and for society around us. This in turn helps to attract clients, talents and suppliers with a similar vision.   

Catherine: B Corp is a certification that is very strict with its policies and the actions that you have to implement within your company. It forces us to take things further, not just have a vision, but put concrete plans into actions.

How does the certification work?

Michael: It starts with the five areas you need to make improvements to. Let’s break them down:

  • Environment: This one is quite straight forward and looks at actions like recycling, composting, but also revising how a company consumes (that is, reducing consumption, favouring environmentally beneficial materials, and sourcing from local suppliers). For example, we have a beehive  located outside our head office and we have planted over 1000 trees. 
  • Community:  This one looks into what the company does in its immediate surrounding to help out local people and society. For example, getting involved in various local associations and events to support the local economy, or partnering with non-profit organizations to give back to social, environmental, health, or cultural vitality causes.
  • Governance: This is about reevaluating your business model and governance structure to create an impact-driven model that considers social and environmental responsibilities, as well as transparency and ethics in decision-making. Our mission, vision, and values align with these principles to mobilize the entire team around these commitments.
  • Customers: It is important for us to provide access to insurance for everyone in order to help companies and individuals protect themselves from risks, regardless of their situation. Also, we ensure our customers, for example event planners, catering etc, are companies from down the road. This ties into the ‘social’ category as well of course, making sure companies in our immediate surrounding work out  and thereby encourage the local economy by prioritizing independent businesses and promoting diversity.
  • Employee: This category relates to employee commitment, well-being and safety. For example, we have a Diversity, Inclusiveness and Equity Committee with a concrete action plan.

Catherine: The whole certification process can take around nine months up to two years. What’s key is that you cannot transfer ‘points’ into other categories. All five categories need a minimum score and you need to be able to show proof and documentation for all of them.  The total minimum required score to obtain the certification is 80.

What advice can you give others considering B Corp certification?

Catherine: You can compare it to a marathon; if you don't know how to run first, you’re unlikely to go straight for a marathon. Concretely, I’d put it down to three things.

First, if you are just in the idea/envisioning stage, it’s better to hold off. Translate those ideas into action before going into the process. Secondly, document everything.  It’s not enough to show a certain action undertaken two years ago. You need to be able to show what happened straight after, what’s happening right now and what the future plans are. And the third thing, relating to point two, you need to be in a continuous state of improvement. The certification keeps asking for new improvements, so if you plan to stop right here, then don’t go for the certification just yet.

What kind of reactions do you see with your clients or other partners?

Catherine: Everything is still fresh, but we did notice changes after the announcement. First, regarding the employees, it helps them to better understand the values and visions and where Lareau wants to go. Especially in a traditional sector like insurance, it gives you an innovative edge. We are in insurance to make a profit, but also to have a positive impact on the sector, the planet and society as a whole.

As for clients and suppliers, the B Corp ‘stamp’ will shed a positive light on us. They will see we’re not just making money, but also having a positive impact, which is something that many companies and clients would like to be associated with. In short, everyone at Lareau is curious how this is going to develop these upcoming months and years!

For more information on Lareau's B Corp Certification, please click here. 


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