2015 Integrated Annual Report

We are pleased to release our first annual Integrated Annual Report.  So what exactly does this name actually mean?  We were originally going to call it our “Integrated Sustainability Report” – integrated to cover the financial aspects of an annual report and sustainability was to encompass the environmental and social dimensions.  After conversations with our board about the goal of normalizing triple bottom line reporting to put all three elements are on equal footing, it was decided to change the name to emphasize an evolution of the traditional annual report to have a broader meaning.

So why did we do it?  As part of our B Corp Assessment we committed to producing an annual sustainability report that would be reviewed by our board and publically available.  As a small service based company our environmental footprint is negligible, but we thought there were ample opportunities to share the many initiatives Ecotone has undertaken to live up to our mission ”…to enable clients to achieve their sustainability goals by leveraging people, process, and technology.  We strive toward a net zero environmental footprint from our operations and work to make a positive contribution to our communities.”

Some highlights we’d be happy if all organizations large and small were to follow: formalized 1% for the planet donation program, paid our fair share of taxes, used public or active transportation to office and clients, performed pro bono consulting for NFP clients, contributed volunteer roles on solar co-op, and tracked our environmental footprint in energy, water, and waste.

The goals of the report were to present information so it was transparent, comparable, easy to understand and relevant.  In doing so we hope to model good data stewardship to our clients and encourage companies of all sizes to share more information about their efforts to balance their financial, environmental and social impacts.

You can find our report here.


B Corp Certification™ – We Did It!

It was a long journey but we got there.  To paraphrase JFK “We do things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

Thanks to Bob Willard for inspiration and encouragement, Joyce Sou and B Corp staff for ongoing support and advice, and the CSI B Corp Working group, many of whom should be not far behind getting certified themselves!

So why are we so excited about this?  Because  B Corporations are leaders of a global movement of people using business as a force for good™. They meet the highest standards of overall social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability and aspire to use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.  Learn more about B Corporations here.

You can see our profile here: https://www.bcorporation.net/community/ecotone-software-consulting-inc

In order to become certified, your company needs to go through the B Corp Assessment which consists of 172 questions about all aspects of your business including: Governance, Workers, Community, Environment, and Customers.  You score points based on your company’s ability to demonstrate superior performance in these areas.

So what did Ecotone do to achieve Certified B Corporation status.  Well, it took alot of hard work…..

We changed our articles of incorporation to acknowledge all stakeholders have to be considered in business decision making – owners, employees, customers, the community, and the environment.

Formed a gender balanced Board of Directors with 4 independent members representing customers, academia/sustainability professionals, and environmental NGO sectors in addition to the owners.

Switched banking to Alterna Saving Credit Union.

Wrote an Integrated Sustainability Report as a publicly available record of our impacts financially as well as on the environment and our community.

Revamped our time tracking system to track daily hours by client and activity including volunteer and pro bono time.  Also tracking distance and method of transportation daily (public transit, bike, car, walking).

Implemented a Environmental Management system using EnergyStar Portfolio Manager to track our electricity, gas and water usage by month.

Developed polices on:

Charitable Giving Practices including formalizing company’s commitment to following 1% for the Planet for the past 4 years.

Pro Bono/volunteerism during business hours.  Commit to taking on at least one pro bono project per year.

Supplier screening – including emphasis on local and women owned businesses.


Other than that is was easy!  But staff at B Labs were extremely helpful in suggesting ways to add points even after we lost a whole lot because as an owner/operator we are deemed not to have any employees.  Hint to Canadian companies – Canada Pension Plan, health care, and maternity/paternity leave are all areas you can score points on your B Corp Assessment.

I am excited to start meeting my fellow Certified B Corporation owners and staff to learn how we can all “use business as a force for good”.

Andrew Simpson

Principal Consultant

Ecotone Software Consulting Inc.