B Corp certification for 'force for good' Phastar after rigid and successful 12-month review

By Liza Laws

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

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Phastar, a biometrics contract research organization (CRO) can now officially call its business ‘a force for good’ after it received B Corp certification.

The company has been through a rigid 12-month review making sure all procedures and protocols reflect its commitment to high environment, social and governance (EGS) standards.

B Corps or ‘certified B corporations’ are for-profit companies that meet the highest of standards for of verified social and environmental performance, transparency, and legal accountability.

The assessment body, B Lab Global, reviewed Phastar’s impact across the necessary five key areas which are governance, workers, environment, community, and customers. There is a minimum threshold of 80 points, but Phastar achieved above that with 91.4.

Andrew MacGarvey, Phastar CEO, said: “Becoming a Certified B Corporation is a testament to our high standards and commitment to social and environmental performance, sustainability, transparency, and accountability. It is confirmation of our declaration to use our business as a ‘force for good’ by creating substantial value for our internal workforce, in addition to the wider community and society at large.​”

B Lab Global review

When reviewed by B Lab Global, it found within environment that the actions the company are putting in place to track and reduce their environmental footprint. These included a review of procedures that require downstream suppliers and facility leaseholders to demonstrate a commitment to environmentally sustainable practices; tracking of, and a commitment to reduce, Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions; introducing comprehensive recycling programs in all of their office locations; supporting sustainable transport to work schemes; donating old laptops to charities as well as tree planting schemes in Kenya and Scotland.

Within the social category, reviewers were impressed by several measures the company was using to bolster their relationships internally and externally and also with the wider community. The company’s examples included its pro bono scheme to provide many charities including Great Ormond Street Hospital, Prostate Cancer Research and Education for Health. The scheme provides free access to the company’s biometrics experts, fostering charity partnerships, and installing beehives at their Glasgow offices.

They have put actions in place to monitor their workforce diversity metrics in addition to implementing inclusive recruitment practices via their job listing and selection processes. They are advocates of purchasing from suppliers with diverse ownership and local suppliers, with policies in place to uphold this commitment.

Within the governance sections, Phastar was found to be upholding the highest standards of ethics and integrity in its business to ensure fairness, transparency and accountability both internally and externally.

It has updated its code of ethics and anti-corruption practices to reinforce this pledge in addition to setting new ESG KPIs during the review process. Management are also working on several policies and procedures to ensure that they reflect the needs of their employees. Some examples of this include widening their flexible working provisions, conducting a review of their family leave policies, pledging their commitment to pay the living wage to all their FTEs, providing everyone with a cost-of-living bonus, in addition to widening the scope for colleague recognition.

Health and well-being 

The company says a common thread running through all of Phastar’s ESG initiatives is ‘the commitment to remain employee centric and cultivate a supportive work environment’. As part of the company’s employee value proposition, it strives to provide a high standard of health and well-being support, through a range of ongoing initiatives.

These include regular wellbeing ‘check ins’ via a confidential platform to ensure colleagues can access the right support at the right time, the provision of trained mental health first aiders, trained menopause champions, and twice-weekly company yoga classes.

Phastar also runs in-house health and wellbeing awareness campaigns, which includes facilitated workshop sessions, a monthly podcast series, and other educational resources. Recent topics have included awareness around menopause, men’s health, women’s health, and stress management.

MacGarvey added: “One of our strategic objectives is to lead the CRO industry in corporate social responsibility, and being B Corp certified is a great first step to building on this commitment including signing up to the Net Zero pledge in the coming 12 months, in addition to conducting our first social impact assessment. The certification creates a high threshold for us to uphold at all times with a rigorous new assessment taking place every three years. As a result, we will continuously work on our strategic plans and monitor the results to steer our future business trajectory, identify areas for improvement, and continue to make substantial impact, both internally and externally.”

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