B Corps are companies that use business as a force for good. The “B” stands for benefit, and refers to benefiting workers, benefiting the community and benefiting the environment. It is truly a revolution, driven by the nonprofit organisation B Lab, who are reminding us what companies can really do.
Although the word “company” today may make you think of balance sheets and revenue, it actually originates from the French word compagnie: ”a society, friendship, intimacy; body of soldiers”.
If we look further back, we find the Latin phrase companio: “he who eats bread with you”.
Companies were originally about people and sharing, which is exactly what Yoti has been about from day one.
The backstory: day one at Yoti
Before we even had a name, we understood the complex ethical questions we would likely come up against. We knew that if we were going to ask people to trust us with their most personal information, we would need to set up an ethical framework to guide us and help us answer these questions.
We came up with our seven founding principles which continue to feed into everything we do.
We knew we’d also need an independent board of trustees who could hold us to these principles and advise us with expertise from relevant fields, such as human rights, data privacy and last-mile tech.
And so was born the Guardian Council.
While we were setting up our foundations in the summer of 2014 and had finally settled on a name – Your Own Trusted Identity (Yoti) – B Corps had just crossed the pond from the US and launched in the UK. Their mission and framework really resonated with the kind of company we were striving to build. We were awarded our B certification in July 2015 and became one of the first founding UK B Corps.
And we have been driving good ever since.
To qualify as a B Corp, a company must have an explicit social or environmental mission. A certified B Corp is legally required to take into account the interests of workers, the community and the environment, as well as its shareholders, in all decisions
Yoti’s mission is to give people a safer way of proving who they are in the physical and online world. Our free consumer app and platform for business is designed to protect society from fraud – and help people know who they are dealing with, using less data.
A company must amend its articles of incorporation to adopt B Lab’s commitment to sustainability and treating workers well, as well as meeting B Lab’s comprehensive social and environmental performance standards.
The key areas assessed are:
We have a strong ethical framework that is built on our seven ethical principles. Alongside the Guardian Council, we have an Internal Ethics and Trust Committee that oversees the development and implementation of our ethical approaches and ensure we develop in the right way.
We have made public pledges to the Safe Face Pledge, Biometrics Institute: 7 ethical principles, 5Rights framework, the Articl8 member code of conduct and the Fair Tax Mark.
The Yoti app was built to give individuals a simple and secure way of proving and protecting their identity, online and offline. It is free, and will always be free, for the user.
The app lets you share details with people you don’t know but may be interacting with online, for example on dating sites or classifieds. It also has a password manager to help you keep your passwords safe and age estimation technology that allows individuals to prove their age without needing to add an ID document to the app.
We have also teamed up with CitizenCard to give young people access to a low-cost identity document to prove their age, which has taken the price from £17 to £9.
We’re fully committed to supporting Sustainable Development Goal 16:9 – to provide a legal identity for all – especially to the 1.5 billion people who have no way of proving who they are.
Following an extensive period of research and evaluation of social sector needs in the UK, Africa and South East Asia, in early 2019 we launched a brand new Social Purpose Strategy. The key pillars are Digital Identity Toolkit, a Digital Identity Fellowship Programme and our offline ID solution, Yoti Keys.
Yoti has also donated £17,200 to charity in 2018/19 and commits 1 percent of revenue and 2.5 percent of profit to the Yoti Foundation.
We have a brilliant team of over 270 people who we endeavour to support in many different ways.
To build a culture of self-development, we give every UK employee a LinkedIn Learning license and an annual budget of £750 for training. Everyone at Yoti also gets five ‘selfie’ days a year to focus on volunteering or personal development opportunities.
We offer a multitude of free activities such as yoga, boxing, meditation, anime, running, among many, to help them achieve the life side of things.
Through the use of digital ID, we’re striving to combat the huge number of lost physical ID documents – just under 40,000 out of 50 million in the UK are reported lost or stolen each year.
Our electronic signature platform helps companies save on printing thousands of pages by enabling them to sign documents digitally.
We also have a dedicated Green Team of volunteers who are responsible for managing, implementing and promoting our environmental principles and mission.
The B Corps report in all its glory
For ALL the ways we are striving to drive good, please have a look at our B Corps 2019 report in all its detail and colour.
You can find our official B Impact report here.