We are ridiculously happy to announce that our business is now a certified B Corporation.
What is B Corp?
B Corp is an international movement that encourages companies to use business as a force for good and contribute to building a fairer and more inclusive economy. At its core, it’s all about moving away from profit as the main yardstick for business success and moving towards a more sustainable business model. A business model that gives equal importance to how we make our money, how we look after our people and how we look after our planet.
Why did we decide to become a B Corporation?
AJT has always been an ethical translation company, however, in 2020, we decided to embark on the journey to gain B Corp certification, an acknowledged global accreditation that would provide proof of our social and environmental credentials to our customers, our team and the wider translation community.
In short, we wanted to focus on making AJT the best it could be. We wanted to be known as an ethical translation company that cared about its social and environmental performance, and to improve and contribute to an inclusive, equitable and regenerative economy.
Forging our own way in a fragmented industry
Translation service provision is a consistently competitive marketplace and has always been price sensitive. The whole industry is constantly under pressure to lower rates, a trend that’s been further accelerated with the advancement of machine translation and AI. What’s not always clear to translation buyers is what happens behind the scenes of translation companies.
The commoditisation of translation services and the race to the bottom in pricing puts huge pressure on professional linguists to work for lower rates and increase their workloads to make up the shortfall. This can have a devastating effect on earnings, as well as on work-life balance and mental health. And it ultimately also affects translation quality, which should be a real concern to translation buyers.
We decided that we were not going to participate in or contribute to this unsustainable, unfair economy, and instead position ourselves as regional specialists, providing gold standard, human translation, paying fair prices and retaining a happy, healthy team of linguists who were proud to work for AJT.
We saw a growing number of companies that we admired celebrate achieving B Corp status and realised that this was a community we wanted to work in and work with and made it a strategic priority for 2021. We decided to improve our business in every way possible in an attempt to gain B Corp certification, make AJT a force for good and to compete with other translation companies on the attributes the businesses we wanted to work with would appreciate and value.
“There is no Code of Ethics or Code of Conduct for the translation industry. We have a lot of good players in our industry, but also a fair few bad ones who are engaging in unfair and unsustainable practices. Working towards an external accreditation like B Corp is our way of proving our ethical credentials to both our clients and our
community of linguists.”
– Anja Jones, Managing Director, AJT
How and what we improved
As an owner-managed business, profit has never been our only driving force. Working through the B Corp Business Impact Assessment has helped us to formulate very clearly who we are as a company, what we stand for and what is important to us – not just as a business, but as a group of individuals.
We began by assessing and improving our policies and processes, beginning with updating our Mission Statement, Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct, to align them with our values.
We then looked at what we already offered our team members but could improve on, and were able to immediately increase pay, sick leave and maternity and paternity pay and leave.
“I am a professional translator, but I also truly care about the world. In AJT, I have not only found a company that shares my beliefs but encourages me to be the best version of myself every day – whether it’s about looking after the environment or the way we treat others. AJT is transparent, fair and genuinely values its employees. I couldn’t be prouder to be part of such a great team and work for a B Corporation.”
– Bettina Ransley, Junior Translator, AJT
We also introduced incentives and rewards to enhance our employee satisfaction and contribute to their financial goals. These included a profit share scheme, financial services and additional leave options.
As a fully remote business, we don’t have a significant negative impact on the environment and communities we work in, however there were still areas in which we could improve. So we introduced a social and environmental policy and KPIs, a local purchasing policy, an environmentally responsible preferred suppliers list and an inclusivity and diversity policy.
What’s next on our journey
The journey to B Corp certification has been a truly humbling and uplifting experience and we’re incredibly proud to now officially be a B Corporation.
We now know our business better than ever and we know that it is a better business than when we started. We also know that our team members know us better too, what our values are and where our priorities lie, now and in the future, and we are confident that this has significantly improved employee satisfaction.
But all of this is just the beginning. We want to further improve our company. We want to drive positive change in the translation industry. And of course, we want to work with and help ethical and sustainable businesses enter and thrive in the European marketplace, all while upholding high standards of social and environmental performance. Being certified as a B Corporation will give us the credibility and the opportunities to achieve these goals.