Interview with Mr Daniel Lindgren, Founder of Rapid Asia. The interview took place in Bangkok in January 2022.
Q: What is a B Corporation?
Certified B Corporation is a relatively new company certification showing that a business meets high-performance standards, accountability, and transparency, especially social and environmental sustainability. To get through the certification process, we had to demonstrate high social and environmental performance, make a legal commitment to changing our corporate governance to be accountable to all stakeholders, and exhibit transparency by allowing information about our performance standards to be publicly available on our profile on the B Lab website.
“Just as our social development clients strive to build a more sustainable world, we thought Rapid Asia could contribute by becoming a sustainable business.”
Q: How did you become certified?
The B Impact Assessment is intentionally rigorous and aspirational. We first embarked on the certification process in 2016 and realized we had to establish more robust internal systems. The first step, the self-assessment, required a long list of policies and practices to be in place. We had a lot of work to do. We were ready to apply five years later and submitted the self-assessment. The evaluation of our submission took several months before we could start the first review process. The initial review was quite laborious, with detailed questions about the answers we provided in the self-assessment and the evidence required. After several rounds, we were admitted to participate in an interview to explain our systems and processes in detail. In the third stage, we were handed off to a new team to undergo a second, more rigorous review of our policies and practices. The analysts assigned to us went deeply into the submission, focusing on the real-world impact of the work we. Finally, an independent audit was carried out, and we had to submit several additional documents for verification.
“The certification was far from a tick-box exercise; the process was meticulous, demanding, and held us to very high standards. But that is good and shows the certification carries credibility.”
Q: What does the certification mean for Rapid Asia?
Rapid Asia was approved in December 2021. Scores range from 0 to 200, with 80 set as a pass. The average score of ordinary businesses is 51 points, and many companies don’t receive the required 80 points their first time around. We were pleased to receive a score of 109, highlighting the robust systems and processes we now have in place and the credible and meaningful impact of the work we do.
The assessment had a lot of emphasis on the impact of our work. We demonstrated impact by drawing on our many published reports and the influence our work has on programming and, thus, on beneficiaries’ lives. Evidence from quality data collection is how we guide thoughtful, effective programming that can address the needs of beneficiaries. Rapid Asia contributes to evidence-based programming across the region through our work, providing the evidence and recommendations needed to bring programs into action. To prove this was happening, we submitted several published reports, as well as letters from our clients detailing how our recommendations had shaped their programming and made a difference to beneficiaries.
“This certification is a testament to the work of our whole team, and we are thrilled to count ourselves among a small but growing, conscientious group of companies laying the groundwork for more sustainable business practices.”
Our belief in transparent governance processes and continually holding ourselves to a higher standard motivated us to become a certified B Corporation. B Corporation status is increasingly sought after as people expect more from companies regarding how they contribute to society while ethically navigating the challenges and complex contexts in which we are working.
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About the authors: Daniel Lindgren is the Founder of Rapid Asia Co., Ltd. a management consultancy firm based in Bangkok that specialises in evaluations for programs, projects, social marketing campaigns and other social development initiatives. Leilana Quinger is an independent consultant working with Rapid Asia as a member of their expert panel of consultants.