Descendants: Can this advisory company pave the way for a more sustainable industry?

The old motto is to practice what you preach. But how many eco-friendly financial services companies offer “green” funds and investment products?

In recent years, environment, society, corporate governance and sustainability have become buzzwords in the financial services industry.

However, it is difficult to distinguish between a company with a true commitment and a company that simply does greenwashing.

Advice company Progeny claims to be in a previous camp and is in the process of being certified as a BCorp. This is a tag that proves eco-credentials in five different areas.

The pandemic delayed the hope of descendants to become a BCorp

After a sustainability pandemic and rising buzz in the wealth management industry, CEO Neil Malls asks how the industry will tackle sustainability and how BCorp will be the driving force behind it. I have some ideas about what to do.

He says this is money.

Here as part of our new B Corp Beat series -Spotlight on “green” UK companies-more …

Wealth Manager is BCorp.

More and more companies are looking to become B Corps, but few Wealth Managers are certified.

The vast majority of companies in the BCorp Beat series to date offer physical products, whether eco-diapers or sustainable garments, and this process is not optimal for measuring the impact of service providers. Suggests.

Leeds-based descendants want to be on the list of “environmentally friendly” listed companies. It was in the midst of some acquisitions during the pandemic.

In February, the advisory firm enacted the Watsons Act two months later, before purchasing the financial advisory firm Affinity.

CEO of Descendants Neil Malls

CEO of Descendants Neil Malls

We are currently focusing on strengthening our sustainability qualifications. The website is already proud of its commitment to charities and communities and is the signatory of the Ministry of Finance’s Women’s Finance Charter.

So is B Corp another company to add to the ever-growing list? Is there a risk that the certification will be too weak?

“We don’t have to be judged by the kitemarks and certifications we have. We did it for the right reason,” Neil resolutely says.

“Because you want it, if you apply and operate your business and standards to that level, BCorp is a good natural thing to do.”

“I think many questions are better suited to the people who manufacture or produce the product because the potential impact on the environment is broader. I think we can fine-tune it,” says Neil.

“Our community is probably the starting point because we understand the impact on the planet, but it’s different … we don’t waste going anywhere and buy a lot of different products. No. Replay is bringing people from one place to another.

“And what we need to measure from what we are doing is its impact on the environment and society.”

The industry is paying for sustainability lip service

Is this why so few Wealth Managers have achieved BCorp status?

Neil is uncertain and believes that it reflects the industry, not the Benefit process.

“We need to look at the wealth management industry to see how many people really want to run their business well to BCorp standards,” says Neil.

If you want to talk to your clients about ESG and sustainability, and if you live and don’t breathe on your own, how can you recommend it?

“Maybe it’s an accepted norm, and people start to follow.

“I haven’t got this profession yet, but take a look at this space.

“It happens, and as more and more of us do it, the rest have to obey. It’s so sad … it should be something you don’t want to be forced into.”

Today, the terms ESG and sustainability are widespread throughout the industry.

Sustainable funding is all the rage, but critics, including Neil, have labeled it a lip service.

“Most of the time, not enough people are doing it properly … If you want to talk to clients about ESG and sustainability, how can we recommend it if we are not alive and breathing? ??

“I think clients are starting to rebound and often say they don’t actually have these certifications. Show your credentials in the ESG space.”

What is B Corp?

With our new B Corp Beat series, We are interviewing UK companies that meet these stringent standards.

They are described as companies that are said to meet “the highest standards of validated social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance interests and objectives.” ..

On one of the websites, it says: ‘BCorp certification does more than just evaluate products and services. It assesses the overall positive impact of the company behind it. And more and more that is what people care most about. “

Founded in 2006, B Corp scores companies for verification.

These five areas are governance, workers, communities, environment, and customers.

“Ultimately, I think it’s the clients and consumers that drive the industry.”

Neil looks back on his descendants’ decision to become a B Corp and emphasizes the company’s dedication to the project.

“We are passionate about sustainability. We are passionate about creating an environment that is trying to do its best not only for the planet, but for people,” says Neil. ..

This sounds similar to Neil’s criticism of other Wealth Manager’s mission statements on sustainability, which has been rounded in recent years.

He categorically argues that offspring’s commitment to sustainability is not a practice of public relations.

In parallel with the carbon-neutral project, Progeny has promised to become a BCorp in November 2019.

Although not yet officially certified after a single pandemic, this process offers some valuable lessons.

“You can’t control what you can’t do. Even the cleaning products used by cleaning companies have been difficult to start considering suppliers,” says Neil.

“We needed to look at different parts of our business in different ways, and we needed to look at the parts that we might not have been able to control properly. How do we regain control of them and supply them? Can you consider a chain? “

He said his Eureka moment came when he thought about how the supply chain of descendants affected the planet.

But the biggest change for the company was in collecting data on how it operates its business.

“That’s all about BCorp. Check the list of questions and discard the list of additional questions. Challenge if you have any information, knowledge about the meaning of these questions and their business implications. increase. .”

“I think you came from what you’re doing. Build better steps to run your business, but it’s all about the first data collection and exactly what’s happening in your business. It’s built around grasping. Always.’

As a result, his main advice for companies considering becoming a B Corp, especially service providers, is to find a project manager.

“Otherwise you’ll spend a lot of time and effort on it and you won’t go anywhere. That’s not just what you can do on Sunday afternoon, check some boxes and think I did it I’m going here …

“Meetings and data collection, updates, reviews, and redoes can take hours, so don’t underestimate it.”

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Descendants: Can this advisory company pave the way for a more sustainable industry?

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