Hello! It’s been quite a while since I last wrote something…we have been so very busy here in mondora and there have been some really exciting changes!
Over the next few months I will be sharing with you all the updates about the many wonderful projects we have been working on lately – and that have taken up all of my time! – but first I would like to get back on track by talking about an amazingly inspiring event that I attended: the European B Corp Summer Summit in Rome!
Me and Francesco, our CEO, travelled to Rome for two days of inspiring talks, workshops, discussions and some good old networking. The event was held at the beautiful Church Palace Hotel – which actually has a church inside it, as well as a very large and peaceful garden. It was really nice to meet so many like-minded people who care for the planet and the community and really do use their businesses for creating benefit for the world. There were plenty of coffee breaks in which to interact, but everyone was so interested in hearing other people’s stories that it was hard to have time to answer all the questions and ask your own all in one go!
One question that we got asked over and over again was “but how can a software company be a B Corp?”. To us insiders it’s quite obvious, but I noticed it required some explaining to people who don’t know our company. Many of the people I met at the summit work for B Corps who are either consultancy firms, helping others to be more sustainable and better for the community, or companies that have a product that directly addresses a world issue such as energy, health, food, education and so on. For mondora it’s not enough to say “we make x that helps y”, as it’s a bit more complex than that. I’ll try to explain better:
First of all, we are a B Corp inside:
- We value our employees and treat everyone as adults. This means that everyone has equal responsibility within the company and towards the customer.
- Our hierarchy is flat – there are no managers whatsoever. The company is organized in small teams who deal with everything from writing software to communicating with the customer to hiring new team players. That’s right – no HR office either.
- We also all enjoy a fully flexible work schedule with the possibility to chose our own work hours and location- office, home, beach, mountain top. What matters is that the tasks set out each week are completed on time, when and where during the week is irrelevant.
- We are allowed to fail. We actually have a Fail Party when someone messes things up. This helps to learn from one’s mistakes and also empowers people to try things – even if they fail – without fear of punishment.
- One of our team players is a farmer who produces delicious organic food for us. Whenever we feel stressed we can also swap our desks for a day of farming with him!
Second, whenever we make software, we try to make benefit to go with it:
- We are lucky enough to be able to pick and choose our customers quite a bit, so we give preference to companies that can prove our software will create social benefit to someone.
- We offer substantial discounts to customers who are B Corps, to those that opt for Open Source code (benefitting the software developer community) and to those that prove in a written and public statement that the project has a positive social or environmental impact.
- We are currently working on an online maths tutoring programme for high schools, to help students learn more easily, and also working with a company that is big on energy efficiency and consumption reduction.
- We help non profit companies on projects for free whenever we can.
- For projects that do not create benefit…. we make sure our revenues from them do!
And last but not least, we constantly work on side projects that aim specifically at creating benefit for our local community. We are so passionate about this that we stated it in our company purpose in the official statement when we registered as a Benefit Corporation according to Italian law. Our most recent projects are:
- HireBitto: a project to support local cheesemakers who make a very special cheese on the alpine pastures, in difficult working and living conditions, strictly following traditional methods (no machinery and no chemicals here!)
- Share our Break (coming soon): a project to support local small-scale organic farmers by sharing their products with our customers and encouraging them to share with their customers too… exponential break sharing!
I personally learned a lot from other people at the summit, and the knowledge I want to share with everyone in exchange is this: you don’t need a product that saves the world to be a B Corp. Little actions build up to create great changes, so however small you are keep up the good work, you are the change!