Building a business around impact with Harvey
Harvey is a Certified B Corporation that helps conscious businesses grow. This year, Harvey is recognised for their achievements in Community on our Best for the World™ lists. We spoke with CEO and co-founder Rebecca Smallchua to gain insight into how Harvey built giving and purpose into their business from the ground up.
Watch the conversation here, or read the full interview below.
Rebecca: Everything that Harvey is, and what we believe in, is that business can be used as a force for good - that people can be empowered through business. It just makes sense to support them.
I founded Harvey with my husband, Simon. We're essentially a strategic marketing team, working with businesses that are actively doing something to improve the world. Anyone who's impacting any of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, we work with in helping grow their business through marketing.
B Lab: It's really exciting to see not only Harvey certify as a B Corp in the past year, but also receive their first Best for the World nomination. We'd love to hear from you about the journey in setting up Harvey. The SDGs and the B Impact Assessment are pretty formative pillars in that that journey, so tell us a little bit about why you chose those things and how it helped structure your business.
Rebecca: We knew that we wanted to work with conscious businesses. I guess we needed some sort of framework to follow in terms of criteria, even for the type of clients that we work with. Essentially, we don't work with anyone who's destructive. We provide different levels of discounts, depending on the level of impact the business is having across the board. A little bit further down the road - maybe six to nine months into the business - once we found our feet and started working on a couple of projects with different clients, we started looking into the B Corp assessment. It was really good in terms of challenging us in improving our impact, and even shining a light on areas that we didn't even think of when setting up a business: that you can actually have an impact through your operations. That was really helpful.
B Lab: Impact is actually baked into the DNA of the business, and in your case, the 'Designed to Give' program. Tell us a little bit about the decision that you made to embed giving into the business.
Rebecca: What the B Impact Assessment did for our Designed to Give model was actually challenge us to put forward a commitment of 5% of our revenue per annum to a charity. At the time, I was really unsure about committing 5% of revenue. We were only less than 12 months into the business before we submitted the application.
I was thinking as a small business, that's actual money that could be put into our savings to buy a house or put into our daughter's future. But that was a really good challenge to actually put into action what we believe in.
The B Impact Assessment pushed us to do that, so we decided to commit to that. We chose Greening Australia as our charity of choice to donate 5% of our revenue to because the environment is obviously very important to us. It's our home planet, so it really made sense to put it all into one good cause.
B Lab: From an impact point of view, working with local communities or local organisations - are there preferences you've put in place for who you work with?
Rebecca: Another really great framework or policy that we learnt that we could create as a business through the B Impact Assessment was our suppliers policy. Following the framework from the assessment, it involved putting together some guidelines on how we choose who we work with and our suppliers, and how we spend our money in our business operations to support either a local business or female-led businesses. We set goals to have a percentage of our suppliers to be at least local or diverse ownership. We put together a template table for us to track this and to make sure we were hitting our goal, as well as writing up a policy of how we choose our suppliers.
B Lab: What's something that you've picked up along the way that you've learned from working with some of your amazing clients? I know you've worked with Bank Australia, and Dog + Bone - some really incredible B Corp clients.
Rebecca: I think every day I am just challenged in how I can lift my impact personally and as a business.
B Lab: What's something that you're really proud of that you've taken on over the past year?
Rebecca: So much has happened in the last year. We got the news of the certification when I was in labor with my firstborn, so I had a baby - that was a big project. We've also grown our team, which surprised us because we started out thinking we don't want to have a team and intentionally laid that out in our first impact report. But we've actually just released our second-year impact report that outlines everything that's happened in the year, and how we can stay true to our commitments about impact and our B Corp assessment. We talked a lot more about why we decided to grow our team, and we even have a community section in that impact report, which outlines a little bit of what we just talked about.
For us, community is giving back and helping other businesses who are on that journey of impact improvement.
Transparency is really important, so we've laid out all of our documents and templates that we use, including our supplier policy in that section. We're really excited to share that with the world and hope some people might find that relevant and helpful.
B Lab: I love that you have done that. As a small team, it's a lot of work to do the documentation required for the assessment and then also to open source that - you're doing a lot of businesses a world of good.
Best for the World recognises B Corps with exceptional work in any of the five impact areas of the B Impact Assessment: community, customers, environment, governance, and workers. Their score has placed them in the top 5% of B Corps for their size in that impact area.
Congratulations to the Harvey team for being recognised as Best for the World in Community. Check out the Best for the World 2021 lists here.
Interviews have been edited for clarity & length.