We’re big supporters of the principles behind the B Corp movement, but we want to do more than just "spread the love" about it, we want to share the sustainability success stories from other B Corps! Each month we’ll be publishing an interview with a sustainability champion of a B Corp – and this month we are featuring Shifting Patterns Consulting!
Shifting Patterns is a boutique consulting firm, with one full-time employee and a network of consultants that can be brought in to assist with assignments, based in Washington, DC that facilitates social change by working alongside social enterprises to mobilize resources for addressing today’s most pressing challenges while developing the internal support systems needed for longer-term sustainability. Resource mobilization, institutional support, and partnership development services are tailored to the needs of each client. What separates Shifting Patterns from other consulting firms is an exclusive focus on changemakers, ability to establish working relationships grounded in trust and mutual respect, and a consulting model that strengthens organizational capacity through knowledge and skills transfer thereby reducing the need for external support.
What made your company decide that sustainability was a priority?
Sustainability, which at Shifting Patterns is defined as being kind to the environment (i.e., recycle, reuse, renew), making a lasting impact through the quality of services provided to clients, and earning a profit so that the company continues to grow, has been a priority from the very beginning. This was a conscious choice based on the intention to act consistently with the company’s values, which are synonymous with social change.
What is your company’s greatest sustainability accomplishment, to date?
Obtaining the B Corp certification has been Shifting Patterns’ greatest sustainability achievement, so far. I’m especially proud of this accomplishment given the rigorous standards that B Lab uses to measure performance, accountability, and transparency. It’s an honor to be a member of a community of 1,000+ companies that are using the power of business to solve social and environmental challenges.
What is the greatest sustainability challenge facing your industry today?
The greatest sustainability challenge facing the consulting industry today is oftentimes an inconsistency between the values that are espoused and actual business practices. While many consulting firms have adopted environmentally conscious business practices, few are going beyond the basics of recycling, using environmentally friendly products, and energy efficient appliances. There is an opportunity to push the needle further by “walking the social good talk” whether it’s opening an account at a community bank, treating employees as co-owners of the company, or being transparent in your business practices.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your sustainability journey?
The most important lesson that has been learned during our sustainability journey is that this concept has multiple dimensions that are interdependent. Financial sustainability is paramount; however, when profits are all that drive business decisions we end up putting them at risk by destroying the environment we depend on to earn a living not to mention eroding goodwill developed with employees and customers. The challenge for Shifting Patterns has been to incorporate a triple impact approach to decisions by consistently asking: Are we doing right by our clients, the environment, and ourselves?
Who or what inspires your company in its sustainability journey?
At Shifting Patterns we’re inspired by our social enterprise clients who are demonstrating what it means to “be the change” by taking the initiative to innovate bold solutions to some of the most pressing social and environmental challenges of our time, such as improving learning outcomes for students by engaging the community in turning around underperforming schools. We’re also inspired by our fellow B Corps who are making significant strides in not only being the best in the world, but the best for the world by advancing sustainability best practices that are reflected new iterations of the B Corp assessment.
About Kimberley Jutze
Kimberley Jutze is a socially responsible entrepreneur and Chief Change Architect at Shifting Patterns Consulting where she facilitates social change by working alongside social enterprises to help them mobilize resources and strengthen their organizational capabilities so that they can make the best use of these funds. Aside from presenting at social enterprise and organization development events, she has written a case study for the 10th edition of Organization Development and Change and is the author of the “Nonprofit Funding and Long Term Sustainability” Social Good Guide scheduled to be published in October 2014. Kimberley has a Master of Science in Organization Development from Pepperdine University and a Master of Arts in International Politics from American University.
Contact Info and Social Media Profiles
Interested in reading more of our Featured B Corp of the Month entries? Look no further!