- On 2023/5/10
An overall score is 101.3. It was highly rated for its commitment to community and employees
Harch Inc. (Chuo-ku, Tokyo; CEO: Yu Kato), a company with the mission of “Publishing a better future” and running Circular Yokohama and other eight web medias to pushing the world sustainability forward, received the B Corporation™ Certification, an international certification given to companies with a high public interest, in April 2023.
Road to B Corp™ Certification
Since its founding in December 2015, Harch Inc. has developed and operated nine web media in several areas, including sustainable business, circular economy, English education, finance, sustainable lifestyle, and sustainable tourism, based on its expertise in sustainability, global network, and web media development capabilities. We are currently developing and managing nine web media in multiple domains, including sustainable business, circular economy, English education, finance, sustainable lifestyle, and sustainable tourism.
In operating the media, we have focused on the idea of “constructive journalism” and have aimed to create a positive impact on individuals and society through the dissemination of information, focusing not only on issues facing society, but also on solutions.
Since 2020, we have operated a sustainability and circular economy support program for corporations and local governments to help them transform their excellent ideas for the betterment of society into reality. Harch Europe is playing a role in connecting Europe and Japan in sustainability by planning events in collaboration with European companies, conducting research and reporting on local initiatives, arranging site visits, and disseminating information through the media.
We have been working on our own sustainability promotion in conjunction with these businesses, and in the process, we have focused on the potential of B Corp™ Certification as a governance management tool and a communication tool with our stakeholders to realize new sustainability management. In 2019, the company started activities to acquire the certification. We have achieved the certification with the cooperation of various internal and external stakeholders.
What is B Corp™ Certification?
B Corp™ Certification is an international private certification program issued to companies that conduct business for social or public benefit. B Lab™, a non-profit organization based in Pennsylvania, USA, has been operating the program since 2006, and certification is based on its own index, the BIA score. As of May 8, 2023, there are more than 6,400 certified companies worldwide, including 23 companies in Japan.
Company features that led to the certification
Harch Inc. earned an overall score of 101.3 based on the B Impact assessment (acquired with a score of 80 or higher). Those are the some of the activities Circular Yokohama is engaged in that led to the certification from the three perspectives of people, planet, and prosperity, which are the priority items for sustainability.
Co-creation with local communities
Circular Yokohama plans and operates events, workshops, learning programs, exhibitions, and various projects with the theme of circulation through co-creation with various stakeholders. They include the government, local businesses, local educational institutions, living labs, NPOs, and citizens. We are working with the local community to transition to a circular city by planning and operating workshops, learning programs, exhibitions, and various projects.
Contribution to school education
As part of our career education program, we provide on-site classes at schools on themes such as sustainability and the circular economy, help coordinate school excursions, and conduct joint projects with universities. To date, we have provided learning support to students including elementary schools, junior high schools, high schools, and universities in Yokohama.
Since fiscal 2019, we have been carbon neutral (Scope 1 and 2), and from fiscal 2020, we will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and carbon offsets to include Scope 3, including CO2 emissions from server electricity use for web media operations and travel for news gathering activities. We are operating our business in a carbon-neutral manner. In addition, since April 2020, we have been working fully remotely and electricity use has been moved from the office to employees’ homes, and we are now subsidizing employees and partners who have installed 100% renewable electricity at their homes.
Since FY2020, we have been operating the UU Fund, an initiative in which 0.1 yen per UU (unique user) of Harch-operated web media is donated to NPOs. We started this initiative with the hope of creating a system where the more readers we have, the better the environment and society will become. Through this system, readers can contribute to society simply by reading articles. In fiscal 2021, a total of 2,236,674 yen was donated to 38 organizations.
Comments from Yu Kato, CEO of Harch Inc.
“We are very pleased to be certified as a B Corp company and to be a member of the B Corp community. This B Corp certification would not have been possible without our readers, partners, and business partners who always support our business, and we would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to all of you.
Through the B Corp certification process, we have identified many issues that we need to address as a company, such as governance, the environment, and our commitment to our customers. It was also a very good opportunity for us to reconsider our company’s significance and the state of our organization. Taking this certification as a first step, all of us will continue our efforts to become a company that can truly make a positive change in the future of society.”
Challenges for the future
While the acquisition of B Corp™ certification is a major step forward for the company, on the other hand, the current situation involves various challenges in all aspects of the environment, society, and economy. These challenges include visualizing the environmental and social impact generated by business activities, achieving the well-being of employees, partners, and stakeholders through business and organizational management, and integrating sustainability value with economic value. Moving forward, we will continue to explore with everyone what makes a truly good company, while working on our business activities as a B Corp.
[Reference]press release from Harch.Inc (Japanese)