This article is written by Afdhel Aziz, CMO Network
Today, WeTransfer announced it has become a certified B Corporation, joining a community over 3,000 progressive companies worldwide that are rigorously analyzed and held accountable for the impact of their decisions on people, communities and the environment. The company has a history of striving to be ethical, from minimum data collection to donating $500M in advertising inventory to causes WeTransfer employees believe in. Every month, users in 195 countries send one billion files through its platform.
In addition, Martha Lane Fox joins as chair of the board of directors. She has been Britain’s Digital Commissioner since 2009, currently sits on the board of Chanel and Twitter, and is the founder of travel site lastminute.com and responsible tech think tank DotEveryone. WeTransfer will be working with DotEveryone to conduct an audit that will establish what responsible growth means to WeTransfer, and ensure its platform supports a fair, inclusive and sustainable democratic society.
I caught up with WeTransfer’s CEO, Gordon Willoughby to find out more about this historic development. I began by asking him to tell us about the journey to becoming a B-Corp and what prompted the decision. “WeTransfer has been purpose-driven since its founding in 2009. We frame this as “bringing offline values online” — e.g. trust, transparency, and ethics. We believe creativity, tech, business and social impact should go hand-in-hand,” said Willoughby.
“In 2019, we celebrated our 10-year anniversary, which initiated a larger, forward-looking conversation about what we want to be for the next 10 years. There was no question we would continue to put people first, but we wanted to define more clearly what “responsible tech” means. We believe in taking responsibility for the tech we put into the world and we will strive to push our peers to transform our industry to become a more inclusive and sustainable one,” he continued.
“By becoming a B Corp certified company, WeTransfer will be able to take a much more holistic approach to social responsibility by expressly committing to making a positive impact — not only to our shareholders, but also to our workers, customers, community and the environment. B Corp certified companies make this open commitment to add accountability and transparency to how they run their businesses. At WeTransfer, we will double down on our decade-long commitment to use business as a force for good and to continue to put people before profit.”
I asked him how the decision had been welcomed internally by the company’s employees.“Empathy and creativity are the common threads in everything we do at WeTransfer. Every member of the WeTransfer team shares our core values and we hope the move to becoming B Corp certified makes our colleagues even more proud of the direction we are collectively taking together,” shared Willoughby.
He elaborated on how the company has brought their social impact to life.“Since our beginning a decade ago, we have been committed to supporting creatives and causes. For example, in March of 2018, WeTransfer initiated a global takeover of its advertising platform for gun reform and dedicated 100% of its advertising space to the cause. To date, WeTransfer has donated more than $300 million worth in advertising inventory to causes, artists and creatives. We are now a powerful example of a brand balancing its commitment to its shareholders, communities, users, workers, the planet and social good.”
Willoughby also pointed out that the company’s B-Corp commitments will manifest themselves in other areas. “WeTransfer has released a comprehensive sustainability roadmap outlining where our carbon footprint currently is and what we are doing to reach our goal of reducing that number 30% by 2025. In the short-term, we are committing to Going carbon neutral this year: This is the first step in our ongoing environmental efforts. This effort will be possible by setting renewable energy and offset programs.”
The approach also extends beyond sustainability. “Defining a responsible approach to business with Doteveryone: We started working with Doteveryone, a nonprofit think tank working to change how tech is made and used so that it supports a fair, inclusive and sustainable democratic society. We’re defining what a responsible and values-driven approach to business, growth and data means for WeTransfer. We are working to align our team members and company strategies in this direction.”
“In the long-term, we are working on setting an ambitious 5-year goal and undertaking annual audits to determine how we are progressing against our targets. We will share these both internally and externally. Diversity and inclusion is also more important than ever in these challenging times. In the long run, we are especially interested in three areas – improving our diversity and inclusion in the workplace, making sure our tools are accessible for everyone and having a diverse group of leaders across the organization.”
Finally, Willoughby also spoke to the arrival of their new chair. “Baroness Martha Lane Fox is joining our board of directors. Martha is recognized globally for her work championing better nationwide access to the internet and digital literacy. Martha’s addition underscores our commitment to continue to be a voice and active contributor to social good in the tech and creative communities. Martha will help us ensure we’re making decisions that align with our long-term, big-picture objectives. We want to make decisions that don’t just benefit the company, but our community and society overall,” said Willoughby.