How a Kingston video production company gained rare ‘B Corp’ certification
After two years undergoing a complicated process, local video production company Untold Storytelling has accomplished a feat that only 412 businesses in Canada can boast about: they have a B Corp certification.
Founder and Creative Director Braden Dragomir described B Corp as “a community of for-profit companies that have committed to using their companies for good.” A popular example would be Patagonia, known not only for its outdoor wear, but also for its activism.
What I’ve learned is that there is more to running a business than earning money. Our brand represents who we are and what we do.”– Braden Dragomir
According to their website, Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.
“What I’ve learned is that there is more to running a business than earning money,” said Dragomir. “Our brand represents who we are and what we do.”
The pandemic gave him an opportunity to reflect on the work his company was doing and what he was passionate about—so he decided to get a B Corp designation.
The certifying body, called B Lab, asks applicants to complete an impact assessment, which looks at five aspects of a business: governance, workers, community, environment, and customers. A perfect score would be 200—the highest most companies get is about 150—but to certify, one must score 80 across all five categories. The assessment, for instance, looks at how a company treats its employees, assesses whether the company gives back to the community, and measures its impact on the environment and its customers.
“‘Complicated’ is both accurate and an understatement. You also have to document and verify [everything],” Dragomir said, adding that his company had to formalize policies and write an employee handbook, among other things.
“There were a lot of aspects we had to dive into—in a deep way—to be able to prove that what we said we do is what we actually do. They assign an analyst to your report and you have to be verified,” he explained.
Untold Storytelling performed best on how they treated their employees. A guaranteed living wage, group benefit and retirement plans, remote working policy, and flexible time off were some of the reasons the company scored high.
“That’s how a business should operate,” Dragomir stated. “I trust my team to do their work, and I trust them to tell me if they need support or time off. We have to be profitable and we have to run a great business, but we also have to be responsible citizens.”
Untold Storytelling is a branded content and video production company. “We work with conscious companies, thoughtful brands. We help with story strategy, and help them make videos and films depending on their needs,” Dragomir said.
While the Kingston-based business has been around for seven years, Dragomir did a rebranding and renaming of the company in 2020 to “start over.”
The company has three core employees—an editor, a cinematographer, and Dragomir—although they hire more people based on the project they’re working on. This may include another director, the use of a sound studio in Calgary, a composer, and/or a colourist.
Dragomir worked as a broadcast journalist for years, but decided that sharing people’s stories through film satisfied his creativity.
“I decided that the time was right for me to figure out how to be more creative. That’s why I started my own company. [There weren’t] a lot of options in Kingston [at the time]. I wanted to live here and try to work with creative people, tell stories with a camera, and do it in a creative way,” he shared.
“One of the big problems we’ve seen highlighted during the pandemic is the massive inequity in wealth, communities, and in how people are treated. Our B Corp designation proves that we run our business at a really high standard. This is the standard that everyone should be working toward,” Dragomir concluded.
Untold Storytelling was granted the B Corp certification on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. Canada ranks third for the number of B Corp certifications (412), after the United States at 1,671 and the United Kingdom at 731.
For more information, on the Kingston-based video production company, visit https://www.untoldstorytelling.com/