You’ve heard of fair trade coffee, right? Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to make sure other types of companies you buy from have a proven ethical standard? A B Corp certification does just this. Certified B corporations go through a rigorous assessment that considers their governance, transparency and environmental and social impacts.
Businesses volunteer to take part and obtain a ranking that takes into account more than 20 areas of their operations, from worker ownership, to supply chain, to energy usage. The result? According to B Corp, certified companies are 47% more likely to use onsite renewable energy.
Patagonia, Etsy and Ben & Jerry’s are some of the familiar names that have secured their certification – but there’s a good handful of smaller Aussie companies on board too.
Meet Sydney locals
Eat Me Chutneys
Ankit Chopra, whose family-owned labour of love, Eat Me Chutneys, is a proud B Corp, says: “Product certifications such as Fair Trade, Organic and Biodynamic have been around for quite some time. But none of these rewarded a business for making conscious choices like banning plastic bags or ditching overseas suppliers in favour of local producers.”
“To us, a B Corp certification is like someone high-fiving you for running a socially sensible business. It looked at every aspect of our business, from how we source our ingredients and looking at who produced them, to how we treat our employees and our banking practices.”
Rachel Pines, founder of local sleepwear company Moonbird, joined B Corp because it was important that her company wasn’t ‘all talk’ when it came to responsible social action. She says that although the qualification process was difficult and took almost a year, precisely this work made the B Corp certification worth having.
“We learnt so much more about our processes and suppliers through our application that we are now more aware of where things need improving. We had made assumptions about things and then we were required to prove it and it was an eye-opener,” says Rachel.
Brian Lee, co-founder of Thread Harvest, agrees. A strong social and environmental mission is deeply embedded in the online retailer’s business – it was why the company was started in the first place. Just like for Rachel, it was important for Brian to demonstrate that their commitment was genuine. He says that the B Corp certification ensured no part of Thread Harvest was left unchecked, so this big third-party tick was very important.
Next time you’re shopping around, keep an eye out for the B Corp logo.