If you are a Consumer and you see a B Corp Certification on a product, you can know that the company behind it is committed to you as a Citizen as much as a Consumer. The importance of the work of B Labs in certifying companies lies as much in declaring good companies as educating companies and Citizens what it means to support businesses and products that stand for good.
B Corp is the broadest certifier of sustainability and is unique in that they measure a company’s entire social and environmental impact. Certified B Corporations believe:
These stories of some of our fav B Corp certified sustainable businesses who we've grown up with. We hope their stories illustrate the kind of businesses and products that are B Corps and the difference they offer Consumers. Their stories are life changing, but not unique. There are now around 400 certified B Corps companies across Australia and New Zealand, and more than 4,600 B Corps around the world, redefining the way of doing business to benefit all people, communities and the planet. And many more thousands who are doing good, but not B Corp certified.
Patch Strips are poster child B Corp-ers. They were certified in 2018 and in 2021 were among the top 5 percent of B Corp companies in the world. When they first began, Patch Strips laid down foundations on the type of business they wanted to be. With strong convictions to maximise social responsibility success, which was inherent in the business model, they saw parallel economic growth.
Patch are the brainchild of James Dutton, who went looking for an alternative to plastic wound strips after his son had an allergic reaction to a well-known common brand. Made from bamboo, hyper allergenic and compostable:
"IF YOU'VE EVER EXPERIENCED AN ADVERSE REACTION FROM A TRADITIONAL BANDAGE, YOU WILL UNDERSTAND THE FRUSTRATION - NO ONE WANTS TO HURT WHEN THEY'RE ALREADY HURTING. PATCH OFFERS A BETTER ALTERNATIVE, DESIGNED TO BE SAFE ON SENSITIVE SKIN."
Sendle was born out of a platform James Chin Moody developed to help people give away unwanted items. While running TuShare, he learned a lot about courier networks and backloading - and Sendle was born. In 2014, Sendle was certified as the first technology B Corp in Australia and the company expanded to the USA in 2019.
Because Sendle started by tapping existing carriers and filling their vehicles to improve the utilisation of the whole delivery network, it was easy to both negotiate cheaper rates and most importantly, to deliver with a low carbon footprint. Nowadays they partner with bigger delivery networks and make them available to small businesses in Australia and the USA. It's convenient, affordable, and 100% carbon neutral. Founder and CEO, James Chin Moody, says:
“THE MORE POSITIVE ROLE YOU PLAY IN THE ENVIRONMENT, ECONOMY, AND SOCIETY, THE BETTER OFF YOU’LL BE IN BUSINESS. AND WHAT’S GOOD FOR THE PLANET, YOUR CUSTOMERS, SUPPLIERS, AND TEAM MEMBERS WILL BE GOOD FOR YOUR SHAREHOLDERS.”
The Very Good Bra is a Sydney based business who makes 100 percent compostable underwear, manufactured in Sri Lanka in a family factory, pre-sold in small batches in Australia and around the world.
Stephanie Devine first went to a B Lab session to work on her application back in 2017 and found it so daunting that she couldn't see how a small start-up could ever get there and blocked it out until early 2021 when she met one of a newly fledged breed of heroes trained to work with businesses of all sizes to get them B Corp certified - Kirsty Simmonds.
Kirsty Simmonds recognised that everything The Very Good Bra had achieved to date sprang from exactly the place that the B Corps movement inhabited, and the application for certification just required some structure and evidence around the things the business already did well. Founder Stephanie Devine says:
"AS MUCH AS I THOUGHT I KNEW MY BUSINESS INSIDE OUT, I LEARNED SO MUCH MORE BY BEING FORCED TO LOOK AT EVERYTHING SO FORENSICALLY.
I LEARNED HOW TO CALCULATE THE EXACT QUANTITY OF MICRO PLASTICS WE HAD POTENTIALLY SAVED FROM OCEANS USING A COMPLEX FORMULA (9KGS!). OVER 50% OF MY SPEND IS WITH FEMALE-LED BUSINESSES, AND THAT ALTHOUGH I THINK I HAVE NO TIME TO DONATE, I ACTUALLY AVERAGE AN HOUR A WEEK ON PRO-BONO TYPE ACTIVITIES."
Stephanie also says that the certification saw her disseminate information about her supply chain to her customer base instead of assuming people just understood. She also formalised an advisory board, a loose collection of super-heroes she often informally called on for advice, and this makes a big difference to thinking. After successfully answering 189 questions, B Corps Certification was confirmed in January 2022!
Banish are a recent B Corp and their mission is to help Australian reduce their waste by both using and understanding sustainable products. Everything they sell is accompanied with the most useful information on how to use, reuse, recycle or compost the product.
Banish's aim is to provide Australians with all the tools they need to reduce their ecological footprint. This means that Banish’s goal is not only to help Australians reduce their waste by making more responsible and eco-friendly consumer decisions, but also to facilitate information, programs and initiatives that will help Australians sustainably dispose of their products at the end of their useful life.
Images: Patch Strips | B Labs | Patch Strips | Sendle | The Very Good Bra | Banish