As kids, we are natural explorers. We ask questions, we have an insatiable curiosity about the world around us and are taught to experiment, try new things and find what we love. As an adult, we are taught to take responsibility and make money. It is to no surprise we find ourselves in the hamster wheel of life, caught between doing what we love and what needs to be done to meet the milestones of adulthood. Is it possible to follow our passion, live with intention, make a difference and make money along the way?
When I meet entrepreneurs, they are always looking to break the mold, change the game, and live life on their own terms. Then you find entrepreneurs who not only want to disrupt an industry or break through with bold new ideas, but also want to have a positive impact on the world. The problem is, we are taught to think that we need to sacrifice profit to be sustainable and ethical. That’s where B Corp™ comes in.
Certified B Corporations are leaders of a global movement of people using business as a force for good™. They lead by example to create a shared and durable prosperity for all of society by meeting the highest standards of overall social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. There are over 2,500 Certified B Corps in over 120 industries and 50 countries around the world all with one unifying goal – to redefine success in business.
As I was designing my perfect “do-it-all” bag and attempting to bring this design to life, I witnessed just how destructive that fashion industry could be. I saw firsthand the complete disregard for environmentally safe production, ethical manufacturing, and the constant focus on low cost and low quality products that could be trashed. My mission was not only to design beautiful and versatile products to support an active lifestyle, but to ensure we are considering our impact on people and the planet every step of the way.
That sounds nice in theory, but where do we start? How do we really know our suppliers are using ethical and sustainable business practices? Sourcing from certified suppliers goes a long way in becoming a Certified B Corporation®.
It took years of research and networking with the right people to find the best suppliers in the world who were not only producing amazing quality, but doing in a way that was truly innovative and sustainable. The first step is looking for third party certifications such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 14064, Global Recycled Standard, Green Power Purchase Certificate and LEED certified buildings. The next step is building a solid relationship with your suppliers, and going to meet them, even if it’s across the globe. If they open their doors willingly and with full transparency, you’re off to a good start.
Every day you make choices, both as a consumer and as a business owner. In a world of choices, how do you know you’re doing the right thing? B Corp™ requirements have proven valuable to us in terms of providing a framework for accountable decision-making at the executive level, allowing us to arrive at market-based and profitable solutions to the social and environmental problems we seek to solve. It also shows our clients that when we say we are ethical and sustainable, it’s a fact.
Today’s consumer is extremely educated, has a world of options at the fingertips, and is increasingly conscious of the impact their consumption has on the environment. Due to movements in our industry such as Fashion Revolution, consumers are asking questions and holding brands accountable for their choices, and we think that’s a beautiful thing.
We are facing an unprecedented environmental crisis and the time to change is now. We need to work together to find innovative solutions, while building a profitable business. The pieces are there, and it’s up to us to weave them together.
Collaborating with the amazing network of Certified B Corps has not only felt like a breath of fresh air, but also has provided us with the network and resources to grow according to our values, while driving profit. It’s about how we can work together to not only compete to be the best in the world, but the best for the world. Now, that’s an idea we think is worth spreading.