At ecostore, we’ve never just focused on the ‘money’ side of the business. For us it’s always been about making the world a safer place, putting people’s health first and helping them choose products without nasty chemicals.
But when the future of our planet and the health of communities are more pressing than ever, we realised we needed to do more. So we’re thrilled that as of August 2021, ecostore has achieved the rigorous B Corp Certification for our Australasian operations.
B Corps are businesses that are formally committed to reducing inequality, lowering levels of poverty, designing a healthier environment, and creating more high-quality jobs with dignity and purpose. Our CEO Pablo Kraus answers some burning questions about what becoming a B Corp means to us, and why it might matter to our customers
How does becoming B Corp™ certified align with ecostore’s purpose?
Ecostore’s purpose is to make the world a safer place, one person, one home at a time. This aligns with becoming a B Corp because we also have a fundamental desire to use our resources to make the world better.
Why B Corp in particular?
B Corp is appealing because just like ecostore, its purpose is to care for people and the planet, now and long into the future. B Corp is specifically for businesses (rather than individuals or charities) to ensure that these companies are built on a culture of looking out for the environment, communities, and employees. Being a B Corp is about using the money, people and relationships we have as businesses to help make the world a better place. Something we’ve always strived for.
Becoming a B Corp is famously challenging. Can you share a bit about the process?
It was a long one! First, I went through every question in the B Impact Assessment (BIA), to see where we stood in terms of score. This was a huge learning process to help understand what a B Corp is and how this framework might align with ecostore. Secondly, we made the decision that it was something we wanted to be part of, and put someone in charge of the process. They spent more than a year working with the team across all aspects of the company to achieve B Corp Certification by scoring at least 80 (verified) points in the BIA across all impact areas.
Did any part of the B certification process throw light on something in the business that surprised you? Any areas where ecostore was doing better/worse than you expected?
Better than expected: we have inclusive hiring practices because we want ecostore to be a great place for everyone to work, but for the certification we had to actually measure the impact of these practices. It was rewarding to learn that we achieved the highest possible scores for Female Management (more than 50), Age Diversity (more than 30% of our workforce is under 24 or over 50) and Management From Underrepresented Populations (more than 30% from minority groups).
Worse than expected: the environment part of the assessment showed us that, while our water footprint is low, there’s a real opportunity to improve and become world-class. This has inspired us to investigate solutions for reusing our manufacturing wastewater onsite and further reducing our consumption.
Going forward, how will B Corp guide decision making in the business?
Becoming a B Corp doesn’t change who we are, but it will become ingrained as part of our culture, as a set of guidelines to build on and a course to chart our continuous improvement. For example, it’s helped us galvanise our commitments and formalise a lot of things we’ve already done organically, such as implementing a code of conduct for our supply chain. It’s a lens to ensure every decision comes from the right place and looks out for all stakeholders. As we measure more, we can better manage our behaviours, to achieve success beyond simply a financial definition.
Why should ecostore customers care?
Seeing the B Corp logo on ecostore products means you can trust that, not only is the product created to be safer and more sustainable, but you’re supporting a company that’s formally and accountably committed to being better for people and the planet. You’ll know that we’ve been through a rigorous process of looking at every aspect of the business, and easily identify us as a company that shares your values.
Imagining a world where all companies are B Corps – what does that look like?
A world where everyone plays by the rules, everyone is doing their absolute best to strive for doing business in an ethical way, that protects people and the planet. There would be no more companies cheating or fraudulently trying to get ahead. People and companies will be rewarded for doing good.
What’s another B Corp business you admire the most and why?
Allbirds. Because it’s a Kiwi-American business, leveraging Kiwi ingenuity, sourcing locally, going big globally, and taking on the biggest shoe companies in the world. All while doing it with a purpose and using the B Corp assessment criteria to drive its success in the right way.
What are ecostore’s next goals as a B Corp?
We’ve identified five key areas of focus:
- Become an accredited Living Wage Employer, the amount needed to be an active citizen in society
- Provide more circular solutions
- Offer more products that carry the Environmental Choice New Zealand eco label
- Increase water reuse in our manufacturing
- Reduce the carbon intensity of our operations and use more renewables and offsets
What would you say to other business leaders considering going for B Corp certification?
Go for it! As a first step, take a moment to read up on it and go through the questionnaire to see how you stack up. If anything, it will give you insight into what ‘great’ looks like, and where you might have some easy wins to improve. The flow on effect for employees, communities, and the planet, will drive not only the sustainability of your business, but your bottom line too.