Gift Focus inc Attire Accessories - March/April 2024

59 B CORP ARTICLE Suzanne Ellingham, Hyve Group Sourcing Director, explains more about the B Corp certification “We have been talking about sustainability for years, yet I am sure we can all agree that we aren’t moving forward fast enough. And as someone who works in events you may think, why am I commentating? “Working in large scale retail and sourcing shows gives us a unique insight, we talk to retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers, government bodies, consultants, think tanks as well as people who specialise in consumer insight. People a lot more switched on that we are. When many of these people are saying the same thing, it gives real pause for thought. “It seems the biggest challenge isn’t intent, or will, but where to start, what standard to work on, what is most important right now. For many businesses it’s a one at a time approach, and for others who want to move forward, there is often a lack of clear information on where they need to be. “For a second, lets ignore the regulations, the various standards, if you’re a business that is trying to change its footprint, or positively impact its supply chain, how far can you go? For people who have your type of business, where can you learn about what good looks like, and where the benchmarks lie? “The answer is that’s almost impossible to find, and that’s often down to transparency, and how much is really shared in the public domain. “One of the reasons that I am a huge advocate of B-Corp, within our own sphere of influence, is that it encourages businesses to measure and account for everything you do, to take a holistic view of your own operations, be they big or small. That is the first step. The reality is that until you measure something, you have no clear idea of where you are, or how much improvement there could be. “What that I believe B-Corp does exceptionally well is transparency. Giving you transparency over your business and also a window into similar businesses like yours, and letting you see what good looks like, and where you can get to. Transparency is encouraged, in fact demanded, and in my humble opinion, until we are transparent about what your starting point is, what your goal is, and then report back to that, chances are that business is not really accountable, or committed, to that change. “B-Corp is viewed as expensive and time consuming, but I think the reason is that it generally means a you’re going through a transformation process, where you look at all elements of your business and measure, and then look at how to positively move forward and make impact. “What is heartening is that all the businesses I have spoken to, who have gone through this process, both from micro businesses, service companies and mid to large businesses, have all said it is a difficult journey, but the B-Corp community is incredibly supportive, and sharing their mistakes is BAU. There is a sense with this community that the goal is for everyone to succeed, an improvement is not a competitive advantage, but a learning experience that can help others, because everyone is heading in the same direction, and with the same goal, to create better businesses that care about the people and planet (and profit) in that order. “What B Corp status does is mark you as a business that has transformed itself, that is a constant journey for improvement because you’re looking at all elements of your business, not just one thing at a time. That’s hard, brave, and a process that will be testing. But, what I believe is this is one of the few standards that lets everyone know you are a good responsible business, and not one that is just ticking boxes, it’s the difference between truly good and good enough for now.” Sarah Jordan, Founder Y.O.U. Underwear, discusses why its beneficial to gain B Corp Certification “For me, the main benefits to being a B Corp certified company are around trust and credibility. It really helps to demonstrate our commitment to sustainability and helps prove to our customers that we are doing what we say we are, particularly in an industry like fashion where there’s so much greenwashing. It’s also great to be part of a community and movement that is trying to do business better. I really believe that businesses should be a force for good and this enables us to lend our voice to that call and be part of something bigger.”