We’re a BCorp “Best for the World” for the fourth year running! That means Ethique is in the top 5% of all BCorps globally and I am delighted with that result. We are joined by seven other companies from Aotearoa, which is testament to the values and ethics New Zealanders value in business.
But if you are asking what a BCorp is, you’re not alone. Sadly, this certification for businesses that operate fairly and ethically is still not well known.
To summarize, a BCorp certification is essentially a fair-trade score for the entire business.
To certify, businesses of any size and scale work through a long assessment process, which covers everything from your product and its impact on the environment, to how you treat your staff, how your shareholding structure stands, your governance structure, charitable donations scheme, supply chain transparency and much more. Once the self-assessment is complete, it is audited, and the business provides documentation to prove their assertions. It’s robust and time consuming, but it’s not only a certification to be proud of, but it also shows you best practice when it comes to business operations and what we should all be striving for.
To become a BCorp, companies must score 80 out of 200 (typical business tend to average around the ~50 mark). We certified for the very first time in 2015 with a score of 107, when Ethique was just a baby company having only just moved out of my kitchen. In 2017 we certified a second time, with a score of 117. This was a nice improvement and ensured we remained the highest scoring BCorp in NZ — that is until Chia Sisters knocked us off the top spot earlier this year (amazing work team — very well deserved!).
Companies that want to operate in a way that brings benefit to their communities and the environment (not just their bottom line) use the BCorp certification to not only prove their commitment to doing better business, but also as a measure to improve themselves against. But it’s tough — only one out of every three businesses that apply ever become certified. Jamie Oliver, who took his business through the process last year, described it as “F**king hard — they are properly in your laundry drawer, getting into your pants, having a good look”.
Companies must recertify every three years and each year the standards get higher, so there is no time to become complacent.
What sets us apart is our supply chain ethics, in that we source fair trade ingredients from cooperatives in countries like as Samoa, Rwanda and Ghana, our commitment to a regenerative product and business model, our living wage status and in particular our commitment to charitable donations.
It is so important to us to operate in the most ethical way possible, across the board. We can always do better and strive to do so which is more difficult in a fast-growing business but remains of paramount importance to my entire team.
We are joined by Little Yellow Bird, Chia Sisters, Banqer, Blacksmith, D3 Digital, Pathfinder and Method Recycling and I’m so proud to see so many NZ businesses on the list. Congratulations to all!
If you want to see which other businesses made the cut around the world, you can see the full list here.