B Corp Month | #BetterBusiness
4 min read
For the uninitiated, certified B Corporations (aka B Corps) are companies that have been verified to the highest standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. It’s a framework for doing #BetterBusiness, because businesses should be there to serve people and planet – not the other way around. The certification process is rigorous and extensive, covering five key areas that are used to determine the impact of a business; workers, customers, environment, community and governance. At the end of the assessment, companies are awarded an Impact Score which can be found in the B Corp directory. (Check out ours here.)
An important part of the B Corp process is that you have to re-certify every three years. This ensures accountability, because we know we can lose our B Corp status. It’s not just a rubber stamp. But it also means you can improve your Impact Score. We’re by no means perfect, and we know that. But, like the wider B Corp community, we’re committed to striving to be better in everything we do.
Here’s how we’re living the B Corp mindset:
Happy workers do good work. It’s really that simple. Finisterre founder Tom Kay often says that one of his motivations for starting the brand was to create a place where people wanted to work. An employer that cares about its staff and where people turn up with smiles on their faces, excited to do their jobs. Finisterre follows through on this with multiple wellbeing activities for staff such as Sea Tuesdays (starting work an hour later so we can surf, swim and spend that extra time in the sea), free yoga classes and mental wellbeing sessions for staff, as well as free access to counselling services and a subscription to the Headspace app should anyone require it. Staff are also able to take time out to volunteer for charitable causes – as many of our staff did back at the beginning of the pandemic, helping to make PPE for the Cornwall Scrubs Project.
Since we opened the workshop doors in 2003, Finisterre has committed to putting people first. Without our customers, well… we just wouldn’t be here! We are constantly listening to our customers and incorporating their feedback into improving our gear. We’re here to build the best product we possibly can, enabling our customers to get out and explore the natural world. So we build our products to last and to perform in the harshest conditions. When those products are on their last legs, most companies would focus on selling you something new, but we’d prefer to breathe new life into them with our Lived and Loved Repairs Service – keeping products out of landfill and in your wardrobe, so you can share more adventures together.
We’ve built sustainability into our products as standard since 2003 and are fully committed to minimising our impact on the environment in every area of our business. From selecting natural fibres, wool, and recycled or organic fabrics which have less impact on the planet, to the partners we work with, pioneering new sustainable manufacturing techniques, right down to ensuring that our packaging is non-toxic, biodegradable and leaves no trace. We believe it’s important to consider the whole life impact of our products; not just manufacture and use, but what happens to that garment at the end of its functional life. Building for recyclability and rejecting the linear model of “take, make and waste” in favour of the circular economy. It’s all part of our commitment to become a positive impact business by 2030.
We’re proud to have grown an incredible community who share our love of the sea and passion to protect it. Surfers, swimmers, sailors, paddleboarders, divers, beach cleaners – all are welcome. We’re committed to enabling access to the ocean for all and work to promote charities such as the UK based Seagrass Project and South African surf therapy organisation Waves for Change to help spread their message. But for a B Corp, 'community' is more than just the customers who share our values. It also extends to our factory and manufacturing partners, our suppliers, couriers and everyone who makes Finisterre what it is. It’s our responsibility to ensure that those who make our products are treated fairly and we have a strict code of conduct that we send out to all new suppliers to commit to, as well as rigorous auditing processes to ensure the safety and dignity of those working in our supply chain.
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One of the main factors that sets the B Corp certification apart is the focus on accountability. One example of this is the need for transparency in reporting a company’s impact, and last year we released our first Impact Report, detailing our commitments to become a positive impact business by 2030. We’ll be releasing our second report shortly, where we’ll share which areas we’ve improved on, as well as any where we haven’t. The point is to be open, transparent and accountable and is why this commitment to our social and environmental responsibility is now enshrined within our articles of association registered at Companies House. It makes those commitments legally binding and ensures our accountability should we not fulfil those responsibilities.
Becoming a B Corp is more than just a certification. It connects us to a community of like-minded businesses who share our goals; championing collaboration and the sharing of ideas. The community is growing rapidly and now has over 3500 certified businesses, with many more awaiting certification. Want to know more? You can start your own B Corp journey by following the links below.