Eco Business is First Australian Retailer to Obtain B Corp Certification
Tuesday, 11th April 2017 at 1:07 pm
Brisbane eco business, Biome, which sells everything from water bottles to baby bottles, is the first Australian retailer to be awarded international B Corporation certification which rewards the highest social and environmental standards.
B Corporation certification recognises purpose-driven businesses that run with the highest level of transparency and accountability, and are committed to improving social and environmental conditions for all.
Founder of Biome Eco Stores, Tracey Bailey, said she was proud to pass the rigorous assessment and join the ranks of world changing brands.
“It shows how businesses can operate sustainably and change the world for the better,” Bailey said.
“Since launching 14 years ago, we have relentlessly built a sustainable and transparent business that supports employees, suppliers, community and the environment.”
The Queensland-based business operates four retail sales outlets across Brisbane and an online store employing 46 staff, selling a range of more than 270 eco and ethical brands.
“Our business protects the environment via an ethical and innovative retail business model that empowers customers to make a difference to themselves and the planet through education, and by providing an extensive range of thoroughly-evaluated environmentally- and socially-responsible products,” she said.
The rigorous assessment conducted by B Lab, a not-for-profit organisation, reviews a company’s governance, transparency, environmental and social impact and certifies businesses on their ability to create value for all stakeholders, not only shareholders.
Bailey said certified B Corporations had one shared vision – to create a global movement using the power of business to drive positive change.
“They are driven by the value they add to the wider community, not for profits, and operate at a higher social and environmental level, considering business impacts and being responsible for them,” she said.
Biome joins 173 certified Australian businesses, including brands such as KeepCup and Tom Organics and 2,064 certified B Corporations from 50 countries. (Pro Bono Australia became a certified B-Corp in 2014.)
In December 2016 B Lab Australia and New Zealand called for legal reform to enable companies to opt-in to become a benefit company.
“A benefit company registration would allow company directors to pursue both profit-making and the public good, which considers all stakeholders in decision-making, not only those with a financial interest in the company,” executive director of B Lab Australia and New Zealand Alicia Darvall said at the time.
“There is a critical need for businesses to step up and build a sense of trust and confidence with the community and becoming a benefit company would allow people to confidently support private enterprise.”
B Lab Australia and New Zealand also advocated for a new voluntary corporate structure.
“This new structure will let existing for-profit companies choose to enshrine the triple bottom line principles of ‘profit, people and planet’ into their constitutions,” Darvall said.
“The voluntary structure will expand directors’ duties to require directors to consider the interests of all stakeholders, and report on social and environmental performance as well as financial indicators.”
She said that by passing changes to legislation, Australia would become a world leader in advancing business alongside social impact objectives, joining over 4,000 benefit corporations in the US, where a similar legal reform was agreed to across 32 US states, and also in Italy.
B-Lab Australia and New Zealand announced on Tuesday that Darvall will be moving to a new role with the B Lab global team as executive director of global partners.
“This is really exciting, not only for Alicia, but as an indication of the growth of the movement of business as a force for good internationally,” chairperson of B Lab Australia and New Zealand Mele-Ane Havea said.
“As Alicia transitions to her new role and our search for a new Australia and New Zealand executive director begins, Mindy Leow and Charlie Syme will act as co-directors.”