As a micro social enterprise, we achieved something not many giant corporations have or ever will. In fact, we’ve actually achieved it twice. It has nothing to do with profit or market ownership, yet it’s something vital to the ultimate success of our business. It also makes us highly attractive to the best talent and ensures we are continuously aligned with our core brand values as we grow. Here at miei, we are globally recognised for delivering the highest standard of corporate social responsibility (CSR) through our B Corp Certification.
Since 2007, US-based nonprofit B Lab has been certifying for-profit companies that want to balance profit with doing good. B Corp certified businesses are audited on all processes from HR to supply-chain and assigned a rating by B Lab, with reevaluations required every three years.The recertification process takes an average of 6-12 months and costs start from $500 and scale up depending on profit.
As a social enterprise, our values focus heavily on delivering on best practices for our local community here in Melbourne, ensuring we’re acting sustainably in all areas of our business and always looking after our internal team. The B Corp recertification process involves deep diving in all of these areas of our business, and took us over a year to complete. As a floral and gift destination, we procure stock from all around the globe which involves a huge amount of effort to chase down information from suppliers. As a growing organisation, we can’t yet dictate how our suppliers, manufacturer and growers run their show, however we’re crystal clear on areas to improve on our end and what to look for in future partners to ensure we’re acting in best practice.
The Return on Investment
You may ask what Return on Investment you receive after such a rigorous and time extensive project, especially when facilitated by a team with limited resources (we only have 4 full-time employees). Through research on the performance of more than 14,000 companies, Business writer and adviser Jim Collins learned that the most profitable businesses succeeded over time because they focused on maximising purpose rather than profit. Once this commitment was set in place, the profit ultimately followed.
According to a recent survey by Sezzle, a buy-now-pay-later Fintech company (and fellow B Corp) , a massive 81% of Sezzle respondents said it was important for them to purchase from brands that align with their social values. Furthermore, 80% stated they would pay for a sustainable product. Along with these expected financial benefits, there are multiple advantages of achieving a B Corp Certification.
No Murky Greenwashing
The term greenwashing was coined in the 1980’s, however the concept has dated back all the way to the 1960’s. Oxford Dictionary defines greenwashing as “activities by a company or an organisation that are intended to make people think that it is concerned about the environment, even if its real business actually harms the environment”. As a B Corp, your practices are completely transparent to the B Lab governing body. All social and sustainability claims must be backed up with the appropriate evidentiary support. This level of transparency not only holds the business accountable to stakeholders, but also allows customers to trust that the business is delivering on their claims and actually making an impact.
Attracts the right talent
As our commitments centre around delivering best practices for people, community & the planet, our hiring processes are designed around attracting the right employees who embody our core values.
B Lab’s Rebecca Jewell says “[job-seekers] want their work to have a purpose and impact. B Corp certification is a way to signal to employees that you actually walk your talk.”
Access to the B Corp Community
For a micro-business like ours, the opportunity to join over the 3,500 globally recognised certified B Corporations across 70 countries is a huge win for brand awareness. Miei’s B Corp score is shared in complete transparency on the B Corp website and database, and also grants us entry to an array of events throughout the year run by our B Local Community group. We also find immense value in the support and sense of camaraderie within the B Corp community through direct support from B Lab and fellow organisations, as we all know we’re doing the best we can for our people and planet.
The Road Ahead
The road to B Corp is not an easy one, however It’s no longer sufficient to simply claim you are implementing positive change in the world. It’s now a matter of necessity to deliver on those promises to ensure the longevity and success of your business. This not only makes for a profitable enterprise, but one that delivers the message that you actually care.