Aussies Seek Sustainable Shopping: The Rise and Impact of B Corp Certification in Australia
Kanebridge News
Share Button

Aussies Seek Sustainable Shopping: The Rise and Impact of B Corp Certification in Australia

As more businesses sign up for certification, sustainably minded consumers take note

By Rosemarie Lentini
Mon, Oct 30, 2023 10:45amGrey Clock 4 min

Shopping never used to be this hard. Once a matter of whether there was enough cash in your wallet or room on your credit card, now consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about the cost of buying something new not just for themselves, but the planet as well. Nearly 60 percent of Australians value sustainability more than they did two years ago, according to a recent survey by market analysts NIQ.

Yet just 37 percent say they could shop sustainably with ease versus
a global average of 50 percent. Bombarded with slogans and social media touting a brand’s “eco- friendly” or sustainable credentials, consumers struggle to cut through the greenwash.

Environmental claims are a powerful marketing tool and in Australia it is illegal for business to make false ones. But for customers or investors looking for certainty, the market has provided it through a growing movement called B Corp.

Companies that meet high sustainability standards can attain B Corp Certification — an internationally-recognised tick of approval. It was introduced by B Lab, a United States non-profit organisation founded in 2006 by three friends wanting to make business a force for good.

Companies have to prove to B Lab they’re making a positive impact on the “quadruple” bottom line: people, planet, profit, purpose.

‘B’ stands for ‘benefit for all’ and the fee-based application process is rigorous.

Unlike Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting frameworks, B Corp measures a company’s entire footprint, from supply chain practices and input materials to employee benefits and governance structures.

Businesses submit detailed evidence to B Lab on these standards and must be scored 80 or above on their B Impact Assessment. Once verified, a company’s score appears on the global B Corp Directory.

They can also use the distinctive B Corp logo — an encircled black B — in marketing.

While B Corps don’t carry any particular legal or government status in Australia, the logo carries weight with consumers.

“Most market research finds
that the most important thing to consumers is a company’s reputation or credentials,” Emma Herd, EY Oceania Partner in Climate Change and Sustainability Services, says.

“B Corp Certification is a
quick and recognised way of demonstrating you are taking voluntary action to address sustainability issues that affect your markets, consumers and banks.”

There are more than 6,000 B Corps globally, including about 470 in Australia and New Zealand.

Big names include Danone and Patagonia.

The latest Australian business to join the ranks is designer furniture and lighting supplier Living Edge.

With showrooms nationwide, the luxury retailer has a 15-year history of sustainable practice, from partnering with eco-friendly brands to using electric vehicles.

Living Edge Sustainability Strategist Guy Walsh says that certification — a “great validation of what we have achieved so far” — has provided pivotal business insights.

“We always believed we had a sustainable portfolio of products but going through the B Corp certification process was the first time we could look at an actual metric,” Walsh says.

“We found in the 2021-22 financial year, 69 percent of our revenue was generated from the sale of products certified to internationally recognised environmental accreditations.

“Another one that I found interesting, and which is so important for creating industry circularity, is that 21 percent of our revenue is coming from recycled materials. This data gives us a clear baseline to improve on.”

Constant improvement lies at the heart of B Corp. Businesses must recertify every three years as standards evolve. Australian firm WOWOWA Architecture, known for its whimsical and sustainable creations, was recently recertified after gaining B Corp status in 2019.

Director Monique Woodward says they “lost some points but gained others and that’s OK.”

She says certification has provided a “road map for growth” and helped the firm attract environmentally- focused clients.

“Our favourite residential family clients come to us because they believe what we believe, then also want a deliciously colourful and wildly textured home,” Woodward says. “Crumpler came to us wanting a fresh but nostalgic look thatspoke to their motto ‘bags that will probably outlast you’. We are now doing all their stores.”

For Woodward, industry and supply chain sustainability can improve if more firms jump on the B Corp bandwagon.

“Moving forward, all projects need to far exceed current regulatory requirements. Award winners
need to push hard and set new benchmarks for zero carbon, no waste, no gas as the bare minimum,” she says.

According to B Lab, B Corps are 4.5 times more likely than other businesses to use 100 percent renewable energy and 7.3 times more likely to be carbon-neutral.

EY Oceania sustainability expert Herd says the pressure is on business to be more sustainable.

“The investment thesis of ESG and sustainability is that a well-managed company on ESG credentials is generally better run and more profitable,” she says.

“We are seeing it’s harder for companies to do nothing on sustainability and ESG. We’re also seeing an increased push from business in Australia to government to provide consensus building around accredited certification schemes. There is a hunger from business to have a benchmark.”

For newly-minted B Corp Living Edge, certification is a gamechanger for business and consumers.

“Now we have got a measure for how sustainable our products are, we can be more targeted when we bring brands to market,” Walsh says.

“Our brand is not about throwaway consumables or fast furniture. We’re building a socially responsible and sustainable business. B Corp Certification is valuable to our customers because it gives them third-party assurance that we’re trying to do the right thing.”



MOST POPULAR
11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

Related Stories
Lifestyle
A ‘cheeky’ seat takes out the top prize at Australia’s Next Top Designers Awards
By KANEBRIDGE NEWS 17/06/2024
Lifestyle
Aston Martin Refines Its Exotic Family Car
By Jim Motavalli 15/06/2024
Money
A Killer Golf Swing Is a Hot Job Skill Now
By CALLUM BORCHERS 14/06/2024
A ‘cheeky’ seat takes out the top prize at Australia’s Next Top Designers Awards

A cash prize from Kanebridge Quarterly magazine, offered for the first time this year, drew a record number of entries for the design competition

By KANEBRIDGE NEWS
Mon, Jun 17, 2024 2 min

A versatile stool with a sense of fun took out the top prize at the Australia’s Next Top Designers awards at Design Show Australia last week.

The ‘Cheeky’ stool designed by Maryam Moghadam was the unanimous winner among the judging panel, which included Kanebridge Quarterly magazine Editor in Chief, Robyn Willis, Workshopped Creative Director Olaf Sialkowski, Design Show event organiser, Andrew Vaughan and Creative Director at Flexmirror Australia, Matt Angus.

Designed as an occasional stool or side table, the Cheeky stool comes in a range of skin tones. The judges applauded its commercial applications, its flexibility to work in a range of environments, and its sense of play.

In accepting the $10,000 prize, designer Maryam Moghadam quipped she was pleased to see ‘other people find bums as funny as I do’. A finalist at last year’s awards, Moghadam will put the prize money towards bringing her product to market.

Winner Maryam Moghadam said the $10,000 prize money would be put towards developing her product further for market.

Australia’s Next Top Designers is in its fourth year, but this is the first year a cash prize has been offered. Kanebridge Quarterly magazine has put up the prize money to support the next generation of emerging industrial design talent in Australia.

Editor in Chief Robyn Willis said the cash prize offered the winner the opportunity to put the money towards whatever aspect of their business it would most benefit.

“That might be prototyping their product further, spending on marketing, or simply paying for travel or even childcare expenses to allow the designer to focus on their work and take it to the next stage,” she said. “We’re thrilled to be supporting this design program and nurturing emerging design in a very practical way.”

The Coralescence lamps from the Tide Pool series by Suzy Syme and Andrew Costa had strong commercial applications, the judges said.
The Mass lamp by Dirk Du Toit is crafted from FSC-certified oak or walnut.

Two finalists were also awarded ‘highly commended’ by the judges — Mass lamp by Dirk Du Toit and the Coralescence lights from Suzy Syme and Andrew Costa at Tide Pool Designs. The judges agreed both products were beautifully resolved from a design perspective, as well as having strong commercial applications in residential and hospitality design. 

MOST POPULAR
11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

Related Stories
Money
Ozempic Fuels Hunt for Smaller Clothes
By SUZANNE KAPNER 17/06/2024
Money
A Killer Golf Swing Is a Hot Job Skill Now
By CALLUM BORCHERS 14/06/2024
Money
Quit Being a Cynic at Work. It’s Holding You Back.
By RACHEL FEINTZEIG 17/06/2024
0
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop