Is it that time of year again already? Putting up the festive decorations, eating too many chocolates, going to parties, listening to cheesy music … but at the same time feeling really uncomfortable about all the spending, overconsumption and waste we rack up this season.
This Christmas, we want to do things differently, so have decided to turn to our B Corp community for inspiration on making the way we spend and consume as positive as we can.
Treedom is proud to be a B Corp since 2014. We love being part of this family of companies that are committed to using business as a force for good, meeting high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability.
B Lab is the non-profit network aiming to transform the global economy, through certifying B Corporations, and we spoke with Maria Correa, Head of Comms and Community Engagement at B Lab Europe, to hear more about the movement, and how we can all be part of it.
‘Give something that’s long lasting, reusable, reused, handmade, or even rethink the tradition of gifting altogether’ - Maria Correa, B Lab Europe
Can you give us some advice about how to be better consumers this year?
The first step is to challenge the concept of being a consumer in the first place. For over a decade, more and more companies have taken a stand against consumerism, including B Corps like Patagonia whose “Don’t Buy this Jacket” ad in the New York Times from 2011 is now infamous.
The reality is that media and advertisements fuel a desire for more, for new, for trends – but it’s important to start with whether or not you need to make this purchase or instead if you could give something that’s long lasting, reusable, reused, handmade, or even rethink the tradition of gifting altogether.
If you are going to buy something, think about the impact that product or experience has on people and the planet. And not just the impact of your use and disposal, but the entire life cycle of that item. What impact does this company have on the environment? How does it treat and compensate its employees across its supply chain? How do they give back to the communities in which they operate? Certifications like B Corp help indicate that a company is committed to working towards a more inclusive, equitable and regenerative economy.
In terms of sustainability, how influential do you think it's possible to be as a consumer?
In order to address the world’s most pressing issues, businesses and governments need to not only be held accountable to take action, but also have a responsibility to scale solutions. The blame and onus to reduce impact should not be put on the shoulders of individuals.
However, by bucketing individuals as consumers, it's often hard to forget that behind every company and parliament are individuals who consume things daily.
Individuals can not only make a difference in their purchase decisions (by driving demand for products and services that are responsibly sourced and manufactured), but also in the companies they choose to work for and of course, their vote. Individuals, businesses and governments need to work together to accelerate changes at scale, and the collective voice of individuals helps both amplify positive changes while also holding companies accountable for their actions.
Several B Corps, including Ecoalf have engaged with their audiences to highlight the power of individual actions. In this year’s anti-Black Friday campaign, Ecoalf encourages people to “Break the habit, not the planet” and explore various alternatives to lower your own impact.
Can you tell us a bit more about the B Corp concept, and how choosing to spend money with B Corps can make a difference?
The B Corp certification looks at how the way a company operates can create benefits for all people, communities and the planet. It doesn’t mean a company is perfect, but it is committed to measuring and continuously improving its impact.
By buying from, working for and partnering with B Corps, you're helping support companies that are committed to using business as a force for good, from reducing their own environmental footprint, addressing inequalities in supply chain, empowering marginalized communities, diversifying the workplace and promoting interdependence.
4) And finally, can you recommend some B Corps for us to look out for this season?
While there are a wide range of incredible companies you can search for in the B Corp Directory, it's important to again challenge the concept of consumption during the holiday period and break some of our bad habits.
Below are a very small assortment of B Corps you might come across during your holiday season:
- Secondhand clothing from Vestiaire Collective
- The gift of an experience with Earth’s Edge Expeditions
- Tony’s Chocolonely x Ben & Jerry’s latest jointly made products to end slavery & child labor in the cacao
- Beauty products from any B Corps in the B Beauty Coalition, including these collab gift sets between two B Corps Skandinavsk & Sarah by London