Our co-founder, Justine, announces our new Benefit Corporation Certification and shares the inspiration behind reaching this sustainable milestone. She digs deeper into what the title really means and the profound impact it has on our environment, community, customers and people.
When I went to business school we were taught that a corporation’s sole responsibility is to maximize profit to shareholders—regardless of its impact on the community, the environment and its people (suppliers, employees and customers). It was disheartening, frankly, and lead me to personally spend half a decade in government and nonprofit sectors.
But then an amazing thing happened—the role of businesses in our society began to shift. First, Corporate Social Responsibility became a thing. Businesses with dual missions, like Toms and Warby Parker, were being created—and they were hugely successful. Then, Patagonia and other socially invested businesses created this thing called a Benefit Corporation (aka B Corp), which legally requires a business to balance profit and purpose in its decision making.
B Corp: it's a Beautiful Thing
To me, a B Corp is a beautiful thing because it recognizes that society’s most challenging problems cannot be solved by government and nonprofits alone. It harnesses the power of business to work towards reduced inequality, lower levels of poverty, a healthier environment and stronger communities. Poppy Barley was founded on our belief of business for good— that is, it is our responsibility (and sincere pleasure) to use our business to create an overall positive impact on the world.
I think for you, a B Corp is a beautiful thing because it means something substantial. So many words—eco, sustainable, green, handcrafted—have lost their meaning. They can be used to manipulate, greenwash and basically mean anything. This is why certifications (Organic, Ocean Wise etc.), while not perfect, have become important.
A Global Movement
Being a B Corp means your business is certified to meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. It means you are part of a global movement of people using business as a force for good.
So, we are thrilled (THRILLED!) to announce as of April 2019, Poppy Barley is now a certified Benefit Corporation.
The certification means a lot to us and we want to celebrate it and appreciate all the work that went into it. But this isn’t a resting point for us— it’s a milestone on our journey to becoming a better business.
So this weekend we are throwing a party in-stores in Edmonton and Calgary (please come!), while also releasing our 2019 Sustainability Goals— that is—eight goals to drive our impact in our pillars of the environment, people, community and customers. In a year’s time we will be reporting back on the outcomes of these goals and in a year’s time we will be a better business because of it.
Above all, I want to thank you, our customers and community, for being integral to our journey. We couldn’t have done it without you.