Today’s a big day for the gang here at Flatter:Me – after a rigorous application and assessment process, we’ve been certified as a B Corp. We're Canada's first fashion-industry B Corp outside of Toronto, and only the fourth in Canada!
B Corp is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk... [they] are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
The highest standard for socially responsible businesses. –Inc. magazine
B Corp provides what is lacking elsewhere: proof. –New York Times
Cool, huh? Basically, B Lab assesses applicants' business practices to see what impact they're making - good or bad - both socially and environmentally. B Lab has been certifying B Corps since 2007, but the movement has really started to pick up momentum in the past couple of years.
It means we’re joining over 1400 other businesses worldwide to redefine business success. Some of these businesses are giants I’ve admired for years; others are growing businesses that are making serious differences in their communities, like Edmonton’s own Localize. What matters to us is that we’re part of a visible, growing movement that values social and environmental impact as highly as traditional cash profits.
If you’ve been following us for awhile, you’ll know that our business isn’t just about making a better pant keeper-upper – it’s also about building a business that acts as a responsible citizen in our community. We do this in lots of ways, some of which we’ve told you about, and others which we haven’t – from paying our sewing staff a living wage, to taking days away from the office to volunteer, to organizing and participating in sustainable fashion events. I’m the first to admit that my own shyness around business marketing and tooting our horn has really gotten in the way of telling you the whole story.
However – you can’t effect big change by keeping your dreams to yourself. This is why I decided to apply for B Corp status earlier this year: because I really believe there is extraordinary potential for positive change within the fashion industry, and working together as like-minded businesses makes our cause stronger.
We’re about constant progress here at FMB, and there’s a ton left for us to do at every stage of the supply chain. On our to-do list:
Super-transparency. We do all our sewing and packaging at a single studio, where our tailors are paid a living wage – but our materials, from box stickers to care labels, come from different suppliers. We will seek the funding necessary to be able to show you the inside of these factories, and how they comply with international labour and environmental standards.
Community building. Right now, we’re partnered with organizations like Dress For Success and Suit Yourself, both of which are helping women feel great in their clothes; we were also the first member of sustainable fashion advocacy group Fashion Takes Action outside of Ontario. We will look for other organizations to team up with so we can put values into action together. (Have a collaboration idea? Let us know.)
Creating accountability. 'Til now, we've been running small and lean, and haven't had an advisory board or board of directors. 2016 will be the year of building our resources all around, and this includes building a formal team of advisors committed to holding us to our goals.
We couldn't believe it when the B Lab told us we were Canada’s first fashion-industry B Corp outside of Toronto - and just the fourth in the country. Sure, it's neat to be special, but it's better to be part of a community. Is there a local business you’d like to "nominate" for B Corp status? Send them a link to a 20-minute Quick Impact Assessment that could get them started. Are you an entrepreneur with q’s about the application and certification experience? I'm happy to help (Claire here) - and I'm just an email away.
See our B Corp Impact Report to see our full score
Become a B Corp Ambassador if you're kind of a big deal
Read about the B Corp Community to see who we're joining
Comments will be approved before showing up.