The B Corp Effect: Seeking Positive Impact
It’s been just over 16 months since Karst became a Certified B Corporation. In that amount of time, the world has changed drastically, in more ways than we can count. This March is B Corp Month, but it’s also just around 1 year after words like ‘Coronavirus’ and ‘WFH’ became part of the modern lexicon. We’d like to reflect on, in honour of B Corp Month, some of the milestones we’ve reached despite the ever-changing landscape of the world so far.
A New Normal
This March is B Corp Month, but it’s also just around 1 year after words like ‘Coronavirus’ and ‘WFH’ became part of the modern lexicon. We’d like to reflect on, in honour of B Corp Month, some of the milestones we’ve reached despite the ever-changing landscape of the world so far.
What is a B Corp?
Quick interlude here for folks new to the #BetterBusiness lingo: Certified B Corporations (B Corps) are a new kind of business that balance purpose and profit.
Becoming a Certified B Corporation is a rigorous process, assessed by the B Lab Organisation, a non-profit certification body. Companies must prove their credentials across impact areas spanning environment, community, governance, workers, and customers.
Unlike for-profit companies that can make social and environmental commitments but still continue to value shareholder returns above all else, B Corps are required to codify their purpose in their company constitution, and legally commit to an annual assessment of environmental, social and governance performance.
The B Corp Effect
If you’re familiar with us at Karst, you know that our ultimate purpose has always been to leave the planet better than we found it. From an environmental point of view, that was a no-brainer. But since becoming a B Corp, we’ve been looking for more ways to be a positive impact for all our stakeholders (customers, employees, local community, society, future generations), through more than our environmental impact.
We rang in 2020 amid the most severe bushfires in New South Wales (NSW) that burned more than 5.3 million hectares. The thick clouds of smog surrounding all of Sydney for most of the summer were just a small indication of the destruction happening a few hundred kilometres away. It seemed wrong to simply continue to sit and work, so our team agreed, like many other Australian businesses, to put all our profits from 72 hours of sales toward bushfire relief through the Red Cross.
Only a couple of months later, Sydney would be under lockdown due to coronavirus with our staff quickly learning to manage remote teamwork. In Australia, freight disruptions & panic buying created hand sanitiser shortages. When the main weapons against COVID are distance, masks, and hand sanitiser, we felt compelled to do something, anything.
When we were asked by Rescue Brand to leverage our existing supply chain to help them distribute hand sanitiser across Australia, it was a no-brainer. For a few short months, we did our best to transform Karst into what our community needed. With the help of Rescue Brand, we were able to donate thousands of bottles of hand sanitiser to the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, as well as any day-care, primary school, or secondary school that reached out for supplies.
Many will remember reports online of skies clearing & pollution disappearing during the early months of lockdown. But in the hindsight of a year later, these anecdotal reductions of CO2 in the atmosphere are ultimately just a blip. In fact, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere reached record levels in 2020, hitting 417 parts per million in May. The last time CO2 levels exceeded 400 parts per million was around four million years ago, when global temperatures were 2-4 C warmer and sea levels were 10-25 metres (33-82 feet) higher than they are now.
While the global pandemic has become the most urgent global issue, climate change continues (and continues). We decided, as a team, that in addition to the work we already do to combat climate change, there were other ways to serve future generations.
While we do our part to fight climate change now, we know that those who will endure the burden of climate change later are children. We believe a strong educational foundation for all children is the best hope we have for tackling climate change into the future. That’s why we declined to engage in Black Friday & Cyber Monday sales, and instead dedicate a portion of all sales during that period to the World Literacy Foundation.
Our purpose & promise
In a bittersweet way, the past year has thrust upon us many opportunities to serve our community. Since becoming part of a community of B Corps that turn #BetterBusiness into a catalyst for change, we’ve gained a greater ability to see these opportunities. As the pandemic improves and life slowly returns to some normalcy, we promise to continue, to seek out ways to be a positive impact through our products, programs, and more. That’s our commitment now.
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