I founded 23 Degrees Coffee Roasters in 2016. And in 2018 the company became a Certified B Corp.
We first came across B Corps through a friend, who was a founding B Corp member in Australia. Our curiosity was sparked. To better understand people and thinking behind B Corps we attended a B Corp information event, watched great TED talks on B Corps and took a self-assessment of the B Corp qualification criteria. After this due diligence we felt very comfortable that B Corps not only matched our values … but would also challenge us to do better.
In particular, the concept of moving from a win/lose to win/win playing field resonated with us. Why would one have to lose for another to win? We were convinced, we could do better. And our B Corp journey began.
Why did we become a Certified B Corp?
The coffee industry is incredibly competitive and consolidated in the hands of a couple of global players. At the other end of the coffee supply chain are over 25 million smallholder farmers based in many of the world’s poorest countries. The potential for an unequal playing field is significant.
We believe the industry needs to transition to the next stage …. away from individual product-based certifications like Free Trade, Utz and Rainforest to a whole of company certification approach.
So it is fair to say that our vision has evolved to change our corner of the world. As of today, there are about 3500 amazing B Corps - great companies such as Patagonia and our fellow Australians from KeepCup.
So how did we become a Certified B Corp and how does it work?
The Certification process was a thorough process over many months, administered by the B Lab the non-profit organisation behind the B Corp Certification. It involved an online assessment via the B Impact assessment platform with over 200 questions focussed on governance, community, environment, staff and suppliers, and verified by phone interviews and many submissions of detailed financial data and company information.
The certification process not only helped us shape our business model, but it also continues to help shape our thinking. Just to name a few:
- We work with partners who provide supply chain transparency
- We source wherever we can from local suppliers
- We implemented programs that reduce our waste and CO2 footprint and that of our customers
- We buy coffees from women coffee growers, smallholder farmers and family farms
We needed to achieve a minimum of 80 points to obtain certification. Our score landed at 104.7. We were particularly proud of our high score in impacting communities. For us, that is great affirmation that our actions are making a difference. All B Impact results are made public on bcorporation.net. And every 3 years we are required to undergo a recertification process.
What does being a Certified B Corp mean to us?
For us – being a B Corp has changed our approach and outlook on how we conduct business. We are more mindful of the impact our business decisions have.
It also helps us to manage and measure that impact. What we measure is what matters most to us: supporting women coffee growers, paying ethical prices to coffee farmers, supporting coffee growing communities, reducing waste and greenhouse emissions, and advocating sustainable farming practices. “Know better….do better”.