In today’s business landscape, it isn’t uncommon for businesses to hyperbolize their green initiatives. Greenwashing has become a common practice for many companies and in response, organizations such as B-Labs have been formed to help certify environmental and socially sustainable businesses. Through the B-Corp certification and its strict regulations, only truly sustainable companies are able to attain certification. On January 22nd, SIB Laurier held our second-ever B-Corp Conference to put a spotlight on local B-Corps including Cupanion, Diva International, Kindred Credit Union, and B-Labs. Through a series of presentations, attendees were able to hear from Certified B-Corps about their dedication to sustainability.
First to present was B-Labs. B-Labs is the organization that awards companies with the B-Corp certification once said organization has met certain criteria. Through an “Impact Assessment” sheet, companies assess their environmental and social impact which contributes to the qualification of becoming B-Corp certified. With over 2400 Certified B-Corps, B-Labs hopes to continue to spread the word of B-Corps to the general population.
Following B-Labs, Tara Zimmerman of Cupanion presented about their sustainable product and initiatives. Cupanion is a reusable water bottle in which every time a user refills their bottle, a cup of water is donated to people in need. Through various partnerships with WaterAid, Water.org, and Dig Deeg, Cupanion has donated over 3,000,000 glasses of clean water. Cupanion recognized many benefits that came along with their certification, such as alignment with values, brand recognition, and business transparency.
Sophie Zivku from Diva International followed and also highlighted the green initiatives they undertake as a B-Corp. Diva International is a feminine hygiene company based in Kitchener that prides themselves on “providing sustainable period care options to women worldwide”.
Diva International has implemented numerous eco-friendly actions such as department specific workshops to lower their environmental impact, greater use of renewable energy, and a new waste management system that was previously unavailable in their headquarters’ region. Through the B-Corp certification, Mrs. Zivku noted that Diva International was able to meet the expectations consumers had of their brand and noticed an overall increase in employee satisfaction.
Finally, Ben Janzen explained the B-Corp certification from the perspective of a newly certified company, Kindred Credit Union. Certified in 2016, they have continuously worked to improve their Impact Assessment through emissions tracking, commuting goals, and the creation of the Environmental Stewardship Group which focuses on ways to improve their impact. With strict regulations, becoming a B-Corp in the finance industry can be difficult, but Mr. Janzen stressed that the benefits that come along with this certification far outweigh the challenges.
Attendees then had the opportunity to pose questions to the panelists during a question and answer segment. The presentation portion concluded with an announcement that Diva International will become SIB Laurier’s newest sponsor! The night ended with a networking session along with sustainable food and Amazon gift card giveaways. We’d like to thank Diva International for their generous contribution to SIB Laurier, as well as thanking everyone who attended the event and made the night such a success!