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Top-Performing B Corps from Australia and New Zealand Share Highlights and Hopes for the Future

Every year, B Lab recognizes the top-performing Certified B Corporations that are creating the greatest impact through their businesses. These 2019 Best For The World companies demonstrate that considering all stakeholders in business decisions is a winning strategy.

The list includes 89 B Corps in Australia and New Zealand that are leading the way. Below an honoree in each category—community, governance, customers, workers, environment, changemaker and overall—shares a bit about its top-rated practices and plans for continued improvement and collaboration.

The 2019 Best For The World Honorees are building a more inclusive, regenerative economy focused on having a positive impact for all stakeholders.

Find all the 2019 honorees and learn more about the movement of people using business as a force for good.

Handknits Pty Ltd is a B Corp based in Woollahra, New South Wales, Australia, that works with women who live in rural villages of southern India.

Community: Handknits Pty Ltd

What makes your company Best For The World?

We change lives in rural villages in Tamil Nadu, India, by educating and employing women to hand-knit for fashion brands. We connect makers, brands and consumers through handknitting. Each garment comes with a swing tag featuring a photo of the woman who hand-knitted the garment, her name and a QR code that links the consumer to a webpage dedicated to that artisan’s story. Fashion brands can now inform their customers of where their garments were made, exactly who made them and the impact this work has had on the artisan’s life. We are handknitting the world together.

The U.N. Sustainable Development Goals are entwined in our DNA. Of the 17 goals, we are contributing to eight by operating our business in a transparent way. These goals are: No poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, decent work and economic growth, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production.

What makes you stand out from other companies?

Building connections makes us stand out in the world of manufacturing. We understand consumers want to know so much more about the impact their purchases are having on the planet and people.

Our production process is personalised, handmade, and connects brands with consumers in a meaningful way. Clothing with a powerful story is the next big thing in fashion. We believe it matters for consumers to know not only how their clothes are made, but also who makes them.

With our swing tags, consumers can learn each garment is made by hand from the first stitch to the last — no machine intervention, no carbon footprint — by a woman who is now earning a stable income that is transforming not only her life but the future of her family.

What advice do you have for other B Corps and purpose-led businesses that want to improve their impact?

B Corp is an invaluable resource for understanding how business can make a meaningful impact on people, planet and communities. Connecting with B Corp’s resources is a great first step.

Fundamentally, you need to do what you love. If you have a passion, motivation and resilience to stay true to your vision of making an impact, you will have a solid foundation.

Australia and New Zealand Recycling Platform offers safe and responsible collection and recycling of e-waste.

Governance: Australia and New Zealand Recycling Platform

What makes your company Best For The World?

As the largest co-regulatory arrangement operating under Australia’s National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme, the mission of the Australia and New Zealand Recycling Platform (ANZRP) is focused on product stewardship and promoting recycling. Implicit in our governance structures are social and environmental performance measures, overseen by ethical and transparent formal governance processes that progress this mission. Every day we continue to work toward our mission and aim to improve our positive impact on all stakeholders.

What makes you stand out from other companies?

Our will to go the extra mile to implement processes up and down our supply chain to meet regulatory requirements and the highest standards. ANZRP is the first waste management company to become B Corp certified in Australia, and we’re working closely with our partners to advance the e-waste recycling industry that ultimately benefits the whole community. ANZRP has also been working hard to ensure our culture is inclusive and that all employees are engaged in the positive impact the company is delivering.

Part of being Best For The World is striving to always use your business as a force for good. What initiatives do you have planned for the coming year to continue to be Best For The World?

Achieving B Corp certification was not only great for recognition of our strengths, but also helped us identify areas we could improve on. We’ve set up a Workplace Wellbeing Working Group to improve the well-being and happiness of our staff with a number of initiatives to be implemented over the next year. We’re also working on a number of new product stewardship initiatives that will help the community to responsibly recycle more end-of-life products.

What advice do you have for other B Corps and purpose-led businesses that want to improve their impact?

The B Impact Assessment is a valuable tool. It enables you to identify areas in which the organisation is performing well and areas where improvements can be made so you can focus on where you can best make your impact. Don’t get too focused on the score and try to make improvements everywhere. Instead focus on a few company-wide initiatives that make sense for you and your stakeholders and the points will look after themselves!

Hitnet provides digital connections to marginalised communities.

Customers: Hitnet

What makes your company Best For The World?

Hitnet brings information and services to the hardest-to-reach people. Our vision is to build vibrant, healthy and digitally capable communities engaged with the digital economy, all over the world.

What makes you stand out from other companies?

As governments and organisations are digitally transforming their services, Hitnet breaks down barriers to provide connection, access and information to the 2.5 million people who are not online and the more than 4 million who are limited internet users in Australia. Our Hitnet Community Hubs with Wi-Fi hotspots enable people to connect to online services and access culturally appropriate health and social information. We are a one-stop digital shop for hard-to-reach communities.

At Hitnet we have a focus on the Sustainable Development Goals, working toward the achievement of at least seven of them.

Part of being Best For The World is striving to always use your business as a force for good. What initiatives do you have planned for the coming year to continue to be Best For The World?

We are now working in the Solomon Islands in the Pacific for the next nine months. As they connect to high-speed internet for the first time, we will be providing an on-ramp to the digital world to enable them to have access to education, job pathways and employment. Our work will be done in even harder-to-reach communities that don’t have access to power, as we’ll be developing our solar-powered outdoor digital hub.

We plan to develop a scalable, sustainable business model that will enable us to roll out through the Pacific with our digital hubs locally assembled in the Pacific, providing real jobs. Exciting times ahead!

What advice do you have for other B Corps and purpose-led businesses that want to improve their impact?

Talk to the people in the communities, understand their problems and co-design solutions.

O’Connells OBM provides tax and business advisory services.

Workers: O’Connells OBM

What makes your company Best For The World?

As accountants, success in business for us is about much more than numbers, and it always has been. Business is a vehicle that can create a positive impact on the lives of those who are connected to it, and we believe that if a business can be run in such a way that allows employees to think, act and feel like business owners — powerful and positive things can happen. Being recognized as “Best for Workers” five years in a row is humbling recognition of our efforts to putting team members first and creating a positive work environment.

What makes you stand out from other companies?

While many B Corporations run open-book management environments, what sets us apart is that we aren’t just sharing our financials as a team periodically — we’re actively reviewing these together and using them to build forecasts of the future. Everyone in the business knows what success looks like, we’re all educated on what we can do each day to contribute to that success, and we are engaged with rewards and recognition for working together to make success happen. Everyone in the business is empowered to think, act, and feel like a business owner — and that means we’re all constantly contributing new thoughts and ideas to help our clients, help the business, and help each other.

What advice do you have for other B Corps and purpose-led businesses that want to improve their impact?

Start small. Pick one or two initiatives and embed those into your business each quarter. There is a whole community of like-minded businesses out there to share experiences, thoughts, and ideas with — so don’t forget to tap into local networks and get along to the events when you can.

KeepCup designs and manufactures reusable cups that offer a sustainable alternative to single use.

Environment: KeepCup

What makes your company Best For The World?

KeepCup inspires the world to reduce and reuse. More than 8 billion single-use cups are saved from landfill each year by KeepCup users.

We want to do business better. We support local manufacture and have close, long-term relationships with our suppliers. Gender equality is close to our heart. We are female owned and the majority of our Leadership Team are women. We conduct peer reviewed Life Cycle Analysis of our products and make this research publicly available.

Our offices champion waste avoidance and we work with customers the world over to help them reduce single-use. Our Australian and UK offices are solar powered and we are members of 1% for the Planet, committing at least 1% of global revenue to environmental causes.

What makes you stand out from other companies?

We’re a campaign supported by a product. We’re a campaign for reuse, supported by millions of everyday changemakers the world over. Together we’re creating a world that no longer needs, wants or uses single-use cups.

Part of being Best For The World is striving to always use your business as a force for good. What initiatives do you have planned for the coming year to continue to be Best For The World?

As single-use legislation is increasingly adopted by local, state and national governments around the world, we will be advocating for reuse to drive this change. We will be working with cafes, roasters, corporates, universities and others to help them implement reuse campaigns and go single-use free.

We are proud to be the founding business partner of Planet Ark’s Circular Economy Hub to support the transition to a circular economy. The Hub will be launching in 2020 and will provide learning resources and tools as well as a B2B marketplace for recycled materials to help businesses become circular.

What advice do you have for other B Corps and purpose-led businesses that want to improve their impact?

Get more activist! We believe that better business is about looking at how you do business — product life cycle, environmental and social practice in your supply chain, etc. — and being a vocal advocate for change — partnering with like-minded organisations to amplify progressive social movements. We are in a time where action on climate change and biodiversity has never been more pressing. All of us must use our voice to press for urgent action and must analyse the way we run our own businesses to create positive change.

OORR sells athletic tops and cycling apparel made from recycled materials and BPA-free sports bottles made from sustainable sugar cane.

Overall + Environment: OORR

What makes your company Best For The World?

OORR exists to make a positive difference to the planet through performance wear. We manufacture the world’s most eco-friendly cycling and triathlon apparel using used coffee grounds and recycled materials.

We donate 50% of our profit to environmental causes and make a real impact on helping children in poverty. We also plant five trees for every garment we sell.

What makes you stand out from other companies?

We are proving to consumers that recycled or eco-friendly does not equal inferior, and by doing so are driving demand for more sustainable solutions in the industry. Becoming certified as B Corp validates our commitment and claims through their rigorous audit process, and being recognised and awarded as a Best For The World Honoree makes us very proud.

Part of being Best For The World is striving to always use your business as a force for good. What initiatives do you have planned for the coming year to continue to be Best For The World?

OORR is always exploring and researching innovative new fabric technology. In the coming year, we are looking to expand our range to include more sustainable high-performance fabrics, and a microplastics solution for our customers (and our oceans!).

What advice do you have for other B Corps and purpose-led businesses that want to improve their impact?

The best place to start if you want to improve your impact is the B Impact Assessment. Blast through the online assessment form, and this will basically give you a checklist or a road map to a better business. It’s a great way to identify some key areas of improvement you may not have previously considered too.

Honest to Goodness is an organic and natural food supplier that operates as a wholesaler, distributor and online retailer.

Changemakers: Honest To Goodness

What makes your company Best For The World?

We are in business to empower the community to make wholesome, sustainable and ethical choices that benefit both people and the planet. Although the most positive impact we make is through the products we select to have in our range, our major focus for continual improvement is around minimising our environmental impact and reducing the amount of waste we generate as a business. We are continuing our research and testing on home compostable packaging solutions for our products, and have also completely swapped out plastic bubble wrap for paper as protection in all of our shipper boxes. We know that every decision, whether big or small, is a step in the right direction and each day we continue to work closer toward our mission.

What makes you stand our from other companies?

As an industry leader in organic food and natural products, we believe we are responsible for setting an example of how it is possible to operate ethically and responsibly and yet still have a vibrant, healthy business and community. Certification as a B Corp in 2015 was an important step for us to really showcase our real commitment to operating a sustainable and ethical business.

Part of being Best For The World is striving to always use your business as a force for good. What initiatives do you have planned for the coming year to continue to be Best For The World?

We have managed to establish many sustainable practices in our everyday operations, but we acknowledge that being a sustainable business is always an ongoing project and one we are always trying to improve upon. As a focus we will continue our extensive research and testing with biodegradable and home compostable packaging as new technologies continue to evolve, with the biggest challenge being finding a packaging solution that has good oxygen barrier properties that will allow the food inside to remain fresh and tasty, free from pests and can be kept for an extended period of time.

What advice to do you have for other B Corps and purpose-led businesses that want to improve their impact?

You don’t have to be a big business to make a positive impact; you just need to make good choices all the time. It’s important to remember that every small decision for the right reason is a step in the right direction. Being a part of the B Corp community and being active at the community events is a great way to remain inspired and exposed to fresh ideas or perspectives. It’s a great opportunity to align with like-minded companies who share thoughts and ideas on how to do business better!

B the Change gathers and shares the voices from within the movement of people using business as a force for good and the community of Certified B Corporations. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the nonprofit B Lab.


Best For The World Companies Create Positive Impact for All Stakeholders was originally published in B the Change on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Originally posted on B the Change - Medium by B Lab Australia & New Zealand.


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