Did you know that mountainFLOW is a certified B Corp? It's not something that we try and hide but it's definitely something that tends to fly under the radar. It's our way of committing to the most ethical and environmental practices that we can. If you've seen our socials channels, you'll know that we recently collaborated with other B Corp certified brands Wild Rye, Miir, Salsa Cycles, Surly Cycles, and Teravail Tires to host a B Corp Happy Hour at the 2023 Sea Otter Festival. The goal was to shed light on brands in the bike industry that are taking extra steps to be more transparent in their supply chains and more ethical in their business practices. To borrow from B Lab, the certifying body that oversees all active B Corps, these are brands that are using "business as a force for good."
But what does that mean, exactly?
Good question. There are three pillars that B Lab articulates as being integral to achieving B Corp certification:
- Demonstrate high social and environmental performance by achieving a B Impact Assessment score of 80 or above and passing the B Lab risk review. As mentioned, B Lab acts as the governing body that administers and certifies all prospective B Corp brands. In order to achieve certification, brands need to score at least an 80 on their assessment that examines supply chains, employment representation, waste production, and product impact, to name a few. Each category is then amalgamated into an impact score and if the brand scores higher than an 80, a B Corp certification is officially bestowed. However, that's not the end of the assessment. Each brand must then reapply every two years and must score progressively higher than the previous year in order to maintain current B Corp status. The reason for this is that brands need to always be improving; there is no room for a "set it and forget it" mindset.
- Make a legal commitment by changing their corporate governance structure to be accountable to all stakeholders, not just shareholders, and achieve benefit corporation status if available in their jurisdiction. This step represents an additional dimension of accountability by expanding the depth of a brand's responsibilities to be beyond just financial shareholders. Every consumer is a stakeholder in a company and this step obligates the prospective brand to take that into consideration during all steps of a customer's journey and beyond.
- Exhibit transparency by allowing information about their performance measured against B Lab's standards to be publicly available on their B Corp profile on B Lab's website. Much like the previous step, this visibility is another dimension of accountability that allows the brand's current status and impact score to be visible to anyone looking.
So let's look at mountainFLOW specifically. Since our founding, we have tailored our mission to align closely with B Lab's standards of being a B Corp and we have been an official B Corp since 2020. We have re-certified once now and have earned a higher score than during our initial round. We are currently sitting at an impact score of 102.4 and are already looking to exceed that during our next re-cert.