Beyond B Corp: Creating Ecosystems of Positive Impact
Beyond B Corp @ Equinox Kombucha (Genevieve) When we at Equinox Kombucha set out on our journey to become a B Corp, we knew that this was a framework we could use to redesign our business from the inside out. We wanted to join a global community of ethical businesses, who are asking the difficult […]
Beyond B Corp @ Equinox Kombucha
(Genevieve) When we at Equinox Kombucha set out on our journey to become a B Corp, we knew that this was a framework we could use to redesign our business from the inside out. We wanted to join a global community of ethical businesses, who are asking the difficult questions of our times and working collaboratively together to find solutions in our local and national contexts.
For Equinox, our B Corp certification is just the beginning in our journey towards true sustainability in our business and for our community. We feel that it is important to continuously assess the key areas that we as an ethical, organic living drinks brand can influence and create positive impact within.
For example, we have always produced our drinks in glass and aluminium due to the complexity of the plastic recycling process. But when we started to look at the carbon footprint of glass vs. plastic, we can clearly see that glass production, recycling and waste have a much higher carbon impact than the same process for plastics. This is a complex issue that involves consumer perception and education, as well as operational decisions that impact the cost of goods and cost to produce our products. Ultimately, we have decided to stay with glass and aluminium due to the fact that in Europe and the UK, the recycling processes are pretty advanced and we are confident that less of our packaging will end up in landfills. This is a decision that feels right to us as a business and in alignment with our company values. If we were looking at this from a pure carbon perspective or through a cost price lens alone, we may have been making a different decision. But this is B Corp for me – we make decisions based on the needs of all our stakeholders, not just the needs of our bottom line. The two are inextricably linked of course.
True disruption takes collaboration
We pride ourselves on being a ‘challenger brand’, which means we strive to maintain the highest levels of transparency, sustainability and ethics that we are able to as we grow. Our mission is to disrupt the soft drinks market with the very best organic, sustainable drinks possible. However, ‘disruption’ is an easy word to say and not as straightforward to implement. Human behaviour takes time to change and is complex. Therefore, it would be arrogant to assume that one brand can be solely responsible for larger system shifts. But each of us can play our part. This is why we choose to partner with other positively ‘disruptive’ brands, like B Deals, who offer different sustainable solutions to our customers and communities.
People want to be offered new, ethical and sustainable alternatives to traditional products and services, but we need to make it easy for them to find these and understand what makes one offering truly sustainable and impactful, and another simply ‘greenwashing’ or nice marketing speak. B Deals is a great example of a platform that both showcases ethical brands and B Corps, as well as has the potential to be disruptive in terms of connecting like-minded and like-hearted brands together to innovate around social and environmental issues.
(Jonas) BDeals was founded with the goal to spread the word about B Corporations, their missions and the global movement as a whole. This has become our main goal and mission after we found out that although the B Corp community is growing significantly, it is not always very well known outside its own circles. A shame, because apart from the sustainability aspect, the intensive collaboration between B Corporations, in combination with the strong sense of community among them, offers many great (business) opportunities.
To achieve our main goal, we believe it would be best to unite B Corporations and bundle their unique missions and stories into one simple business concept to have as much impact as possible. Many ideas came along during our ‘initiation’ phase: from B Corp loyalty programmes to central commercial B Corp websites.
During this phase however, both of us (Jonas and Floris) were still students at university with time and budgetary constraints. As a result, we simplified our business ideas and simply put all B Corp products we knew in a left-over pizza box and that is how BDeals was born. With a slightly better box, we travelled through the Netherlands and visited a ton of B Corporations. Here, we pitched our idea for a B Corp-only gift company and started building our network of B Corp Partners.
Today, we have partnerships with 14 B Corporations, ranging from food companies, like Tony’s Chocolonely and Farm Brothers to Mini-wallet producer Secrid and impact crowdfunding platform Lendahand. Our partners are very diverse, both in terms of size as well as in the products/services they offer. As a consequence, their purpose and their stories also differ from one another, which is exactly what we look for.
We are happy with what we have achieved so far, but we aim to make much more of an impact and like Equinox Kombucha, we consider ourselves a ‘challenger brand’. We operate in a very saturated and mature market with fierce competition where fundamental change can be hard to implement among established and more traditional players.
However, when it is one’s goal to bring about fundamental change, it is crucial to collaborate with as many true disruptors, like Equinox Kombucha, as possible. We therefore consider our gifting business as a means to an end. It is our ultimate goal to set up a large-scale B Corp marketplace where aligned B Leaders and B Corporations can do business together and support one another for the greater good: creating positive impact.
For now, we continue to expand our network of like-minded people that use business as a force for good and look for ways to come one step closer to reaching this ultimate goal.
Genevieve Boast has an extensive background in mainstream media and entertainment and specialises in the fields of change management, corporate social investment and cultural transformation. In 2018, Genevieve started working at Equinox Kombucha as a sustainability professional and storyhacker where she’s responsible for embedding ethical, regenerative principles into the DNA of the organisation.
Jonas van West is a recent MSc Finance & Investments graduate with a passion for social, regenerative entrepreneurship. In 2021, Jonas co-founded BDeals, a sustainable gift company that only works with B Corp Certified companies and products. It is BDeals’ ultimate mission to set up a large-scale deal platform where aligned leaders and companies can do business and support each other for the greater good: creating positive impact.