B Corp Movement is the coexistence of profit and shared well-being By Valeria Boi
As Her-Age is constantly working to take the measures and performance required to obtain a B Corp Certification, our team has also interviewed an expert's opinion to let you discover more about this approach and its importance for achieving a sustainable business model.
In this historic moment many things are happening: pollution, climate change, exploitation of workers and raw materials. Despite the awareness that all this is harming the planet and society, there is a lot to do to save this situation and what is needed now is a radical change in how the business is conceived.
In a world guided by a business model where the purpose of most companies is to maximize their profits because they measure their success in terms of earnings, however many other companies are also working to use their business as a force for good, thus B Corp is the new model that more and more companies aspire to.
B Corp literally stands for Benefit Corporation, the certified company that meets the highest standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and legal commitment in order to contribute to the change of the culture and the economic system.
Sustainability and equality have to be the main values of a business, something to truly believe in, not just a value to refer to from time to time, but the foundation on which to build the company. That’s what B Corp companies are doing with their virtuous business model based on circularity, able to inspire communities and other companies.
Her-Age has interviewed Francesco Girone, Head of Global Communications & PR at Vestiaire Collective, the first second-hand fashion platform to have achieved the B Corp certification to discover how it was evaluated and how the B Impact Assessment measures the risks of factors.
As a B Corp company, what type of sustainable commitments do you have to make ?
We're proud that we're the world's first B Corp fashion resale platform! It's a huge step in our ongoing mission to transform the fashion industry, and we want the whole fashion ecosystem to join us. B Corp is a demanding certification that evaluates our social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability, involving over 300 questions about everything we do - from our team's working conditions to our carbon footprint. Today, business must be a force for good. B Corp demonstrates that we at Vestiaire Collective care as much for the planet as we do for our people and our profits.
How has Vestiaire Collective’s communication strategy been aligned with high-impact sustainability after becoming a member of B Corp ?
Vestiaire Collective has sustainability at the heart of all its actions since its inception, including communication. Sustainability is one of the four company pillars so this is not a trend for us but it is part of our DNA. Since we joined B Corp, we built a strong relationship with the organization, learning from them and its community as well as sharing our projects. Now we’ve achieved this status, change does not end but it is a continued journey within B Corp in all the areas.
What are the measures you took to adapt and advance your performance requirements to obtain a B Corp Certification ?
B Corp assesses a company’s impact in five key areas – governance, workers, community, environment and customers – with brands required to meet a minimum standard in order to get the certification. It took only 1 year to obtain the coveted B Corp certification after a rigorous process. It demonstrates the quality of the work and commitment of our teams, community, partners, and our investors.
During B Corp certification the entire company’s social and environmental impact was measured. As a company, Vestiaire Collective had to demonstrate high performances, making concrete changes from operation to logistics, marketing, IT legal and other departments.
Vestiaire Collective has a virtuous business model thanks to its circularity. But, our S&I team worked on a long-term Sustainability & Inclusion roadmap in order to reduce the existing carbon footprint emissions and become the leading sustainable fashion tech platform. Achieving B Corp status was one of the key roadmap pillars.
It's a huge step and we’re excited and honored to be part of a pioneering community that so closely aligns and is beneficial for all the members by sharing ideas and potential solutions for a more sustainable future.
Did the community of Vestiaire Collective show high interest regarding becoming a part of B Corp ?
Yes, we received good feedback since the beginning even though the awareness of B Corp is still growing day by day. This recognition is more evidence that we can make it. We are extremely honored to join a growing and pioneering community and we hope it is only the beginning of a broader move that will trigger even more commitment among our industry and community of fashion lovers. In fact, Vestiaire Collective is strongly committed to continuing to drive change with its community of 23 million members and has developed features and incentives to encourage virtuous, circular behavior. Our community is not only our buyers and sellers but also brands, institutions, NGOs and policy makers - we can all together accelerate the promotion of a circular fashion economy.