We are proud to officially announce that Picture has earned B CORP certification, the highest distinction today for companies committed to making environmental and social responsibility a core part of their business operations.
Using the power of business to build a better world? Making the connection between the two is not always obvious or an easy task. Companies clearly have an impact on the environment and create repercussions for every stakeholder: employees, consumers, factory workers, partners, etc.
In today’s world, it is important for companies to adopt a sustainable approach to their business. Traditional models of production and consumption no longer apply. Only a long-term vision and approach are acceptable given the serious environmental issues currently facing society and our planet.
The United Nations set 17 goals to provide a comprehensive definition of sustainable development.
Overall, these goals can be broadly applied to business, commerce, and industry, as well as to a company’s overall sphere of influence.
Beyond marketing and the product and/or service offering, how can a company assess its overall commitment, and prove that it has implemented a truly sustainable approach to business?
We asked ourselves this question, and B CORP certification provided the answers we were looking for.
Created in 2006, B CORP certifies companies that integrate social, societal, and environmental objectives into their mission statement, their business model, their human resources, and their products and/or services. B CORP certified companies are not looking to be the best company IN the world, but rather they strive to be the best company FOR the planet.
Using business as a force for good, this is the perfect way to define B CORP.
In just over 10 years, B CORP has set the standard. For sustainable and responsible companies, B CORP certification is currently the most stringent and difficult certification to obtain.
The questionnaire (approximately 200 questions) is open source and available on the internet so that companies can easily perform their own assessment. The assessment scrutinizes every aspect of the company’s performance with regard to the environment, workers, governance, communities, and customers. Each question attributes a certain number of points. The exactness required and the wide range of topics covered forces a company to bring its entire staff together to gather the necessary information.
80,000 companies from all over the world have completed the online assessment. For the time being average score is only 50.9 points.
If a company scores more than 80 points after performing a self-assessment, it can apply to undergo an official audit. B Lab, the non-profit organization behind the B CORP label, manages this long and demanding process. After the audit, if a company’s final score exceeds 80 points, it receives certification. Our final score after the audit: 85.4 points.
While still relatively unknown known in France, enthusiasm for B CORP certification has grown exponentially among companies in North America. Patagonia, certified since 2011, received one of the high scores among the B CORP community and serves as the unofficial standard bearer. B CORP is also the model certification label that many public and international institutions look for when working with companies.
For us, B CORP certification reinforces our credibility, acknowledging and rewarding the efforts Picture has made from the beginning, in 2008. However, it is not the end of the road! The extremely high standards and transparency of scores certified companies received, allows us to compare and define those areas where we need to improve. We view certification as validation of what we have already implemented as well as a fantastic way to identify the areas of improvement, providing us with a great roadmap for future actions and programs.
For example, at Picture, our environmental score is relatively high thanks to the fact that our entire range of products is made with organic, recycled, certified, and toxic-free materials. However, we clearly lack data and a full assessment for our true carbon footprint, as well as how much water and energy we consume. The B CORP assessment highlighted these deficiencies.
This is now one of our high-priority projects.
In the end, this coincides with our goal of wiping out all use of fossil fuels (oil, coal, natural gas) in every aspect of our company’s business. Bringing our partners and other stakeholders on board will help a great deal in the fight against climate change.
Once a company receives certification, nothing is set in stone. It has three years to implement new programs and to improve before undergoing a second official assessment. The requirements to maintain B CORP certification become more stringent over time. In the end, for us, the continuous improvement process proves more motivating than certification itself.
At this point in time, the B CORP community is active in 71 countries, with more than 3100 certified companies from all industries rallying together around a single objective: to use business as a force for positive change throughout the world.
Learn more about our commitment to the environment and labor: