We’re delighted that Sustained Fun is now a certified B Corp! This means that we’ve met high environmental and social standards and have a business structure that legally protects social and environmental performance as well as profit. We’re joining over 6,000 other companies from around the world who are redefining business-as-usual and saying that how we treat people and protect the environment is as important as profit.
Why B Corp?
Less than 2 years ago when we were setting up Sustained Fun we looked at many different certification programmes. Most only cover one aspect of environmental or social concern and many are aimed at large companies. As a startup with limited resources, we only wanted one certification and needed something that would be suitable for a small company but would still be relevant as we grew. We wanted a programme that reflected, and held us accountable, to our values.
We chose B Corp because it covers all of these things. It’s suitable for companies with no employees (like us) as well as multi-national corporations. The B Corp assessment process is rigorous and robust and embeds sustainability at the core of business. Because it assesses four key areas: governance, community, environment and customers (as well as workers if you have staff) it covers everything included in other certification programmes.
Why does it matter?
The world is in a biodiversity and climate crisis. We’ve created and condoned an economic system that entrenches inequality, prioritises shareholder returns and doesn’t consider the finite resources on which we’re attempting to build an infinite growth system. The major cause of climate change is overconsumption and unchecked economic growth which is making a few people rich at the expense of the environment and most of the population. This is a situation that is impossible and immoral to sustain. Protecting the environment is not a ‘nice to have’, it’s essential for our own survival.
Businesses are at the heart of this system and so need to be at the forefront of overhauling it. It’s not enough to make little changes: planting trees, offsetting carbon or donating to charity. Instead we need to embed people and the environment at the core of business - in how it’s governed, in who’s considered a stakeholder and in how daily decisions are made.
B Corp provides a way to do this through the requirement to protect social and environmental performance over time. This means that even if there’s a change in management, or investors come on board, or we sell the company, it must continue to operate so that social and environmental good is equal to profit.
Because of B Corp we have written a legally binding company constitution that states The purpose of the Company is to deliver return to shareholders whilst having an overall positive impact on society and the environment.
Using B Corp as a framework to establish Sustained Fun.
Using the B Corp certification process as a framework for building our business has been a massive advantage. It’s much easier to embed social and environmental priorities from the first day of operation rather than try to retrofit them down the line.
Working through the B Corp assessment has helped us develop the policies that Sustained Fun is founded on.
When my co-founder Anthea and I conceived the idea for Sustained Fun we asked ourselves the following questions: “What type of business are we going to be? What is important to us? How can we make sure we keep doing good as we grow? How can we be held to account? How can we protect our values as more people come on board? How can we balance our sustainability and business goals? How can we run a business making products when consumption is the biggest environmental problem? How can we avoid misunderstandings between ourselves?”
Establishing Sustained Fun in line with the external standards of B Corp helped us formalise the answers to these questions and balance purpose with profit.
Purpose-led businesses, like Sustained Fun, always have the potential to be too idealistic. The B Corp standards helped us to think about which of our ideals should be enshrined at the heart of the business and which should be more flexible and open to change over time.
On the flip side growing businesses have the potential to lose sight of their founding values, especially as more people come on board. Establishing the areas where we will not negotiate and writing these into formal policies has made us really think about what we hold most dear and has given us the confidence that we can hold true to these values no matter how large the company gets.Sustained Fun is a purpose-led company. We exist to develop children’s toys, games and activities that reduce rubbish, address climate anxiety in children and catalyse sustainable change in the toy industry. We want to operate at the highest ethical and environmental standards and be a force for good in the world. The BCorp certification allows us to formally embed these values at the heart of Sustained Fun and we’re so pleased to be a part of a community of people who also believe that together we can transform the meaning of business-as-usual.