Whoopee! The champagne cork emojis are really popping in the Wilding team chat right now. But what happened?
IT’S BEEN SUBMITTED! (Pop!)
What do you mean “it”?
The application for the Wildling B Corp certification, of course! (Hurray!)
Application? B what?
I know, I know. That might sound a bit cryptic at first, and maybe even a bit boring. But that’s not the case at all. Really, it’s not! (Pop!)
We’d better start from the very beginning. Let’s settle the most important question first: Who or what is this legendary “B Corp” anyway?
To put it briefly, it’s a certification based in the US.
And to be a little more specific, it’s a certificate for which a company is evaluated in terms of how and where it stands and the good that it does. Not for its own profit, but for everyone who has something to do with the company and whom it influences in one way or another: employees, customers, partners, suppliers and, most importantly, the environment.
In a nutshell, the B Corp certificate confirms that a company is doing the best it can to do good.
Okay. Got it. And what do we really need it for at this point? It's enough when you know yourself that you're one of the good guys-
True, in a way. But “being one of the good guys” has to be defined somehow. And B Corp certification does that in a really comprehensive way. Every single aspect is scrutinized, every area, every stakeholder. Everything. And that’s a good opportunity to re-examine yourself, to reassess, to keep thinking things through.
Okay. Got it. Any more reasons?
You bet! A very important one: Many of the companies that the fox has long admired and looked up to as role models for sustainability and leadership are certified B Corps – for example, the great outdoor company Patagonia. On top of that, there are companies that Wildling Shoes works with (like the tree-planting search engine Ecosia and Rifó, an Italian company that produces recyclable fashion). And because we have a relatively ambitious goal (to save the world) and because it’s better to work together than on your own, it’s important to us to be part of this network. It’s almost like being part of the Justice League. Or the A-Team. Or yeah, playing in the certified B Corps league. (Ta-dahhhh!)
Yes, you do make a good point with the whole A-Team thing, that sounds convincing to me. But what about all this "good guys" stuff, who defines that?
Good question! And that’s where the definitions do indeed vary somewhat. For instance, some subdivisions of Danone are also certified B Corps. And sadly, that company isn’t exactly making headlines for its sustainability efforts. At the same time, though, part of the point is also that companies can change and want to do so. Just like people. And foxes. Because it’s the people who make up a company. And the foxes. Ummm, yeah. Okay. What else do you want to know?
For one, what do you have to do to get the certificate? Stop by somewhere? Call? Hope for proper planet alignment when the clock strikes twelve?
Nope, it’s not that simple. The application process took nearly two years (pop!) and more than once in that time we were on the verge of just throwing in the towel. The fact that the application has now been submitted on time is thanks to the momentum generated by Team International and the work of People & Culture, the Supply Chain Team, and Team Positive Impact, who have taken every opportunity to hone, tweak, and polish (and sometimes jackhammer) the exhaustive application. And that deserves a confetti cannon at the very least, because while other companies have a dedicated team to handle the process, the Wildling application was prepared alongside each team’s day-to-day work.
So shmo! Preparing the application was a bit like untying the Gordian Knot (a very, very, very knotted knot) without a sword. There were a lot of different sections that required different data from different teams. Some of the questions were very specific to the US, and some of the data these questions required is not even allowed to be collected under German law. That’s where it became clear that B Corp certification is still in its infancy as far as Europe is concerned. On top of that, Wildling continued to grow during those two years, which meant that we constantly had to take new evaluation parameters into account. In some cases, we had to start all over again. That can drain your energy and your bandwidth, to be sure.
Yeah, that sounds exhausting! And now, what happens next? Non-stop party in the Slack channel?
Nope, now we keep going. (Very faint, sheepish cork pop sound)
Huh? I thought-
Nah, that was just the beginning. Of course, we want to become even better, to change even more. B Corp measures that with a score. And here’s where the fox gets a B Corp in its bonnet (and yes, so do the Wildling teams): Every topic and every area can be improved, we can always walk even further along on the road to becoming a truly sustainable and socially “good” company. And luckily, we happen to know a thing or two about walking...
Sounds really beautiful, and even a bit romantic-
It does, doesn’t it?
But that was just the application so far, right? You don't have the certificate yet-
Thanks for the reminder. No, it’s true though. That was an important, major step. And a pretty exciting one. But it’s not in the bag yet. B Corp will have follow-up questions, there will be interviews regarding each of the areas, and all the information will need to be documented-
Yes, but for Wildling Shoes this is also an excellent opportunity to take a good hard look at itself. It will probably take months before we get certified, but the important thing is this: Getting started and getting going. We are on our way and that feels amazing!
Well then, run wild, I'd say!
Exactly! Run Wild!
(Pop, pop, popppppp!)
Cover image: Maria Herzog - die.wildnis.in.uns