What does it mean to be a sustainable business? Is a triple-bottom line a type of scale or an actual business model? How can consumers, clients, and customers really know what’s going on with the businesses they’re supporting anyways?
It can be a backwards upside down world, where major chains open up small shops that masquerade as independent businesses, where farmers’ markets feature resellers disguising imported veggies as their own produce (yuck), and where greenwashing doesn’t refer to an eco-car-wash, but something quite the opposite.
Thankfully it is possible to see through all this, so long as you know where to look. These days one of biggest ways for-profit companies are being recognized for their legitimate social and environmental contributions is through the not-for-profit B-Corporation Certification. To be a B-Corp certified business is to actually prove good environmental and social practices according to clearly defined criteria.
The Gladstone Hotel just went through B-Corp’s Certification process, and is one hotel among Toronto companies of all stripes who are committing to social and environmental responsibility.
Here are five local companies who are doing super cool and exciting work that has lead them to take the B-Corp Declaration of Inter-dependence:
BullFrog Power: Remember when their eye-catching signs started popping up on lawns around Toronto? A lot has happened since then, with Ontario no longer burning coal and adding wind farms over the years, but there’s still a very long way to go for renewable energy. A clean energy company is the first thing that comes to mind when talking about environmental businesses, so we just had to give BullFrog a shout-out for their work in supporting renewable energy over the years. They’re even creating power from zoo poo now. Yes, that’s exactly what you think it is, and it’s awesome.
Encircled: While the labour practices of clothing companies often come under scrutiny, the impact of textiles on the environment can be easily overlooked. But hopefully that’s changing, and local clothing companies like Encircled are showing us how fair wages are also good for the planet; their ethically made clothing has just earned them a B Certification in 2018!
High Park Brewery: We as Canadians drink A LOT of beer per capita (no citation needed), which makes this an area consumerism where a lot of positive impact and progress can be made. Ontarians have done well by supporting one of the most effective can and bottle recycling systems in North America, but we can go further by further encouraging businesses like High Park Brewery who are following environmentally and socially responsible processes to make the suds we hold so dear.
Propellor Coffee Co.: We also drink a lot of coffee (duh), so it’s equally important to support roasters and coffee shops that are doing right by the beans. Propellor Coffee Co. have won awards for their deliciously sustainable coffee, and if you have yet to check out their coffee shop, you’re missing out! Tucked away just around the corner from Lansdowne Subway, this beautifully lit space is hands down one of the best places to work away from the office.
Ramp Agency: Ethical companies need ethical marketing. Remember at the beginning when I mentioned greenwashing? Well it’s good to know there are agencies like Ramp who don’t do that. What they actually do is make compelling ad campaigns for critical organizations like the Daily Bread Food Bank, CAMH and Sick Kids.