Fairphone earns B Corporation Certification

It’s official! Fairphone is now a Certified B Corporation. With this new certification, Fairphone has joined a community of over 1,000 companies that have also been certified to show that they are using their businesses to address social and environmental issues.

Fairphone earns B Corporation Certification

It’s official! Fairphone is now a Certified B Corporation. With this new certification, Fairphone has joined a community of over 1,000 companies that have also been certified to show that they are using their businesses to address social and environmental issues.


What is a B Corp?

Certified B Corporations are for-profit organizations that meet a high standard of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability. The ‘B’ in B Corp stands for ‘benefit’. You can compare it to a Fair Trade or organic certification, but for an entire organization, as opposed to a single product.

B Corp certification highlights companies that consider the impact of their decisions not only on their shareholders, but also on their stakeholders, including workers, suppliers, community, consumers, and the environment.

To become a B Corporation, a company must complete an in-depth impact assessment. Those who score high enough are eligible for certification.

 


B Corp Anthem – B The Change

 

How a B Corp differs from a social enterprise

From the beginning, Fairphone has been structured as a social enterprise. Social entrepreneurship means that they are employing commercial strategies to influence social and environmental improvements. Fairphone's commitment to making an impact is central to the mission of their business. They are a for-profit company, but are channeling these profits into projects that support their mission – Fairphone is not making a profit simply to satisfy external shareholders. However, in the Netherlands the term social enterprise has no legal implications and its use is not controlled by a governing body or third-party organization.

In contrast, B Corp is an internationally recognized certification which is overseen by B Lab, an independent non-profit organization. There is a consistent set of parameters used to evaluate all potential B Corps, and once a company has been certified, it must be reviewed every two years to ensure it still qualifies for B Corp status.

In addition, B Corp offers a formal framework for making improvements and benchmarking progress, plus other benefits like community events, a job board and access to a network of peers with similar values. And because anyone can view the impact report, it offers greater transparency into how Fairphone runs their business.

 

Joining the ranks of a responsible business network

One of the reasons that Fairphone applied for B Corp certification was to join a network of like-minded businesses that are dedicated to influencing social and environmental change. At the moment, Certified B Corporations include 1,287 companies and 41 countries and represent 121 different industries. They are one of the 35 Certified B Corps in the Netherlands, along with well-known names like Tony’s ChocolonelyTriodos BankDopperWakaWaka andSnappcar. Worldwide, B Corp members include established innovators like PatagoniaBen & Jerry’sEtsy andWarby Parker. You can find the full list of certified companies on the B Corp website.

Being part of this select group gives Fairphone the opportunity to share inspiration and best practices, and potentially even find new partners to help them further their objectives. More importantly, Fairphone is now part of a movement that’s filled with positivity and smart ideas. In April, they participated in B Lab’s European launch in Amsterdam. 

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Fairphone celebrating with other B Corps at B Lab’s European launch in Amsterdam

 

 Fairphone's impact assessment score

The first step to becoming a B Corp is completing the ‘B Impact Assessment’. The highest possible score is 200, and you need a minimum score of 80 to be eligible for B Corp certification. Fairphone's final impact report score was 104.

The impact assessment is very detailed, covering questions in five key areas: governance, workers, community, environment and impact business models. It includes everything from high-level values, ambitions and business practices to very specific details like employee benefits, recycling habits and even the type of cleaning products used at the office!

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Fairphone impact assessment score

 

 

Going forward: A guided approach to improve performance

To maintain a B Corp status, Fairphone needs to complete the impact assessment every two years. Compared to the median scores, they are already doing quite well, but there is certainly room for improvement. Fairphone expects that their plans for their value chain interventions, HR policies and greener office ideas will boost their future performance.

As completed the initial assessment, each question provides indicators to help determine how you could do better. For example, some things Fairphone is already doing in practice, but doesn’t yet have documents in place that explain their policies. In addition, it helped them to pinpoint specific issues that they are not yet addressing, like tracking their energy consumption and making more sustainable lunch choices that generate less waste.

Overall, being a Certified B Corporation will help guide Fairphone as they grow and mature. It will enable them to refine their business model, better define their internal policies and more successfully measure their impact.