by Joseph Molloy October 06, 2023 3 min read
Our goal in starting Rumble in 2014 was to roast delicious coffee, support cafe owners, and treat coffee growers fairly. And that’s still what drives us today.
Coffee drying at Fazenda Pinhal, Brazil. Photo courtesy of Luciana Chein.
Many of the decisions taken in running a business are unseen and unrecognised. Making the right decisions is crucial to Rumble Coffee. We make choices that prioritise the planet or our people, even if they cost us money.
We discussed it many times over the years. What about B Corp? Should we do it? Could we? Some of our favourite businesses in Australia and New Zealand were certified B Corporations, so why shouldn’t we join them?
A B Corp, or Benefit Corporation, is a type of business that balances purpose and profit, striving for a positive impact on society, workers, the community, and the environment Unlike traditional corporations that prioritise shareholder returns, B Corps are driven by both mission and margin, holding themselves accountable to a broader group of stakeholders.
Coffee cherries at Fazenda Pinhal, Brazil. Photo courtesy of Luciana Chein.
What sets B Corps apart is the rigorous certification process. To become and remain a B Corp, companies must meet high standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability. This is verified through the B Lab’s scrupulous assessment, which scrutinises a company’s operations, supply chain, employment practices, and more.
The B Corp movement began in 2006 when B Lab, a nonprofit organisation, saw the need for businesses to play a meaningful role in addressing societal challenges. They aimed to change business's role by prioritising being the best for the world, not just the best in the world. The B Corp certification has since become a beacon for companies worldwide, signifying a commitment to larger social and environmental goals.
The mission is:Transforming the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet.
Pedro Gabarra, producer partner of 7+ years. Photo courtesy of Luciana Chein.
Since we began roasting in 2014, we’d thrown around the idea of going down the B Corp path. We admired many of the businesses that were B Corps and knew that their values aligned with ours.
We’ve always put the planet and people alongside profit when running our business. Our Transparency Project was our first step towards public accountability. Showing the world that we valued the tremendous work of coffee growers and that they needed to be rewarded more for their part in the global coffee supply chain. That led to our yearly impact reports where we reflected on everything we’d achieved that year, reported all the coffee we’d purchased and how we’d minimised our environmental impact.
When we looked further into becoming a B-Corp, we saw that we’d already started much of the process.
The paperwork! Like most small businesses Rumble prioritises operations over policies and procedures.
To become a B Corp, you start by working through the B Impact Assessment. This lets you evaluate your business against B Corp best practices in different areas. It also gives you a B Impact Score to let you know where your business sits. The average business scores 50.9, but to be a certified B Corp, you need to score 80 or above.
We scored above 80, so there weren’t massive changes we needed to undertake. But we needed to document everything we already did. From hiring and whistle-blower policies to codes of ethics and conduct, everything needed to be written up, reviewed and published. It took well over a year and there were moments we didn't think we'd get through.
We also needed to add a purpose clause to the trust deed of our business. That would ensure we were bound to continue putting people and the planet alongside profit.
We must continue to operate similarly and recertify in three years. Our overall B Impact Score is 85.7 and we will work to improve that next time.
Coffee seedlings at Fazenda Pinhal, Brazil. Courtesy of Luciana Chein
Our aim as part of the B Corp Community is to partner with companies with a similar mission and continue to live up to the B Corp standards.
We believe that business is a force for good when you focus on people, place and profit.
You can access our B-Corp profile here.
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