Why We Became a Certified B Corporation®
"This idea that business is somehow bifurcated from the rest of life, it has no responsibility to the environment, it has no responsibility to social good is total bullshit. It’s a totally outdated way of thinking about the world.” - Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario
When you think of iconic brands like Patagonia or Ben & Jerry’s, what comes to mind? Quality? Activism? Sustainability? Employee-friendly? All the above?
Maybe it’s something more personal, like “hope." An optimistic investment in the idea that business interests can work hand-in-hand with those of our community, and our planet.
Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s are trailblazers in this respect. Both were established with a sense of purpose. To make great products and to do good.
And, it paid off.
Research shows us that 81% of all consumers feel business should focus on positive social and environmental change. (Enso’s 2018 World Value Index). In fact, 78% of Americans now believe companies must do more than just make money. They must positively impact society (2018/Cone/Porter Novellie Purpose Study).
People want to work for, buy from, and invest in companies they believe in. They understand business can (and should) be a force for good.
Look around. We see this trend exploding within fashion, food, software, cleaning supplies, mattresses, finance, footwear, furniture, cosmetics, beer, and more. It touches almost every major goods and service industry in the world.
Except perhaps the largest; consumer technology.
This is where Nimble comes in. The beginning of our pursuit for B Corp™ Certification.
WHAT IS A B CORP?
Becoming a Certified B Corporation® is the most powerful way for a business to build credibility, trust, and value with its customers. It uniquely combines third-party validation (administered by the nonprofit B Lab), public transparency, and legal accountability.
This “new kind of business” is designed to balance purpose and profit. B Corps™ are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on all stakeholders including employees, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment.
The B Corp™ Certification process doesn’t just evaluate a product or service. It rigorously assesses the overall impact of a company, which is then made publicly available on bcorporation.net. B Corps™ must achieve a minimum verified score on the B Impact Assessment.
Out of the millions of companies around the world, only around 3,000 B Corp™ companies exist across 150 industries, and 64 countries. All with one unifying goal; to inspire other businesses by redefining success.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT TO NIMBLE?
We founded Nimble in early 2018. Prior to, we were fully immersed in the consumer electronics industry, having each played a role in building one of the biggest global brands in tech accessories. We knew the game. But, we felt it was beyond time it needed change.
For over a decade, we each attended the annual Consumers Electronics Show (CES) in Vegas. Regrettably, year after year, the silence around social and environmental impact became increasingly deafening. Sure, we discover all the latest tech specs and features. Minuscule upgrades to existing tech most consumers wouldn’t necessarily notice. Yet, as more and more products are announced and released each year, so is the woefully eco-unfriendly packaging that comes with it.
Discouraging? Yes. Irremediable? No.
To us, the change we seek is more than simply introducing cool new gadgets to maximize profits at any cost. We wanted to create a new kind of personal tech brand that aside from making excellent products, considered our impact on the environment, and people around us.
However, we knew we could only take this concept so far on our own. All the savvy marketing in the world couldn’t effectively communicate the level of commitment we built Nimble around. At least not in a way that builds genuine trust with our customers, and avoids the inevitable backlash label of “greenwasher.” We understood this required legitimate, respected third party validation, which only B Corp™ Certification could provide.
So on Day 1, we got to work.
THE "NIMBLE FILTER"
"80% of a product’s environmental impact is decided at the design stage."
Creating premium products is no easy task. Creating premium tech accessories using non-traditional materials? Even more challenging.
To take it a step further, we wanted to create positive impact by advocating for sustainable consumerism. Unfortunately, our industry pays little attention to what happens to all of these products when they are no longer needed, or become obsolete.
Truth is, electronics today represent the fastest growing stream of waste worldwide. About 50 million tons created, annually. That’s equivalent to the weight of all commercial aircraft built throughout human history! The equivalent to 4,500 Eiffel Towers. Enough to cover all of Manhattan (World Economic Forum - 2019). Every...single...year.
Our hypothesis was that by 1) adopting lower impact materials and production methods, 2) developing plastic-free packaging, 3) including an end-of-life recycling solution with every product, 4) elevating our employees pay and benefits structure, and 5) giving back a portion of profits to support those doing good, we could create a business model to help move our industry in a better direction.
Doing good is not charity. It’s better business. And it’s the responsible thing to do, for all stakeholders involved. Our guiding philosophy is centered around people working together to bridge the gap between consumers’ everyday modern needs, and those of the planet.
It also encourages continual improvement, as we condition ourselves to consider how every decision not only affects brand authenticity, but our position as an industry’s moral compass.
For example, in applying the so-called “Nimble Filter” across each area of business, we found new ways to reduce our manufacturing impact and shipping footprint by working only with suppliers and strategic partners who share our commitments.
Looking ahead, could we potentially take this approach beyond direct-to-consumer sales, and help advance progress at retail stores where tech is sold?
Obsessively hopeful, we envision a world where all personal tech is better, at all touch points, for all involved.
This is why Nimble is the first personal tech brand created for good by becoming a Certified B Corporation® and committing to 1% For the Planet.
Electronics and accessories, in general, are often important tools integrated into our society, for better or worse. Companies can either try to improve the processes by which these are manufactured and distributed, or not. We choose to work towards lessening the impact these tools create.
Ross, Kevin & Jon (Nimble Co-founders)