By now, we know that Certified B Corps come in every shape and size. They’re spread on your toast. Washing your hair. Doing your taxes. And manufacturing life-saving medical equipment. But what about purpose-driven pooches? With a movement now spanning almost 100 countries, and over 7,000 businesses, it was only a matter of time before dolphin-spotting dogs swam their way into the B Corp pool.
Proof that doing good doesn’t have to look ‘one way,’ meet these five newly certified B Corps, each adding their unique spin on what it means to be a ‘business for good’.
Purpose and planet — two ‘Ps’ in an Akaroa Dolphins pod
Akaroa Dolphins is a family-owned and locally operated enterprise providing nature cruises across the harbours of Aotearoa New Zealand on a modern and environmentally-conscious catamaran. Introducing guests to the majestic, but endangered, Hector’s Dolphin, as well as fur seals, white-flippered penguins, an array of seabirds, impressive sea caves, and volcanic formations — the team at Akaroa Dolphins really does go the extra mile.
Aided by their skilled and silky pawed dolphin-spotting dogs, Akaroa is dedicated to delivering an authentic, intimate, and luxurious nature cruise, all while maintaining a strong commitment to environmental protection and supporting the local community. Donating a portion of each cruise to dolphin research and education, this new B Corp believes:
“We have an obligation to this unique and special environment in and around Akaroa harbour. It is vital that our activities have a positive impact. We believe in thinking beyond short-term gains that may be detrimental to the planet, and focusing on long-term initiatives that enrich the environment and community for future generations.”
— Akaroa Dolphins
Started by founders, Hugh and Pip Waghorn, the business has been deeply rooted in the Banks Peninsula area near Christchurch (Ōtautahi) for several generations. Now supported by their two children and a dedicated team of 10 staff, they recognised the need for a laid-back nature expedition and deluxe nature encounter in and around Akaroa.
Image: Akora Dolphins
Joining the Tiaki Promise movement in 2019, which is a commitment to care for Aotearoa, giving back to the community has always been at the forefront for this newly Certified B Corporation. And it’s not just the community on land that they care about, beginning the journey of building Akaroa’s first purpose-built dolphin watching vessel in 2017.
“Other than being the most stylish and luxurious catamaran we have all dreamt about, this boat is also about enhancing the environment of the wildlife, especially Hector’s dolphins. Built of fibreglass foam construction, with an exhaust above the waterline, it aims to stop any transfer of noise to the dolphins.”
Add to that, an integral part of the team, which is Akaroa’s expert dolphin-spotting dogs — equipped with dog life-vests and a keen ear — this (dare we say it) porpoise-driven B Corp truly makes tours an unforgettable experience. Asked if they have any tips for aspiring B Corps on going about the certification process, they shared:
“Initially, the process seemed daunting, but we gradually made progress with collaborative efforts among our team members. We encountered thought-provoking questions, some of which hadn’t crossed our minds before. We used the B Impact Assessment as a tool for learning and understanding what we could do better, and went about making it happen. We are excited about the ongoing progression of our journey as a B Corp.”
— Akaroa Dolphins
Image: Akora Dolphins
Makers gon’ make with the Makers Empire
B Corp Makers Empire is a gamified 3D design software business helping to develop children’s spatial reasoning and design thinking skills. Used by primary, elementary and middle school teachers all over the world, this deeply innovative business is on a mission to improve student learning outcomes and engagement in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (STEM).
Guiding kids to become creators, innovators and problem solvers, so they can make their world a better place, the company was launched in Adelaide (Kaurna) in 2014, and has since impacted the lives of over three million students in over 50 countries, including over 500 schools in our region alone.
“Makers Empire has delivered STEM learning and 3D technology to groups of 200+ schools in Australia, the USA and the UAE. We are especially passionate about supporting students from regional, remote and under-represented communities. By partnering with schools, education departments, corporate sponsors, and trusts and foundations, we can create scalable and sustainable learning networks and deliver significant, demonstrable change.”
Recently launching their pioneering Kids in Space primary education program to 10,000 students and hundreds of teachers in schools across Australia, Makers Empire is fast-tracking children’s spatial reasoning skills, reducing STEM anxiety, developing creative confidence, and helping close the STEM gender gap.
“In the remote Northern Territory homeland of Nganambla, about 100 residents share a single payphone to make all their phone calls. But a group of three students from the local school are working to change that from inside the classroom…[with] access to 3D printing technology as a part of the Kids in Space national space education program.”
— Sarah Spina-Matthews (ABC News)
Image: Makers Empire
The three students, pictured above for ABC News, created a 3D-printed design for a piece of technology that would make it safer to cross the croc-infested Cahills Crossing. And for Makers Empire, there are thousands of stories just like it. With a focus on supporting those who traditionally experience barriers to accessing 3D design tools and learning programs, Makers Empire is seeing as many as 50,000 new designs being created every single day. The real world impact of their work on solving real world challenges, not just tomorrow but today, is mindblowing in and of itself.
“Globally, there is a shortage of STEM workers, hindering potential economic prosperity and innovation. Moreover, there is a sizable gender gap: women make up only 28% of the STEM workforce in America and 27% in Australia, with similar gaps in other countries. Makers Empire seeks to help solve these two problems.”
— Makers Empire
Utilising ‘design thinking’ — a non-linear, iterative and human-centred way of thinking and working that helps us to redefine and solve problems as opportunities — Makers Empire is proud to join the rapidly growing B Corp community.
“While most of us are parents with preschool or school-aged children, all of us are passionate about the work we’re doing. We believe that we’re helping today’s students — and our children — gain the skills, mindsets and dispositions they’ll need to thrive in the future.
Becoming a B Corp creates a new benchmark for our company, our schools, and our community and demonstrates our ongoing commitment to our social and environmental impact.”
— Makers Empire
Image: Makers Empire
In good company with RENY Studio
While Makers Empire utilises the principles of human-centred design to engage students in authentic, real-world problem solving, its fellow new B Corp, RENY Studio, calls itself a design agency for humanity.
Using purpose-led design to make a positive impact, their ‘human first, business second’ approach is something they would want to see become the norm in the business world:
“Technology is transforming the way we interact with the world, and we strive to use it to create positive change. We acknowledge the challenges that come with this change, such as climate change, inequality, and environmental degradation. At RENY, we are committed to being part of the solution by using our Good Company policy to promote social and environmental sustainability. We aspire to be the best design agency we can be, for humanity.”
— RENY Studio
Image: RENY Studio
Dedicating one in every five hours to Impact Projects focused on social causes and sustainability, circular economy, and responsible practices, RENY is also a committed member of 1% for the Planet. A global, remote-first borderless business focused on using design to help reshape the world, their dedicated team has spent the past decade building partnerships with some of the world’s biggest names in business, helping them push the boundaries of digital possibility.
“For us, putting people and their wellbeing at the forefront of all decisions is morally right and vital for creating sustainable and thriving organisations. Embracing this human-centric philosophy will lead to stronger relationships with stakeholders and contribute to a more equitable and compassionate global business landscape. Our commitment to this principle drives us to create purpose-led designs and strategies prioritising human experiences and positive impact.”
Demonstrating their ongoing commitment to sustainability and social responsibility, RENY has developed what they call a ‘Good Company Policy,’ which represents six key initiatives and help them ‘walk the walk’ on their unwavering commitment to people, the planet, and the economy.
With a publicly available Screening Policy and guides to shrinking your website’s carbon footprint, RENY is committed to “not just doing good ourselves but also partnering with clients who share our values.” Joining the ranks of the B Corp community is just one way that RENY is ensuring that they can truly be in good company and drive meaningful change for the better.
Image: RENY Studio
The beehive is truly buzzing now thanks to Comvita
Founded in 1974, Comvita is renowned worldwide for its high-quality Mānuka honey and bee consumer goods. With a team of over 500 globally, and operations across Australia, China, North America, South East Asia, and Europe, this newly Certified B Corp calls the Bay of Plenty in Aotearoa New Zealand, wā kāinga or home.
Comvita’s operations are, and always have been, centred around purpose: to work in harmony with bees and nature to heal and protect the world. To help live out that purpose, the team created a Harmony Plan, which focuses on creating a circular economy, setting science-based reduction targets, planting over two million native trees, and saving over 100 million preciously buzzing bees every year.
“As beekeepers, sustainability has always been deeply ingrained in our DNA. Even before climate change became a global concern, we recognised the vital importance of working in harmony with nature. Our core belief is that healing power can be found in the natural ecosystems that sustain us. For nearly 50 years, we have embraced this philosophy, nurturing our relationship with the environment.”
Taking its role as kaitiakitanga (guardians) for the bees seriously, the team at Comvita has implemented its own ‘Bee Welfare’ code, also delivering regular bee rescue and education initiatives like Saving the Wild and Save the Kiwi. Seeing their Harmony Plan like an ecosystem — working together to make a healthier, stronger whole — each segment creates a swarm of meaningful actions with measurable outcomes and far-reaching positive impacts, now amplified through their status as a B Corp.
Due to its complexity and business structure, the team had to complete two B Impact Assessments as part of the certification process. Prompting the company to really think globally and consider operations in all of its markets, both home and abroad, this extended process helped the team develop a clear roadmap of where it needed to get to, to successfully certify.
“B Corp certification is a journey. It has to be treated as a learning opportunity and a challenge to raise the bar higher on the standards an organisation sets itself. It is an opportunity for an organisation to recognise and celebrate what it is doing well, but also to acknowledge and identify the areas where improvement will be required. At Comvita, it stretched us to action improvements the company had been talking about for some time but had been putting off.”
Achieving B Corp Certification became a strong signal to their customers and stakeholders that they are serious about the commitments they make to responsible corporate practices. Wanting to hold themselves to a high bar of social wellbeing and environmental sustainability, while giving their eco-conscious customers peace of mind, earning the B Corp badge means they are more comfortable than ever that people know they are doing what they say they are doing.
Hoping to set an example for other companies looking to become more conscious of their influence on the world around them, they shared:
“This is a momentous milestone for us, and all of our team is extremely proud of achieving B Corp certification. It reflects our commitment to leave the world a better place and our inherent belief that purpose-led organisations are the way of the future; moving beyond simple profit and ensuring they are clear on how they can deliver a positive impact that benefits all people, communities, and the planet.”
Kicking major purpose goals with MI Global Partners
There are very few people across Australia and Aotearoa who weren’t entirely transfixed by the phenomenon that was the recent FIFA Women’s World Cup on our shores. The proof was in the numbers — sport is far more than just business, it can be a powerful vehicle for channelling passion and prompting social change.
Yet while we, as sport-loving citizens, attend matches, tick through turnstiles and tune into our TVs and streaming services, there are companies like MI Global Partners behind the scenes, making it all happen.
“Our purpose is to shape the world of Events, Sport and Place. We want to be more than a business. We want to leave an enduring impact on people’s lives and the planet and want to support our clients through a journey to do the same from event strategy, to feasibility, bidding, operational delivery, and post-event evaluation.”
— MI Global Partners
Image: MI Global Partners
Well before it won hosting rights, Football Australia drew on the expertise of management consultancy and newly certified B Corp, MI Global Partners, to assess and articulate the holistic economic and broader benefits of hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 and its associated Legacy Programs. While it might be a bit of a stretch to say that we have this B Corp to thank for that epic Sam Kerr goal in the semi-final against England, it’s not a stretch to say that sustainability is embedded in every decision MI Global Partners makes.
Their goal is fundamentally a simple one: to advance sustainable, innovative and technology-driven solutions to deliver the world’s best event, sport and place projects. From the Olympic Games to creating a Sustainable Event Blueprint for the Australian Government, MI Global Partners offers a suite of planet-conscious services designed to guide event organisers through every step of the journey.
“The urgency of the climate crisis has challenged us to broaden how we think about ourselves and the way we approach our business internally. Our journey started within, addressing the activities that make the biggest impact to the environment and understanding we effect change from the inside out.”
Going on the journey to becoming a B Corp helped their ‘small but mighty team’ to establish their credentials as responsible corporate citizens, while allowing them to examine the broader environmental, social and economic layers associated with doing the work they do.
“We are proud to bring our voice to this global community of B Corps, amplifying our participation as shapers and change makers of events, sport and place.”
— MI Global Partners
Image: MI Global Partners
Committed to bringing their collective expertise together across all project areas from inception to celebration, MI Global Partners used the B Impact Assessment as a “practical lens” to formalise many aspects of the business. From creating a dedicated purpose statement to formalising professional development programs and evaluating procurement policies, they embarked on the process by ensuring that any documentation and impact evaluation involved was spread as evenly across the business as possible.
“One of the very first things we did was to find internal champions for each area. This, in turn, was excellent for engaging and educating our staff throughout the entire process. Our advice would be: to be patient — it takes time. Use that time to evolve, to learn, to educate, to engage and to continuously improve business procedures, policies and monitoring. Don’t stop, this is a continuous journey.”
We couldn’t have said it any better. These five B Corps, and the thousands just like them in this rapidly growing movement, show us all every day just how powerful businesses can be in addressing the world’s most critical challenges. Harnessing the mechanisms of the market as a force for good, it’s testament to what can be achieved when a dolphin, a bee and a 3D printer truly put their minds to work.