It’s not just a certification. Our business is our activism.
We’ve been quietly plugging away at this for over a year, and now, just as we turn the chapter on 2021, we’re so proud to announce: We’re officially a B Corp!
Certified B Corporations are social enterprise businesses that undertake a certification process to meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. It’s a lot of paperwork, and it’s a big deal for us.
But B Corp status is not about the “status” for us. It’s about giving our customers the trust and transparency they deserve. It’s about continuing to push ourselves in a mission-driven direction that makes clear that our business decisions are a form of social activism. It’s about harm reduction, and about joining forces with a community of 4,000 other companies using business as a force for good.
In retrospect, we’ve acted like a B Corp from the start—redistributing funds, reducing waste, trying to be fair to employees. But working to obtain the B Corp (a formidable undertaking for a teeny team like ours) gives us the evidence that we are in fact who we say we are. It’s validating for us, that we’re on the right track, and we hope it’ll be validating for you, that you’re investing your hard-earned cash in a business that has a value system that mirrors your own.
To quote a popular TV show (I’ll give you three guesses), “you deserve someone who makes you feel like you’ve been struck by f*&%ing lightning!” For us, going through the B Corp process is sort of about delivering on that feeling.
So without further preamble, here’s a bit of lightning from Jeff (they/them) and Tara (they/she), cofounders, on why B Corp, why now:
B Corp Talks About Its Impact On Workers, Community, Customers, And Environment. How Do You Think About These Categories?
We view them as entirely connected. Most of our choices come from a place of harm reduction. How do we produce something that is both less harmful; and more beneficial? This balance gives us the opportunity to not only reflect on the product we make, but on the entire way that we do business and create a workplace.
For example: how can a product be “sustainable” if it isn’t sustainable for the community where the business is located or the people from which the ingredients were sourced?
Why Did You Decide To Go This Route?
It’s really hard to define “ethical” to customers without sounding like you’re full of it. We didn’t want to have to be like, “take our word for it.” We wanted something concrete, and actually, we wanted to put in the work to make sure we were doing what we thought we were.
We are also such a small team—it is helpful to have someone from the outside take everything you’re doing into a broader context and reflect it back to you.
Lastly, I’ll say, we do want to grow and change, but we want to protect our mission as we do that. But how can you make sure of that as teams change and systems evolve? Well, B Corp will continue to be our mirror and our community. We can look to other B Corp businesses for inspiration and also to take collective action. It’s inspiring.
What Surprised You During The Process? Where Did MMT Excel And Where Did It Fall Short?
We did really well on the environmental impact assessments and fairly well for the community and our workers. Our bulk program, our sourcing, our workplace standards all played into that.
We needed a little more written material about our inclusivity standards and work culture and we needed to create a more comprehensive employment and training manual, too.
You’re measured on the previous year from when the certification happens, and we had a lot of pandemic-related layoffs that we lost points for. But in the years prior we’d had good employee retention, so the process helped us see where we wanted to be in that area when it’s time for recertification. It’s a good way of goal setting!
What Does B Corp Mean For MMT’s Future?
One of the things about this process was that it was incredibly labor intensive. Since we have a small team, we don’t have a regulatory department that tracks and records every single thing we do, so we basically do it as a team. Four people worked on the paperwork for the B Corp (led by our wholesale manager, Beatrice—thank you!), and through that work we set up systems so we can track more easily. This sounds super boring! But it means that when we work on small things, they now have the potential to snowball into a bigger impact.
One goal we have is to open a storefront and community center in our new home of Sacramento, California, so that we can more clearly be involved in our local community. We find the idea of local, micro, day-to-day impact to be the most exciting.
The Meow Meow Tweet Blog Is A Collaborative Thought Project Between The Founders Of Meow Meow Tweet And Our Editorial Team. This Post Was Written By Vera Kachouh.