Years before I joined the Framme team, I lived in Melbourne, Australia. During the spring of 2014, I attended the City of Melbourne’s Knowledge Week to listen to many inspiring presentations about the Future of Business. One of them was held by B-Lab, the non-profit organisation behind the B Corporation movement.
I had never really heard about them before but was keen to learn why fantastic brands like Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s had joined this global movement of using business as a force for good. From the first minutes, I was blown away.
What if business leaders can more formally take action to improve local communities? Support under-represented business owners and provide their team members great benefits? And operate more sustainably than the local or global legislation requires?
What if businesses don’t only focus on generating profit for their stakeholders but also act as drivers to push change in societies, all as part of their corporate purpose?
After those 90 minutes, I kept thinking how amazing it would be to work for a B Corp someday. Work for a business that wants to do good things, be transparent, sustainable and more inclusive. Work for an organisation that has a purpose bigger than just making money.
A few years went by fast. Every now and then, I would talk over the phone with my friend Marko, the founder of Framme, about work and life. Differences between Melbourne and Stockholm where Marko had just moved to expand Framme. Suddenly, things moved forward quickly in a direction I didn’t see coming and I moved back to the Nordics to work full-time with Framme.
With it, the initial thought of how amazing it would be to work for a B Corp changed. Instead of working for a B Corporation how amazing would it be to be part of creating a B Corp? Turn Framme into a business that balances between purpose and profit.
Answering many of the B Corporation impact assessment questions really helped us become a better company. A good company.
In 2019 we decided to take the leap and work towards getting a B Corp certification. We started documenting and tracking everything: our supply chain, our projects and productions on a line-item level, materials we use and disposal of those items, our employee handbook, internal policies and governance to provide evidence for the B Corp certification.
Over the next months Pauli, Marko, Tiia (an ex-colleague of ours) and I went through over 200 impact assessment questions across governance, workers, community, environment and customer categories. Questions that immediately helped us to improve as a company and moved us one step closer to fulfilling our dream.
In May 2020 we were ready to submit our application and did so whilst crossing all possible fingers and toes. Bloody hell we were nervous. Did we get everything right? Would we get enough points to gain certification?
Turns out we would have plenty of time to keep ransacking ourselves for answers to those questions. Over the next few months we came to realise that getting a B Corp stamp wasn’t a quick process.
As we grew over a threshold of +10 employees we had to revise some of our answers. When we wanted to extend the certification to both countries (Finland and Sweden) where we operate we had to revise again. Additional questions, documentation and evidence. Multiple phone calls with the B Lab team to discuss our business and the way we do things.
Sustainability is a moving target. What we consider sustainable today, might not be sustainable in the future. That’s why we need to keep improving.
As we waited, updated, discussed (and worried), we continued to walk the talk. We employed our first Sustainability Manager, refined our targets, created measurable sustainability criteria and improved our data tracking systems. We continued to train our staff, review our supply chain and dig into the details of the materials of the products and productions we were offering.
Kaboom. In August 2021, we finally got news from B Lab. The day I had been dreaming about since 2014 was finally here. We passed! With great pride that I can finally say that Framme now is a certified B Corporation! Second in Finland across all industries. Sixth in Sweden across all industries. A pioneer across all physical marketing production and distribution companies in Europe. Amazing.
We achieved a huge milestone in August. We won’t be stopping our journey now though. Dreams change and evolve. At Framme, we recognise that sustainability is a continuously moving target. What we consider sustainable today may not necessarily be considered sustainable in the future.
We can now track all our projects’ sustainability and impact on a line item level. We can use this data to help our customers make tangible improvements on their physical marketing productions and logistics.
We continuously need to improve how we work. Educate our staff and customers to make smarter and more sustainable decisions. We need to remain open to change, to learn and to grow. Our quest to help existing and future clients to build kickass experiences and connections with their customers and stakeholders in an increasingly sustainable way continues and I can’t wait to see some of the changes we’ve made come to life.
Whilst we’re excited about getting the B Corp stamp of approval, we know this is just the beginning. For us, this is not only a tick in the box exercise.