Celebrating B Corp Month: Freestar
Freestar are a fantastic brand that make alchohol free beer. They manage to make it 0% by using a blend technique which helps ensure that the beer has a 90% smaller carbon footprint. They were awarded B Corp status at a similar time to Leo's Box and offer mentoring services to try and give back.
What made Freestar become a B Corp?
B Corp has been something we first started talking about when we came up with the idea of Freestar back in 2017. It started with the desire to build a company we could be proud of. That meant running our business in the most environmentally and socially responsible way we could, and to be as transparent about it as possible. We reckoned the best way of doing that was through the B Corp framework, as their tests are completely independent and super-rigorous. They make you consider every aspect of your business and make hard choices that are often not the cheapest - this is about putting our money where our mouth is.
How does it change the way that Freestar works on a day to day basis?
Being a B Corp forces you to consider every business decision's impact. Sometimes that means you end up making commitments that are not the most economical. i.e choosing a supplier that may be more expensive but has a more positive impact on the planet. Being a business with a heavy, physical product that we ship across the country we are ultra conscious about our impact and our B Corp antenna is alerted multiple times a day and guides our choices.
How has B Corp provided a framework to improve Freestar's impact?
Probably one of the most useful aspects of the B Corp framework is the flexibility it allows business to improve. As a tiny startup we would struggle to make the MOST eco-conscious decision at every turn (we can not mandate electric vehicle deliveries from our courier for example) but the way B Corp structures the system allows for that. The most important thing is that you strive to improve your score in that area in two years time when they re-audit the business. This creates a culture of continuous improvement whilst also allowing businesses flexibility.
What advice would you offer to companies attempting to become a B Corp?
Clearly the size of your business makes a big difference to the undertaking of becoming a B Corp but if a business is looking for a smart and structured way to leave a positive impact on the planet and their community then in my opinion becoming a B Corp is the number one way to do that. It is stringent and hard work so I would advise they dedicate one person or team to the process. I would also advise they reach out to a) B Lab Uk for guidance - who are amazing - and b) peers in their industry who have gone through certification themselves. We at Freestar are very available and open to anyone in the food and drink world who wants to chat through the process. Feel free to drop me a line anytime firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you believe that B Corps are offering a better direction for sustainability?
Yes I think it's the clearest way for businesses and consumers to decide if a business is built sustainably. As momentum around the movement grows, the more the awareness grows, and that helps validate the certification. So I'd highly recommend it as any business's chosen path to being a more sustainable operation. Not only that but it also represents a clear sales and marketing opportunity. It might seem controversial to say it but B Corp themselves are fully supportive of the fact and encourage B Corps to promote one's certification for those reasons. Afterall the fundamental belief here is that for-profit businesses can AND need to have a bigger positive impact on the world than any other.
01 Mar 2022