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Why Nisolo Is A Top Rated Certified B Corporation

Meeting The Highest Standard for Social & Environmental Responsibility

Nisolo has been B Corp Certified since 2017, and we’re now rated #1 among all leather goods companies and top 3 in footwear.

What's B Corp Certification

Nisolo has been B Corp Certified since 2017. B Corp Certification is the most rigorous and holistic 3rd party verification in existence today. Certified B Corporations meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. Focusing on using business as a force for good, B Corps embrace a new way of doing business that envisions a more inclusive, equitable, and regenerative planet and economy.

What Does It Take To Become A Certified B Corp?

Certifying as a B Corporation goes beyond a product or service-level certification. It’s the only 3rd party certification that measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance, making it difficult to obtain. To become B Corp Certified, organizations take the B Impact Assessment (BIA), which evaluates a company’s business model and its operating impact across the areas of Governance, Workers, Community, Environment, and Customers.

Over 50,000 organizations have taken the BIA to become a B Corp, yet only 7% have qualified.

The BIA consists of approximately 200 questions, and the claims made in each response are tested and verified by two distinct certification analysts who review requested evidence and documentation to ensure accuracy. Qualifying requires a score of 80, yet the median score across all 50,000+ businesses is a 50.9. Today, there are approximately 4,000 certified B Corps across 150 industries in 74 countries around the world.

Among fashion brands, there are approximately 120 brands who have qualified to become Certified B Corps, and Nisolo is ranked #1 in leather goods and in the top 3 in footwear. Before we unpack Nisolo’s score and how we stack up vs. other brands, let’s take a step back and talk about the importance of third party certification in general, a point that must not be overlooked.

Why Does 3rd Party Certification Matter?

Third party verification is when an independent organization audits your practices to assess whether or not they’re legit. At Nisolo, we believe everything our business impacts should be measured and improved. And, internally, we’ve been on a long journey of improving our practices, taking this very seriously since inception.

Yet, as sustainability becomes more and more “on trend” and brands continue to leverage eco-friendly language to increase sales without the practices to back it up, external, third party verification has become non-negotiable. “Sustainable” and “ethical” in the fashion industry have become as ambiguous as “organic” in the food and beverage industry, putting TRUST between brands and consumers at risk like never before.

This is why we believe the greatest threat to long-term social and environmental progress today is “greenwashing,” which essentially means spending more time, effort, and money on appearing to be socially and environmentally responsible rather than investing in ways to actually be more responsible. Greenwashing is a big problem in the fashion industry: 40% of 500 fashion brands recently surveyed by the Competition and Markets Authority claimed to be "eco-friendly,” but had no data to substantiate their claims.

With all the misinformation out there, the best way to determine which brands are doing right by people and the planet is to look for third party verification and certifications.

NOTE: B Corp Certification is not comprehensive of ALL social & environmental impact  

B Corp’s BIA assessment has improved over time (we most recently took version 6.0), and is a solid assessment that accounts for much of Nisolo’s activities. However, not all that we do gets credit in the current form of the assessment, as it is not comprehensive of our complete social and environmental impact. For example:

That said, the assessment does do a solid job of giving Nisolo’s impact a broad overview in a way that allows consumers to compare brands within the same industry and across distinct industries.

Contextualizing Nisolo's B Corp Certification Score

Whereas the median score among 50,000+ past applicants is a 50.9, an 80 is a passing score, and the average for Certified B Corporations is a 93.8, we most recently scored a 115.4! While the vast majority of fashion brands would never be able to become B Corp Certified because of their poor social and environmental practices, there are around 120 brands who have achieved this feat. The 115.4 Nisolo received for our social, environmental, and governance practices ranks higher than 93% of fashion brands that have become Certified B Corps, placing us at #1 among leather good brands and #3 among footwear brands (with the other two footwear brands beating us out for their bolt on giving models).

Here is how our score compares to a few familiar brands:

  • Patagonia (151.4)
  • Nisolo (115.4)
  • Ben & Jerry’s (110)
  • Eileen Fisher (96.2)
  • Raven & Lily (104.9)
  • Cotopaxi (93.6)
  • Allbirds (89.4)
  • Parker Clay (89.4)
  • Bombas (89.2)
  • Known Supply (86.9)
  • Thrive Market (84.4)
  • Athleta (84.3)
  • Veja (84.2)
  • Frank & Oak (81.7)
  • LAUDE the Label (81.4)
  • Butcher Box (81.1)
  • Sozy (80.8)
  • Burton (80.4)
  • Ursa Major (80.2)
  • United By Blue (80.1)

Here is an overview of how we performed in each area of the B Impact Assessment.

Strength Areas Areas To Improve

Governance (16.6)

The Governance Impact Area evaluates a company's overall mission, ethics, accountability, and transparency through topics such as integration of social and environmental goals in employees’ performance evaluation, impact reporting and transparency, stakeholder engagement, and more.

 

We make decisions at the highest level based on their social and environmental impacts.

We’ve amended our corporate governing documents, requiring us to consider all stakeholders in decision-making.

We track and measure our impact.

We share publicly about our social and environmental impact.

We need to appoint a Board of Directors for greater accountability and plan to do so in 2022.

We need to develop a more formal program for ongoing team training around social & environmental responsibility and plan to do so in 2022.

Workers (22.8)

The Workers Impact Area evaluates a company's contribution to its employees’ financial, physical, professional, and social well-being.

 

Our lowest wage is a living wage, and we regularly adjust wages to reflect cost of living where we do business.

We offer healthcare and supplementary benefits including dental, short and long-term disability, HSA, and life insurance.

We work with employees to support them in their growth within the company (outside coaching, training for higher roles and responsibilities, life skills training, etc.)

We regularly promote internally.

We have a thorough performance review process.

We need to offer additional benefits, stronger healthcare offerings, and things like a more systematic bonus process, etc.—all of which are parts of a growing and maturing company and are high on our priority list as we build for scale.

Community (43.4)

The Community Impact Area evaluates a company's positive impact on the external communities in which a company operates, covering topics like diversity, economic impact, civic engagement, and supply chain impact.

 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

  • Our business model is built around creating a positive impact on the people in our supply chain.
  • We have a racial justice action plan that states clear goals for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Most of our employees are women.
  • Most of our managers are women.
  • We have a small highest to lowest pay ratio.

Supply Chain Management

  • 100% of our products have 3rd party social or environmental approval, or are from suppliers that are purpose-driven or have 3rd party company level certification or approval.
  • We screen our suppliers for their social and environmental impact and have a Code of Conduct all suppliers must adhere to.
  • We visit and audit our suppliers in country and on-site on a regular basis.
  • Our suppliers are located within low income communities.

Poverty Alleviation in our Supply Chain

  • We purchase from underserved communities who would not otherwise have access to the global market.
  • We determine the price of our products in collaboration with suppliers.
  • Our lowest wage at our factory is a living wage that’s been verified by a 3rd party.
  • We offer additional livelihood trainings and support for suppliers.
  • We have long term commitments with suppliers and track our impact over time.
  • We are transparent about our supply chain with you.

We need to increase the diversity of our team (race, age, disability, etc.) and have active plans in place to improve this process holistically from initial recruiting through retention.

 

We need to volunteer more in the local community and have made this a clear pillar of our most recent justice plan of action plan.

 

We need to strengthen our engagement and visibility into the 2nd and 3rd tiers of our supply chain, and this is a big part of our go forward social and environmental justice vision.

Environment (30.5)

The Environment Impact Area evaluates a company's overall environmental stewardship, including how the company identifies and manages general environmental impacts, its management of air and climate issues, water sustainability, and impacts on land and life.

 

We measure and offset 100% of our carbon emissions and have reduced emissions in our supply chain.

We’ve installed solar panels on the roof of our factory in Peru.

95% of our leathers are certified by the Leather Working Group. These tanneries are the most environmentally responsible in the leather industry and are verified for treating their wastewater and managing chemicals responsibly.

The leather we use for our products is distinct from much of the industry because of the certifications it carries.

We embrace a circular fashion model. We have a product reclamation program to divert waste from landfills.

Achieve 100% traceability of our leather down to the farm level, track the water footprint of our supply chain, and implement a waste tracking and reduction program—all objectives on our 2022 and 2023 impact roadmap.

Implement a chemical management program and track chemicals across our supply chain.

Improve the materials we use in our packaging as well as the primary materials we use in our products to incorporate more upcycled and recycled components—this is an area customers will see more of as early as Spring Summer 2022.

Evaluate our supply chain’s impact on biodiversity.

Customers (2.0)

The Customers Impact Area evaluates a company's value to direct customers and the consumers of your products or services covering topics like ethical and positive marketing, warranty and quality assurance of products and services, data privacy, data security, and more.

 

We monitor customer feedback and satisfaction, and adjust our products and practices to customers’ preferences.

We offer live support.

We allow all customer product reviews to be public on our website, and allow all comments to be public across social media channels.

We need to do a better and more formal job of incorporating even more customer feedback into our product design.

Strength Areas

Areas to Improve

Governance (16.6)

The Governance Impact Area evaluates a company's overall mission, ethics, accountability, and transparency through topics such as integration of social and environmental goals in employees’ performance evaluation, impact reporting and transparency, stakeholder engagement, and more.

We make decisions at the highest level based on their social and environmental impacts.

We’ve amended our corporate governing documents, requiring us to consider all stakeholders in decision-making.

We track and measure our impact.

We share publicly about our social and environmental impact.

We need to appoint a Board of Directors for greater accountability and plan to do so in 2022.

We need to develop a more formal program for ongoing team training around social & environmental responsibility and plan to do so in 2022.


Strength Areas

Areas to Improve

Workers (22.8)

The Workers Impact Area evaluates a company's contribution to its employees’ financial, physical, professional, and social well-being.

Our lowest wage is a living wage, and we regularly adjust wages to reflect cost of living where we do business.

We offer healthcare and supplementary benefits including dental, short and long-term disability, HSA, and life insurance.

We work with employees to support them in their growth within the company (outside coaching, training for higher roles and responsibilities, life skills training, etc.)

We regularly promote internally.

We have a thorough performance review process.

We need to offer additional benefits, stronger healthcare offerings, and things like a more systematic bonus process, etc.—all of which are parts of a growing and maturing company and are high on our priority list as we build for scale.


Strength Areas

Areas to Improve

Community (43.4)

The Community Impact Area evaluates a company's positive impact on the external communities in which a company operates, covering topics like diversity, economic impact, civic engagement, and supply chain impact.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

  • Our business model is built around creating a positive impact on the people in our supply chain.
  • We have a racial justice action plan that states clear goals for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Most of our employees are women.
  • Most of our managers are women.
  • We have a small highest to lowest pay ratio.

Supply Chain Management

  • 100% of our products have 3rd party social or environmental approval, or are from suppliers that are purpose-driven or have 3rd party company level certification or approval.
  • We screen our suppliers for their social and environmental impact and have a Code of Conduct all suppliers must adhere to.
  • We visit and audit our suppliers in country and on-site on a regular basis.
  • Our suppliers are located within low income communities.

Poverty Alleviation in our Supply Chain

  • We purchase from underserved communities who would not otherwise have access to the global market.
  • We determine the price of our products in collaboration with suppliers.
  • Our lowest wage at our factory is a living wage that’s been verified by a 3rd party.
  • We offer additional livelihood trainings and support for suppliers.
  • We have long term commitments with suppliers and track our impact over time.
  • We are transparent about our supply chain with you.

We need to increase the diversity of our team (race, age, disability, etc.) and have active plans in place to improve this process holistically from initial recruiting through retention.

We need to volunteer more in the local community and have made this a clear pillar of our most recent justice plan of action plan.

We need to strengthen our engagement and visibility into the 2nd and 3rd tiers of our supply chain, and this is a big part of our go forward social and environmental justice vision.


Strength Areas

Areas to Improve

Environment (30.5)

The Environment Impact Area evaluates a company's overall environmental stewardship, including how the company identifies and manages general environmental impacts, its management of air and climate issues, water sustainability, and impacts on land and life.

We measure and offset 100% of our carbon emissions and have reduced emissions in our supply chain.

We’ve installed solar panels on the roof of our factory in Peru.

95% of our leathers are certified by the Leather Working Group. These tanneries are the most environmentally responsible in the leather industry and are verified for treating their wastewater and managing chemicals responsibly.

The leather we use for our products is distinct from much of the industry because of the certifications it carries.

We embrace a circular fashion model. We have a product reclamation program to divert waste from landfills.

Achieve 100% traceability of our leather down to the farm level, track the water footprint of our supply chain, and implement a waste tracking and reduction program—all objectives on our 2022 and 2023 impact roadmap.

Implement a chemical management program and track chemicals across our supply chain.

Improve the materials we use in our packaging as well as the primary materials we use in our products to incorporate more upcycled and recycled components—this is an area customers will see more of as early as Spring Summer 2022.

Evaluate our supply chain’s impact on biodiversity.


Strength Areas

Areas to Improve

Customers (2.0)

The Customers Impact Area evaluates a company's value to direct customers and the consumers of your products or services covering topics like ethical and positive marketing, warranty and quality assurance of products and services, data privacy, data security, and more.

We monitor customer feedback and satisfaction, and adjust our products and practices to customers’ preferences.

We offer live support.

We allow all customer product reviews to be public on our website, and allow all comments to be public across social media channels.

We need to do a better and more formal job of incorporating even more customer feedback into our product design.


In Summary

A core value of ours is “mejorarse siempre,” which means “always be improving.” We’re thankful for what we’ve learned from our most recent assessment—we’ve learned where we are doing well according to the assessment, we’ve learned about areas that matter to us but not as much to B Lab, and we’ve learned where we can improve as we move forward. We’re grateful to be a part of the growing community of B Corps doing right for people and the planet. We look forward to strengthening our positive impact on the people who make our products and the natural resources we depend on, and, as always, we’ll keep you updated along the way.

A Final Call to Action

As we shared earlier, in an age where “sustainable” and “ethical” in the fashion industry have become as ambiguous as “organic” in the food and beverage industry, we believe that the importance of third party certification is more pertinent than ever. TRUST is critical between brands and consumers, and certifications like B Corp, Climate Neutral, etc., are a key part of maintaining this trust and holding brands accountable.

We encourage you to be bold. Help hold the fashion industry accountable by asking your favorite brands (as well as those who seem to do the most eco-friendly marketing) what 3rd party certifications and auditing they have in place to validate their claims.

If you have recommendations for how we can improve as a brand, please shoot us an email to support@nisolo.com, as we’d love to hear your feedback.

Together, let’s push the fashion industry in a more sustainable direction.

Thanks for tuning in.

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