Why B Corporations matter
Becoming a Certified B Corporation® is an important milestone for Koskela and we explain why.
In December 2017, after a six month application process, Koskela officially became a Certified B Corporation®. We are so proud to have received this independently verified tick that symbolises our commitment to make a difference.
B Corporations are leaders in the global movement of people using business as a force for good. There are 2,457 Certified B Corporation® from more than 130 industries in 50+ countries with 1 unifying goal: to redefine success in business.
Koskela co-founders Sasha Titchkosky and Russel Koskela both left corporate jobs in 2000 to start a business that is about more than the bottom line. “We could have stayed in our existing jobs and had a nice life with a challenging and rewarding career, but we gave that up to create something new,” Sasha says.
B Lab is the non-profit organization that certifies B Corporations and whilst being very supportive, they do not award B Corp status lightly. Koskela needs to meet high standards of social and environmental performance, which are comprehensive, transparent and verified. “The certification process is very professionally done,” says Sasha.
B Lab measure a company’s impact on all its stakeholders (e.g., workers, suppliers, community, consumers, and the environment) and provides a score out of 200 points. An applicant needs at least 80 points to become certified. Koskela is very excited to be the first furniture and homewares company in Australia to be a Certified B Corp.
Their idea was to design world class furniture that could be sustainably made in Australia. Most people thought they were crazy, and it was certainly cheaper to go straight to China, but Koskela was determined to support the local manufacturing industry. To this day our Australian-made policy means we can guarantee our workers are being treated and compensated fairly, we reduce freight miles and our carbon footprint, and we can swiftly implement sustainable initiatives as they come to light.
Aware that opportunities had been plentiful in their lives, Sasha and Russel also founded the business to have a meaningful impact on Australian Indigenous communities. Koskela works with Indigenous controlled art centres throughout Australia to create new design products that reinterpret traditional craftsmanship and provide an income to the artists that is independent of Government welfare.
“We didn’t rework the company to make it a B Corp,” Sasha says, who discovered the movement when it was referenced by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard in an interview. “It was something I had long been searching for. On a personal level it ties into everything that is important,” she says.
The first area Koskela will focus on is our environmental footprint, which is an ongoing challenge in our sector. As a big and long lasting product, furniture requires a lot of resources and energy to produce. We have always focused on quality and timeless design that lasts, but we are also putting more science behind what we do. Many of the materials and finishes we specify are evolving in leaps and bounds and we are committed to testing and incorporating more efficient technology wherever possible.
So while Koskela was founded with an intention to do good, becoming a Certified B Corporation provides us with a framework to do even better.