There’s plenty of buzz around companies tackling unconscious bias in the workplace, but have you ever considered how environmentally, socially and culturally conscious the brands are that you purchase from?
With the rise of a consumer shift towards mindful purchasing, inclusivity, and purpose, chances are you probably have. But how responsibly are you really shopping?
We caught up with Nicole Sparshott, CEO of Unilever ANZ and Global CEO of much-loved luxury tea brand T2, upon the announcement of T2’s accreditation with global certifying body, B Corp (Beneficial Corporation), on what to look for and think about when shopping consciously.
Conscious leadership, which tests our responsibility and actions to save the environment and to do social good, will ultimately be what defines us as leaders. B Corp accreditation holds businesses to account by setting real measurable actions and goals that continue to uphold the initiative for companies to have a mutual focus on profit and purpose.
Some of the questions we should ask ourselves as consumers:
#1 What is B Corp Certification?
A B Corp certification is issued to for-profit companies that focus on corporate, social and environmental responsibility to use business as a force for good. It’s not a certification you can buy; you have to earn it by the way you operate, and you need to provide strong evidence by a pretty rigorous assessment period. When companies obtain the B Corp, it means that they have achieved the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.
We are now B Corp certified at T2, following on a lengthy and intensive two-year period to establish goals and to implement accordingly, so it’s a big deal for us! The accreditation is deeply aligned with our brand purpose and reflects our mission to be leaders and agents for positive change in the tea category and industry at large across planet, products and people.
Being a B Corp organisation also means we are now part of a global movement, an impressive community of 3000 companies intent on redefining success in business by challenging companies to be both the best in the world and do the best for the world. As business leaders, the opportunity exists to partner with other organisations to accelerate at scale the drive for real evolution to save our planet and its people.
#2 What do consumers expect of companies in terms of diversity?
We all carry an unconscious bias, whether we think we do or not. At its most basic level, unconscious bias is about an inherent or learned stereotype we perceive about people that we form without realising it.
What I really love about being part of the B Corp community, is that it has helped us focus on our diversity inclusion and people practices within a great framework. At T2, the core of our brand is that diversity in all forms makes the world more beautiful and what we exist to do is unite the world for good by promoting social inclusion and belonging for some of the most vulnerable and marginalized groups in our society
We have created a global Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee, designed to foster an inclusive environment and culture, which empowers thought leadership and innovation as well as fairness for all our stakeholders including employees both current and prospective. The starting point is blind recruiting, from the moment we consider hiring a prospective team member.
Blind recruitment is a great initiative that pioneering companies are enforcing. It involves removing the candidate’s name and other personal identifying information, such as gender and date of birth in the job application process, enabling a fairer hiring system and promoting a strong workplace diversity be it across age, gender, ethnicity, and religion.
#3 How sustainable is packaging?
According to statistics approximately 75 percent of single-use and lightweight plastics are sold through supermarkets, so a good start is to consider the packaging of your favourite products and to make conscious choices about purchasing those which may be polluting our planet.
Establish if the packaging is recyclable, reusable or compostable. Over 90% of T2 packaging is now recyclable, reusable or compostable and we are proud to say is on track to reach 100% in 2021.
#4 How do your favourite brands balance Purpose vs Profit?
Companies that are committed to more than just economic objectives and contribute to the broader social system promote healthier environments and build stronger communities.
Starting from within, employees volunteering on-the-ground to causes they are passionate about, presents a great way of giving back to society at a grassroots level as well as to build a culture of community within the business. Not only do these initiatives support charities but they create a memorable experience for colleagues to work not just for profitability, but with the support of the company, to do good for the wider community.
Brands which donate to worthy causes are known to engender far more engagement and loyalty than those who don’t. At T2 for example, our relationship with The Smith Family, born out of a genuine connection through one of our talented team members whose upbringing was supported by Smith Family, helped open up potential for her life ahead, which otherwise might have seen her take a different path. The reward of knowing that as a business we are aligned to such organisations is simply put, priceless. After all, our biggest assets are our people.
At T2, we consider our impact in every step of our business, from the first leaf to the last sip. Our mission is to continuously strive to do good across the business to ensure that all actions taken benefit both people and planet. Achieving B Corp certification embodies T2’s purpose to be good, do good and feel good across planet, people and product.
The Carousel would like to thank Nicole Sparshott for her article.