The B Corp certification designates the company as meeting high sustainability standards across all three of its brands.
The KMD Brands group becomes one of the first multinational companies in Australia and New Zealand to have all its brands (Rip Curl, Kathmandu, and Oboz) individually certified.
A B Corp Certification is a designation that a business is meeting high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials. The social sustainability and performance standard is a holistic certification process that requires verification across many different levels in a business. Conferred by B Lab, a global non-profit, companies must receive a minimum score of 80 from the assessment of their performance, must integrate B Corp commitments into their mission, and pay an annual fee based on annual sales. While holding no legal status, the process is rigorous and the certification holds enormous social capital.
A B Corp Certification is measured across five impact areas: governance, workers, customers, community and the environment. Companies must document their positive impact to apply using the B Impact Assessment tool, and undergo an independent verification process every three years to achieve and maintain certification.
Kathmandu was one of the first outdoor apparel brands in Australia and New Zealand to be B Corp Certified in 2019, and has now recertified with a significant improvement on its impact that was commended by B Lab.
“At KMD Brands, we continually push ourselves across our group of Brands to be better and being B Corp Certified is recognition of that and of our commitment to balancing people, planet and profit. This is a great achievement for our business and our people,” Said Group CEO and Managing Director Michael Daly.
Rip Curl and Oboz have worked hard for a number of years to evolve, expand and improve on their existing practices and policies to achieve B Corp certification for the first time. One of the initiatives that helped the companies gain this status include, Rip Curl’s owned and operated wetsuit factory in Thailand offsetting 100 percent of its operational emissions in 2021 and 2022 and diverting 130 tonnes of their wetsuit offcuts from landfill to make carpet underlay. Rip Curl launched Australia’s first wetsuit take-back program to its customers, which in 2022, expanded to Europe and the USA and repurposes recycled rubber for use in the safety attenuation layer of soft fall matting used at playgrounds and outdoor gyms. Kathmandu committed to a 100 percent Sustainable Cotton and 100 percent Responsible Down Standard, also launching a fully biodegradable BioDown puffer jacket last year. American outdoor footwear brand Oboz is getting amongst the sustainability effort, planting a tree for every shoe sold with more than 5 million trees planted so far.
“We are a large organisation and have a responsibility to consider the impact of our decisions on all of our customers, our employees, our shareholders, the wider community, and the environment, and being B Corp Certified across our entire business demonstrates that we take this responsibility very seriously, and that we need to continue working hard to retain our certification,” Mr Daly said.
“The entire KMD Brands business is now part of an accelerating global cultural shift to redefine success, build a more inclusive and sustainable economy and use business as a force for good. This certification is a great example of how B Corps like Kathmandu can lead others – Rip Curl and Oboz – to improve their impact for people and the planet. We need businesses of all sizes to step up and be accountable and we applaud KMD Brands for doing so,” said Mindy Leow, Acting CEO of B Lab Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.
“Achieving B Corp Certification across a large and diverse business like KMD Brands is a credit to them and an inspirational demonstration of how to do better business at scale. Their focus on continuous improvement sets a leading example for other large, global businesses and sends a powerful signal that will further advance change in the retail sector, and our broader global economic system.”
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