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Greening And Environment

Faithful to Nature becomes first SA retailer to achieve B Corp certification

Faithful to Nature is the first retailer in South Africa to become B Corp certified, for its commitment to social and environmental sustainability. With innovations like product transparency, sustainable packaging and carbon neutral delivery, the brand has been instrumental in introducing South African consumers to more natural, ethical and sustainable products and practices, and they continue to pioneer this movement in the country.
B Lab, a non-profit organisation, awards the B Corporation (B Corp) certification to organisations that voluntarily meet required standards of transparency, accountability, sustainability and performance, with a business objective to create value for society. All aspects of the business are assessed, from supply chains to employee benefits and charitable donations.

Faithful to Nature innovations around product transparency, sustainable packaging and carbon-neutral delivery contributed to the milestone achievement.

Founded by Robyn Smith in 2007, the retailer has worked to introduce South African consumers to more natural, ethical and sustainable products and practices.

“As our focus is on environmentally-friendly and sustainable practices, we’re incredibly proud to be recognised by B Lab Africa for our efforts in this space,” says Luisa Tropartz, head of innovation and merchandising at Faithful to Nature. “People in developing countries feel the effects of environmental destruction the most, and B Lab aims not only to combat climate change but inequality as well through using business as a force for good.”

There are currently over 4,200B Corp certified businesses in over 150 industries and 70 countries, with one goal: to redefine what business success looks like. Globally, these include corporations like Patagonia, Wren Design, Chris Bertish, Danone NA, Whole Foods and Ben & Jerry’s, among others.

Benefitting people and planet

New generations are looking to brands to initiate change. “We share the same goals for purposeful changes, not only in the decisions we make but how we approach the way we manage our business. B Corp certification has the potential to change how the economy works in South Africa and the continent as a whole,” Tropartz says.

Adds Tropartz, “Faithful to Nature scored highly in the area of assessment of workers, as our employee attrition rate is below 10%. We conduct annual employee engagement surveys and ensure that communication between management and staff is well-aligned across the business. We also offer free transport to the majority of workers, free meal options and additional leave allowance.

“There’s a four-month partial maternity leave benefit and two weeks leave for secondary caregivers. We grant ongoing external professional development opportunities in the form of courses or training, and our internal promotions exceed 15%. Finally, the majority of our supplier base is women-owned.”

In terms of environmental benefits, a 15-year-in-the-making ingredient onboarding policy means that all FtN products are natural and planet-friendly, Faithful to Nature’s own branded products feature sustainable packaging with cellulose biodegradable bags, vegetable-based inks and recyclable materials wherever possible. And with every customer order placed on Faithful to Nature being carbon-neutral, there is less climate impact than shopping most other e-commerce sites or brick-and-mortar stores, the company states.

“We have dedicated our time and resources to providing local consumers with products that have minimal impact on the environment and use business practices that are ethical and socially conscious. As such, we have had great success in changing the conscious mindset of local consumers and doing our part in improving the lives of everyone on our planet – we wholeheartedly encourage other companies to invest in doing the same as it’s up to us to make these purposeful changes,” Tropartz says.

She concludes, “B Corp certified companies consider purpose and profit in their business strategy. With this certification, we are legally required to consider the impact of our decisions on our workers, customers, suppliers, community members and the environment. We hope that through our values and business practices, South Africans will become more conscious of the products they consume. In this small yet significant way, we hope to drive the global movement of businesses as a force of good.”

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