How to become a B-corporation with Grain Design Studio

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The design and manufacturing studio Grain Design has joined the Benefit Corporation community of more than 4,000 visionary companies in over 75 countries. There are only thousands who pledge to balance profits and benefits for the earth as a certified charitable society. The studio has dedicated its work to social and climate responsibility. Their work combines manufacturing technologies and traditional craft techniques to produce small, mass-produced goods.

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“B Corps are leading the global corporate movement as a force for good and we are deeply honored to see our efforts working toward this common goal,” said Grain Studio owners James and Chelsea Minola. “We cannot overstate how much this commitment means to us. When we founded our studio in 2008 at our island home and garage store, we weren’t 100% sure what we would do, but we knew it had to be centered around social and environmental responsibility. »

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A three-light system hangs against a white wall

Grain applied to become a B Corp in January 2021. They learned that B Corp received over 4,000 more applications in 2020. That’s when companies started thinking about how they could legally commit to making a difference for the planet. That was more requests in one year than B Corp had had in the previous 15 years.

Various wooden totem furniture

“Our hearts burst with this news knowing that something had fundamentally changed,” the founders of Grain said. “Companies on our planet are looking to do things differently and change our economic system from within. They volunteer to undergo this rigorous assessment in order to learn best practices, empower themselves, and come together to create a movement for cultural change.

A mirror with a wood grain string for hanging rests on a wooden floor

If you want to become a B Corp, you can take a free confidential assessment. Then you can measure your business in certain categories such as: governance, workers, community, environment and customers. Grain scored 89.1, which is above the required threshold of 80 to become a B Corp. Additionally, it is above the average B Corps in the country, industry, and studio size in every category. However, the full potential score is 200, which leaves room for growth.

An oval wooden table cut off at the top so it doesn't line up

Every three years, all certified companies must go through the assessment process again. If they wish to remain a B Corp, they must keep up to date with the latest ethical business practices.

For Grain, they work with the Living Wage Calculator from their first assessment to ensure their employees receive a living wage for their region. They strive to pay their employees a living wage for a family. Additionally, the company began offering all of its employees healthcare reimbursements in 2021. However, it would like to work towards providing employees with retirement savings benefits.

A carpet with four petals

Additionally, B Corp is also helping Grain and similar businesses assess how they can have a greater impact on the community. This includes diversifying their supply chain. They have developed a selection process for vendors that evaluates partner companies the same way they evaluate themselves. It is also looking for local or minority-run businesses, businesses owned by veterans or people with disabilities.

A person is sitting on a gray carpet in the shape of a Venn diagram

Additionally, B Corp helps Grain continue to improve its environmental practices. They work with Forest Standard Certified (FSC) domestic hardwoods. In this way, they manage the biodiversity and sustainable economic opportunities of forest workers and communities. Going forward, Grain says they will incorporate local urban and reclaimed wood.

A mirror hangs on a white wall and on the white floor is a brown table with a wooden cabinet on it and a pile of white pillows next to it

Additionally, Grain achieved Climate Neutral certification in 2020 to offset emissions by purchasing carbon credits to fund climate solutions. They also plan annual targets for reducing future emissions. In 2022 and beyond, the studio will integrate production, textiles, carpets, glass and metal parts to reduce shipments and increase the use of carbon neutral materials like cork.

A copper-colored bottle opener lies next to a bottle cap on a blue paper

“This process is not about perfection,” the owners of Grain said. “This is a transparent and responsible way to measure social environmental responsibility. This is a community effort for the benefit of the community and we are here to support anyone who is curious.

+ Grain design

Images via grain design

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