How to become a B-corporation with Grain Design Studio
Design and manufacturing studio Grain Design joined the Benefit Corporation community of over 4,000 visionary businesses across more than 75 countries. They are only in thousands committed to balancing profit and benefit to the earth as a certified Benefit Corporation. The studio dedicated its work to social and climate responsibility. Their work combines manufacturing technologies and traditional craft techniques to produce small batch-run goods.
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“B Corps are driving the global movement of business as a force of good and we are deeply humbled to have our efforts working towards 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 in our island home and garage shop, we weren’t 100% sure what we would be making, but we knew that it needed to center around social and environmental responsibility.”
Grain applied to be a B Corp in January 2021. They learned that B Corp received over 4,000 other applications in 2020. That was when businesses started to think about how they could legally commit to making a difference for the planet. This was more applications in one year than B Corp had in the previous 15 years.
“Our hearts burst with this news knowing that something had fundamentally shifted,” Grain founders said. “Businesses across our planet are seeking to do things differently and to change our economic system from within. They are volunteering to put themselves through this rigorous assessment to learn best practices, hold themselves accountable and lock arms to create a movement of cultural change.”
If you would like to become a B Corp, you can take a free confidential assessment. Then, you’ll be able to measure your business in certain categories such as: governance, workers, community, environment and customers. Grain scored 89.1, which is higher than the required cutoff of 80 to become a B Corp. Additionally, it is higher than average B Corps in the studio’s country, sector and size range in every category. However, the full potential score is 200, which leaves room for growth.
Every three years, all certified businesses are required to go through the assessment process again. If they wish to remain a B Corp, they need to keep up with the latest in ethical business practices.
For Grain, they are working with the living wage calculator from their first assessment to make sure their employees are paid a living wage for their region. They are working toward paying their employees a living wage for a family. Additionally, the business began offering all employees health care reimbursements in 2021. However, they would like to work towards offering employees retirement savings benefits.
Furthermore, B Corp also helps Grain and similar businesses assess how they can have a bigger impact on the community. This includes diversifying their supply chain. They have developed a screening process for vendors that assess partner companies the way they assess themselves. It also looks for local or minority-led businesses, veteran or disabled-owned businesses.
Moreover, B Corp helps Grain continue to improve their environmental practices. They work with domestic hardwoods that are Forest Standard Certified (FSC). That way, they manage for biodiversity and sustainable economic opportunities of forestry workers and communities. In the future, Grain says they will be integrating local urban and salvage wood.
Additionally, Grain became Climate Neutral certified in 2020 to offset emissions by purchasing carbon credits to fund climate solutions. They are also planning annual reduction goals on future emissions. In 2022 and beyond, the studio will bring production, textiles, rugs, glass and metal parts in house to reduce shipping and increase use of carbon neutral materials like cork.
“This process is not about perfection,” said Grain owners. “It is about a transparent and accountable way to measure social environmental responsibility. It is an effort done in community to benefit community and we are here to support anyone who is curious.”