Why we have made a big decision about our decision making at Woolcool.
Being in business is all about making decisions. Whether it’s making your mind up about design, committing to a marketing strategy, planning for expansion, investing in equipment or organising an office outing, business is an endless stream of decisions that impacts on you, your colleagues, your suppliers and partners, consumers and the world around us.
As the UK’s leading manufacturers of environmentally-friendly packaging, our business is based on a fundamental understanding of the impact of man-made materials on the planet. In fact, we were born out of a single decision – when our founder Angela Morris decided to invest in her belief that 100% our natural wool could replace the polluting polystyrene that was being used in nearly all temperature-controlled packaging.
Indeed, if there is one industry that illustrates how innocently-made bad decisions can impact on you years later, it is the packaging sector, where decades of investment in plastics, volume and durability is now being rethought as the globe gets to grips with the challenges of climate change.
From day one, environmental and social issues have been at the core of what we do.
However, now we have made a decision to formally entrench and certify this spirit of responsibility. Woolcool is going through the process of international certification as a B Corp.
Never heard of B Corp? Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.
Society’s most challenging problems cannot be solved by government and nonprofits alone. By harnessing the power of business, B Corps use profits and growth as a means to a greater end: positive impact for not only the environment but their employees and communities. The B Corp community works toward reduced inequality, lower levels of poverty, a healthier environment, stronger communities, and the creation of more high quality jobs with dignity and purpose.
B Corps form a community of leaders and drive a global movement of people using business as a force for good. The values and aspirations of the B Corp community are embedded in the B Corp Declaration of Interdependence.
It’s about looking at much more than the bottom line in business. It’s about accepting that every decision made has multiple consequences and changing your company’s mindset to recognise this.
At Woolcool we put our heart, soul and mind into our decision making.
Our heart takes care of our environmental and social impact. Our soul reflects the passion we have for what we do and how we do it. Our mind drives the creativity behind what we achieve – in terms of research and development – but also guides the responsibility we take for our actions and their impact.
We want to ensure that our decision making, as a business, is as benevolent as possible for our team, our customers, our suppliers, our partners and our community as well as our planet.
So that means everything from investing in new research to team training to ensuring a good internal culture and supporting the wider community through local good causes, to considering how our business impacts on those who do business with us.
The process to achieve legal B Corp certification is rigorous and involves hundreds of questions about the ethos of a company, and rightly so, it shouldn’t be easy to achieve. This is a fundamental movement, not a tick box exercise.
But while this process may be long, the benefits of joining the B Corp family are long term. As new businesses concentrate on turning profit and driving revenue, they have little time to think about the long-term consequences of their decision making, not only on the environment and society but on their own future.
We believe that a business can become a more long-term and stable concern by taking time to invest in making better decisions and the people who make them. For some businesses there can be a risk associated with looking beyond the bottom line, but the courage to take those risks can pay off further along your journey. Short term gain, doesn’t often equate to long term stability and business sustainability.
When we look back over our first ten years in business, we have seen this rule at work, from supplier choices to investment in team engagement and morale.
Back when our belief in natural materials was considered new – and a little new-age and fluffy – a handful of courageous companies took the plunge and partnered with us. As the world now wakes up to the need for environmentally-friendly packaging, those same companies find themselves ahead of the curve and not having to make expensive knee-jerk changes seen elsewhere across the sector.
Their forward-thinking approach to decision making gave them a stronger foundation for the future.
And ten years of painstaking scientific research in partnership with top universities has transformed that ‘fluffy’ idea into hard, data-backed fact. Wool is a better insulator than polluting man-made materials.
So, the choice has been made. Our mind is made up. The world of business is changing and Woolcool is committing to being part of that change and showing the benefits of doing business this way, to benefit not only us but society as a whole – by thinking about the wider impacts of the decisions we make.
After a decade of pioneering research and business growth, this is one core business strategy we would never do without.