At Y.O.U Underwear, we have always placed sustainability and purpose at the very heart of what we do. After more than a year of hard work through 2020/2021, we not only achieved B Corp certification, but in November 2021 certified as the highest-scoring B Corp in the UK and the top-scoring fashion brand in the world! This showed our commitment to being a businesses who puts purpose over profit and proves that business can - and should be - a force for good.
Fast forward to November 2023 and we are thrilled to be celebrating two years of being B Corp certified! We are so proud of how far we've come on our journey and mission to change the world, one pair of pants at a time!
What is B Corp Certification and why did we certify?
Before we dive into our celebration, let's take a moment to understand what B Corp certification is all about. B Corporations, or B Corps, are for-profit companies that meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. The certification process is rigorous, assessing a company's impact on its workers, community, environment, and customers. Achieving B Corp certification is no small task and signifies a deep commitment to making the world a better place.
As you know, the belief in the environmental and social responsibilities of business is a core value upon which Y.O.U Underwear was created, and for which we strive for every day. We wanted to create more than just comfortable and stylish underwear; we aimed to be a brand that empowers consumers to make choices that positively impact the planet and society.
Here are some key ways we've upheld our commitment to sustainability:
- Eco-friendly materials: Our underwear is crafted from eco-friendly materials, such as Fairtrade and GOTS certified organic cotton, eco -elastic, and organic dyes. We're constantly seeking innovative, sustainable alternatives to reduce our environmental footprint.
- Ethical sourcing and manufacture: We source our materials from India's leading sustainable and ethical manufacturers (Connoisseur Fashions and Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills), ensuring that workers are treated fairly and environmental impacts are minimised. We're proud to support a supply chain that values people and the planet.
- Minimal waste: We take pride in our minimal waste production practices, from efficient cutting to eco-conscious packaging. Every step of our manufacturing process is carefully considered to reduce waste and carbon emissions.
- Giving back: We believe in giving back to the community and support various social and environmental initiatives, including our buy-one-give-two model supporting the amazing charity Smalls for All.
Whilst we aren't too humble to brag about our impact so far, we know that we (and the fashion industry more widely) have a LOT more work to do and our journey is far from over. B Corp has always meant more to us than a logo on our website; it's a powerful tool that we intend to use to amplify our real-world impact in many ways over the coming years. The certification process has been a catalyst for growth, a roadmap for improvement, and a source of inspiration to do better and be better.
Here's how we plan to leverage this certification to create an even more profound and holistic impact in the years to come:
1. Setting the bar higher: B Corp certification has set a high standard for us to meet, but we're not ones to shy away from a challenge. We'll use these stringent criteria as a benchmark, constantly pushing ourselves to exceed the requirements. The process has not just marked a milestone; it's become our baseline for excellence.
2. Expanding Our reach: Certification has opened doors to new partnerships and collaborations with like-minded organisations, allowing us to extend our reach and make a more significant impact. We believe in the power of collective action, and through these partnerships we aim to tackle sustainability challenges on a broader scale.
3. Encouraging industry transformation: We see our B Corp certification as an opportunity to be a change-maker in our industry. By consistently showcasing the benefits of ethical and sustainable business practices, we hope to inspire other companies to follow in our footsteps. Our vision is to drive an industry-wide transformation towards more responsible and eco-conscious operations.
4. Educational initiatives: Beyond just creating eco-friendly products, we're dedicated to fostering a culture of sustainability. B Corp certification encourages us to engage in educational initiatives, from sharing our journey with our customers to participating in industry events and conferences. We're committed to empowering individuals with the knowledge and motivation to make more sustainable choices in all aspects of life.
5. Transparency and accountability: The certification process emphasizes the importance of transparency and accountability. We've implemented stringent reporting practices to track our progress, for example with our quarterly Impact Reports, and we'll continue to provide regular updates on our sustainability journey. Openness and honesty are essential to our commitment to our customers, partners, and the environment.
6. Adapting to change: The world of sustainability is constantly evolving, and so are we. The B Corp certification process has made us more adaptable, encouraging us to be flexible and responsive to emerging environmental and social challenges. We see this as a continuous cycle of growth and improvement.
Next year, we are also looking towards our re-certification process (something that B Corp requires companies to do every three years). This is going to be an interesting process for us, since so much has changed since our initial certification. We now have a shop in Oxford's historic Covered Market and stock a wide range of sustainable and ethical products as well as our underwear. This has meant that in some ways we have less visibility - for example over the supply chains of all the products in the shop. This will require some work and thinking to ensure we stay as sustainable as ever.
Thank you for being a part of our journey and two fantastic years as a B Corp certified company! The road ahead is filled with endless possibilities, challenges and opportunities to create a world that's more sustainable, ethical, and responsible. Together with you, our dedicated team, and the global community of B Corps, we're confident that the best is yet to come.
With lots of B Corp love and gratitude,
The Y.O.U Underwear team x
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