We achieved our second B Corp™ Certification!
Sustainability matters to us. It means leaving a positive impact on the places we travel, being mindful of the fragile ecosystems where we operate, and constantly working to inspire others to live more sustainably. We want our guests to know that they are making the right choice when they travel with us, and being a B Corp™ holds us accountable to our commitment to sustainability. Since we recently recertified as a B Corporation™, we wanted to share more about our B Corp journey as part of our recertification celebration.
Certified B Corporations, or B Corps, are companies verified by B Lab™ (the non-profit organization that oversees the B Corp Certification) to meet high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. B Corp Certification is the only certification that measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance. This is done through B Lab’s own tool called the B Impact Assessment (BIA) and all BIA’s are verified by a third party during the certification process
There are 5 key impact areas that make up the BIA:
- Governance - This evaluates how a company defines its mission, how it cares about its social and environmental impact, how ethically it operates, and how transparent it is in its actions.
- Workers - This area looks at how a company supports its employees in terms of financial security, health and safety, personal well-being, career growth, and how satisfied and engaged the employees are.
- Community - Here, the focus is on how a company interacts with and affects the communities it operates in, including how it hires from these communities and sources materials from them.
- Environment - This assesses a company's environmental practices and how it impacts the air, climate, water, land, and biodiversity. This includes both the company's direct actions and its impact through its supply chain.
- Customers - This area examines how a company treats its customers, from the quality of its products and services to how it markets them ethically, ensures data privacy and security, and provides ways for customers to give feedback.
B Corp certification is valid for 3 years and then a company must repeat the process to recertify. Frontiers North Adventures originally certified in 2020 and we were due for recertification this year, 2023.
B Corp certification is quite the endeavor and the same can be said for recertification. When a company completes the BIA and submits to B Lab, they enter the next stage, known as verification. This is where we were assigned a Verification Analyst and we submitted relevant company information along with initial documentation that would be used throughout verification. Our analyst selected questions that they wanted to explore further and had us provide additional documentation to prove our answers were valid. Simply put, verification is similar to an audit.
Verification is essential to the B Corp certification as it eliminates the doubt about the validity of answers provided in the BIA. While verification is the most intense part of B Corp certification, preparing the supporting documentation ahead of time will make it more manageable.
B Corp certification is a points based system. To obtain certification, a company must score 80 points or higher after verification. We scored 81.5 points on our initial B Corp certification in 2020. We are delighted to announce that our score has increased to 105.3 points on our recertification. We have put endless effort into ensuring that we only have a positive impact on the places we work. While we are not done yet, not even close, we wanted to share with you some of the changes that have been put in place over the last 3 years to help us improve our operations and our B Corp score.
- Legal requirement - This was where the largest point increase occurred in our recertification. B Corp requires that a company commit to amending the articles of incorporation in order to certify. This amendment legally requires companies to consider the impact of their decisions on all of their stakeholders. Stakeholder governance ensures that businesses are accountable to people and planet. We had previously committed to making the amendment and in 2022, we made it official.
- Employee reviews - Our commitment to sustainability is woven into the foundation of our company. For this reason, we have included social and sustainability goals to our annual employee reviews.
- Policies - We took a deep dive into our existing policies to see what was missing and built new policies that we didn’t already have in place. As we found, there were some great things we were doing but we didn’t have them in writing. We have implemented some new policies including a policy for breastfeeding staff in our office space, a sustainable transportation policy for staff, ethical marketing policy, and a virtual office stewardship policy for work from home staff.
- Tracking consumption - Knowing what we use in terms of electricity, water, and materials allows us the opportunity to review our consumption and make changes where necessary. This can include changing the source of energy/fuel or updating suppliers to those with more efficient standards. It’s also important to us to know where we are consuming (or over consuming) and to know the source of the products we purchase and the services we use.
- Customer follow up - We ask our guests to complete a survey after we have hosted them. Knowing how we are doing from their perspective lets us know where we have room to improve, and it is important to our operations to hear their feedback and thoughts.
We are committed to always moving forward and improving our operations. Sustainability is at the heart of what we do and our business relies on our commitment to improvement.
Here are some of the areas that we are focusing on over the next 3 years…
- Greenhouse gas emissions - We bring guests to a remote community located in Northern Manitoba, with no direct road access. While the train is an option, most guests choose to fly. We track our flights and will calculate the emissions that are generated from flying. It is our responsibility to do something about those emissions. We don’t have a solid plan in place yet, but it is a top priority for us. Our other large source of emissions comes from our Tundra Buggy® fleet, and we’ll touch on that next!
- EV Tundra Buggies - We talk about them a lot! We have committed to converting our entire touring Tundra Buggy fleet from diesel propulsion to EV. We have completed 2 so far and the third is currently in the shop. This will reduce our reliance on diesel and reduce the emissions from our touring fleet. Since we are located in Manitoba, we have hydro power and it will be the primary power source used to charge the batteries. Hydro power produces significantly less emissions than other conventional sources of energy making it a win-win!
- Tracking everything - We can’t know how we are doing in our sustainability goals if we are not keeping track of our usage. For this reason, we have already started to track the basics like water and electricity, fuel purchases, and the amount of compost from our office. But we need to take it further and start tracking our waste and purchases. This will help us to further our plans for reduction and see where we potentially over-consume.
- Suppliers - We want to grow our relationship with our suppliers. We will be developing a supplier code of conduct to ensure that the suppliers that we work with operate with values that align with ours. We also want to have a sustainable purchasing policy so it’s easy for our teams to know where to purchase items that are essential to our business.
- Reconciliation - We are committed to meaningful consultation, building respectful relationships, and obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples before proceeding with economic development projects as per Action #92 of the 94 Calls to Action for Truth and Reconciliation.
We will continue to do what we do best and bring unforgettable experiences to our guests. In the meantime, our guests can be confident that they made the right choice to travel with us because we will never settle for doing what is good enough and we will always be working towards doing better!