B Corp Buddies is a series of light-touch looks at some of the transformative organisations in the B Corp community we now find ourselves in.
The B Corp community is teeming with organisations looking to transform the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet – all in their own special way.
Let’s take a closer look at one.
A circular economy for a round Earth
This week’s B Corp Buddies piece is founded on a REALLY simple idea.
The Earth is round.
Start walking in one direction in a straight line for long enough, and all things being equal, you should come back to where you started. Hopefully, you will also arrive there that little bit wiser and a little bit smarter having collected some cool stuff along the way. A circular journey of incremental wisdom. Simple No?
So applying a “what goes around comes around” logic to how we best exist and thrive on this planet we call home seems to be founded on a simple verifiable truth.
So, creating a circular economy where one previously did not exist is a smart thing — never more so than in the old smoky blast furnaces, body workshops and oil-drip engineering of the automobile sector.
By-product life-cycles were the last thing you’d ever associate with the old oil-based automobile industry. Until some smart resourceful someone decided to change the lens that is, and ‘see’ in a whole new way.
While in San Francisco in 2009, whispers reached me of a bunch called Platinum Dirt. The story went like this. Platinum Dirt had taken to scavenging amongst the old Caddies and Lincolns dumped in pick a Junkyard, any junkyard. They were looking for something so obviously ripe for upcycling that it beggars belief it hadn’t been thought of before. They were stripping out the old hide upholstery from the cars, and reinventing it as custom leather jackets. Imagine — a Maroon hide ‘67 Cadillac Custom Leather where the jacket comes with 40 years of back-seat backstory and some yellow sips just for fun [and let’s not forget that yellow slips contain their own unseen secret world of truth].
Platinum Dirt may come from a less engineered less strategic maker space than most By-Product life cycling stories but they have the same source.
By-Product Life-cycling and all of the language associated with it — Upcycling, Circular Economy — all sounds very Now but it is drawn from an ancient creed. The language of Waste Not Want Not and Mend and Make Do is built upon an austerity mindset. There is something profound about using every single thing to some positive constructive end. The relentless recycling of everything until it finally collapses back into matter and atoms feels part of a new monkish ascetic. This brings us here.
This week’s BCorp buddy seems to have taken that ascetic, style and circularity to a whole new level.
Our B Corp buddy: Continew
CONTINEW are making multiple collections of bags, shoes, and accessories by upcycling natural leather seats, seat belts and airbags collected from automobile production and end-of-life vehicles. They focus all of their innovation and creativity on three pillars of material circularity – car seat leather – air bag nylon and repurposed materials
What’s more, CONTINEW are running at a 99.3 BCorp impact score against a median score of 55.9 for most businesses in this space.
At the heart of it is their belief in virtuous cycles of resources rooted in sustainable and environmental values.
“Giving ‘newness’ to familiar or forgotten things, not ‘newness’ of new things. This is the philosophy of CONTINEW.”
Work For Impact achieve B Corp certification in late 2021 making us the world’s first B Corp certified, purpose-powered On-Demand Talent platform.