Earth Day 2024: Ganni, 66°North, and Lumene on why being B-Corp matters

By Olivia Ekelund
Sofia Lynggaard Normann

Photo: Olof Grind

How exactly do you become B Corp? On the occasion of Earth Day 2024, three Scandinavian brands across the fashion and beauty landscape give us an insight into what it takes, and how it has impacted their businesses since

The industry as we’ve known it is in the midst of big change. I was recently fortunate enough to hear a speech by breakout designer Louise Xin, who, against warnings to avoid mixing fashion and politics, used her designs to take a stand against genocide. And by taking a stance and breaking the ‘industry taboo’ she helped launch her career and recently played a part in the implementation of new laws against forced labour. Committing to making a difference for something you genuinely believe in matters. The old rules are out, and now people, and publications, expect to see brands committing to do more. The focus is shifting in favour of those that are taking the no-nonsense approach to their impact on the planet and its inhabitants.


What is B Corp and how does a business apply?

A B Corp Certification is the stamp of approval. It suggests that the company is taking matters on everything from performance and accountability to transparency seriously (no green-washing, in other words). But what does being B Corp actually entail for a business? In short, it's an index to determine a business' social and environmental impact. Members are often the leaders in these areas, working to create better conditions for production, people and the economy as a whole.

The qualification process is very thorough. An application to B Lab, the founding organisation, is made up of over three hundred questions covering every inch of a business. The analysis is divided into five subject areas: governance, workers, community, environment and customers, which all come together to give that business a score out of 200. The average for those who complete the evaluation currently sits at 50.9 points, with the minimum of becoming a B Corp Brand being 80 points. Once certified, businesses undergo a reassessment every three years, to ensure they still meet the standard.

Photo: Lumene

It's a truly holistic evaluation, acknowledging how sustainability and human rights are intricately entwined. One “that motivates us all to do better”, in the words of 66°North, Iceland’s first B Corp label. It’s a breath of fresh air, hearing certified business testimonies, in a world where both brands and public figures dance around the truth.

We ask three Scandinavian brands, from across fashion to beauty, what the B Corp certification means to them, how it’s impacted them and what it is like pioneering the shift towards more consciousness in both the material (production) and the immaterial (people).


This Icelandic brand was founded upon the principles that B Corp champions: creating products that last, with a production that minimises waste and promotes the well-being of our nature and our people. So, it’s no surprise they hold the title of Iceland's first B Corp brand. With 93.5 points, they have been deeply committed to protecting the nature and people of their country since their inception in 1926, and feel that this certification is a validation of that commitment.

Photo courtesy of 66°North.

When asked to elaborate on what the certification means to them, they gave us an answer that mirrors the depth of their dedication. “The company was originally founded to protect the Icelandic fishermen and we have been staying true to our core values of circularity, and have been carbon neutral since 2019,” explains Fannar Páll Aðalsteinsson, head of marketing at the brand.

“We create high-quality, multi-purpose products that are ‘made for life’. From our shop in Iceland, we will repair any product we’ve ever made, whether it’s from a few seasons ago or anytime last century. This has been our promise to customers since the company launched in 1926. We keep pushing ourselves and introducing new initiatives, and becoming the first Icelandic brand to earn a B Corp Certification has been a long-time goal.”

It’s been both an exciting and educational process for the company, Aðalsteinsson explained, and has given them new aims to strive towards. “It has forced us to get a holistic view of the company and pay attention to every little detail. It is only the beginning and we continue to learn and improve across all areas of [our] business. Our new goal is to become among the top three sustainable outerwear brands globally.”

Photos courtesy of 66°North.


True leaders in the sustainability space, Ganni – who proudly boast 90.6 points – have set new standards in the fashion world with their transparency and eco-friendly production. Whilst they haven’t been around for as long as some of their counterparts, they’re in it for the long haul, steadily climbing in points by using more innovative, responsible fabrics, such as VEGA™ (made from leftover grape skins) and CIRCULOSE® by Renewcell (repurposed discarded cotton using only renewable energy), investing in circular business models and launching a carbon reduction scheme – which means part of their spending goes towards minimising the carbon used in their production. They also help their suppliers do the same, installing solar panels and caring for their local biodiversity. All implemented to achieve their goal of 50% total greenhouse reduction by 2027.

Founder Nicolaj Reffstrup weighed in on their certification and the difference it's making to both their company and the industry: “I have been hoping for industry-wide auditing for years because sustainability initiatives are still largely unregulated. As long as our politicians keep proving they don’t have the guts to push the green agenda forward via legislation, businesses are left to regulate themselves.

“B Corp offers a tangible and transparent framework for keeping businesses accountable and setting industry benchmarks… Receiving 90.6 points is worth celebrating, however, there is still a long way to go for us to reach 200 points, which is the ultimate goal.”


Whilst not yet B Corp certified – though they are amid the application process – Lumene know they are the beauty industry leaders when it comes to sustainability practices. “Lumene is the Nordic pioneer in circular beauty with over 20 years of experience in this field,” explains Alain Mavon, Lumene’s Vice-president of RD & Sustainability. “Our aim has always been to promote and lead sustainable beauty within the Nordics through various initiatives spanning from up-cycled ingredients up to fully recyclable packaging.”

Within this umbrella, they cover a lot of bases. They use 95% natural ingredients, extracted from plants sourced from the Nordic region, such as cloudberries, heather, seaweed, birch bark, cottongrass and organic birch sap. And more often than not these products are sourced from by-products of the food and forest industries, like their cloudberry oil which is made from leftovers from juice manufacturers.

Photo: Lumene

They also support nature in their protection initiatives of the Finnish wetlands, which have resulted in the restoration of four swamps and their accompanying diverse ecosystems. Lumene's packaging is also made from at least eighty per cent renewable plastics. They make use of their production waste, too, recycling byproducts into cleaning supplies and insulation material.

When asked what a B Corp Certification would mean to them, Mavon answered that it will only strengthen “our commitment to sustainability work through decades. This certification emphasises and celebrates our holistic approach to sustainability including environmental, economic and social responsibility. We kicked off the process in June 2022, getting 109.5 points on the self-evaluation and now we are in the evaluation phase. If the process is progressing as planned, we are expecting to be B Corp certified by year-end.”

Meaning that Lumene will solidify their status as beauty-leaders in sustainability and will likely soon join the forces of their Scandinavian brothers in arms that boast a B Corp Certification: brands that are proudly and collectively raising the bar for the entire industry.

Photo: Lumene