Becoming a B Corp part II: How we got here and what we believe in.

One more time for the people in the back… we are officially a B Corp!

Joining this movement has helped us measure and guide our journey, but you may wonder – what is it that we are working towards?

Use more, buy less.

At Swapfiets we believe in using more and buying less. The current take-make-waste way of consuming is damaging the planet and communities. We dare to step away from the traditional linear way of business, by working with the principle of ‘membership, not ownership’. We design our products to last, providing a reliable service for our members with as little impact on the environment as possible. Together with our members, we are reshaping the traditional value chain. 

We believe in doing it together by creating partnerships and driving innovations. For example, our partnership with Vittoria2Go where we offer tyres as a service. This partnership means lower upfront investment since Swapfiets e-Bikes will be fitted with Vittoria’s premium tires. Vittoria will be responsible for the ownership, maintenance, and recycling of the tires. This means longer-lasting tires, less waste, and lower and more predictable costs for Swapfiets. Increasing their lifespan and puncture resistance, combined with continuing to look for ways to refurbish and reuse tires, is revolutionary for the bicycle industry and will significantly reduce the environmental impact. By joining the B Corp movement, we aim to extend these types of collaborations to inspire and learn from other B Corps.

How data and design leads to sustainability.

In addition to our non-linear business model based on membership, and partnerships, we are committed to durability. We have the luxury of an in-house design team, who create more consciously by designing our products with the principles of repairability, upgradability, disassembly, mono-materials where possible, and accounting for the end of life when designing. This way, we can ensure that our products have long lifetimes with as little impact on the environment as possible.

These design principles are aided by the fact that we are a data-driven company. To limit the number of repairs, and to make them run smoothly, we track how often, and which parts of the bike break down over time. You can read more about how we are using data as a force for good here.

These data insights and future-proof design principles are a big driver that is helping us realise a 100% circular product line. Our Deluxe 7 bike is currently already for 88% circular, which is something we are proud of. 

Doing good is in our veins.

By providing a service for our members, including repairs and recycling, we take ownership of the bike. We are responsible from start to finish.  Because of this, our Deluxe 7 bikes have 35% less climate impact than a regular bike. But it’s not just our product that we are optimising, it’s also the way we run our business. The goal is to become fully climate neutral by 2025. Achieving this goal requires a collective mindset across all departments, from our tech experts, to our bike mechanics. We need everyone on board! Since this year, all our offices and retail locations are running on 100% renewable electricity, and we are optimising distances travelled by our fleet. Think of smarter and shorter routes from bike A to bike B and back to the repair centre. We have many projects in the works to reach this goal, such as our zero-emissions vehicle fleet project.

B Corp Proves it.

To become B Corp certified, you have to pass an extensive assessment process which looks at a company’s environmental and social impact. However, it’s not just a pass or fail. Since we are driven by circularity and making a positive impact, we used – and will use – the B Corp assessment not just as a proof point, but as guidance for improvement. As a result we’ve introduced lots of polices internally, like our new travel policy and code of ethics. 

Unfortunately, circularity isn’t something where you can directly score points in the assessment, but our efforts weren’t lost. We found that due to our circular business model and work towards a circular product, we have a positive impact in areas that the assessment did capture. Especially in the environment section. For example, through our repairs, re-use of parts, and maximising our recycling, we were able to gain recognition in resource conservation and waste reduction. Interested in the nitty-gritty of our scores and most impactful areas? Check out our page at the B Corp site.

We’re on a Journey.

The B Corp assessment shows we still have room for improvement, and that’s a challenge we are facing head-on. In addition to our climate and circularity goals, one area we are excited to be working on is a new social impact strategy!

We’ve got ambitious goals, and we are proud to have achieved the B Corp certification, but we aren;t stopping here.  

Sustainability Team

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Being good to the planet isn't just morally necessary - it's smart business