We’ve been silent on social media for the past two weeks hoping to create space for other, more important voices to be heard. Internally, we’ve been reading, learning, discussing, and planning. Here’s what we’ve learned, and our commitment to change for the better. This is just the beginning.
We have included a list of links to some of the resources we found valuable and insightful when learning about these topics. We have listed them at the bottom of this blog and encourage you to read them as well.
We stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. We must all fight for a future where the color of one’s skin or one’s socioeconomic background does not stand in the way of self-actualization. This starts by looking inward and understanding how we have been part of the problem.
Over the last two weeks, cities across North America have been alight, both physically and metaphorically. The kindling—hundreds of years of oppression, injustice, and inequity—was ignited by the murder of George Floyd at the hand of a white police officer.
It is unfortunate, though not necessarily unexpected, that it took yet another video showing police brutality against a Black person for the general public, ourselves included, to mobilize and wake up to the conditions that our fellow humans are put through daily by society.
Our system was built on a foundation of marginalizing Black, Indigenous, and other people of color. This system consists of not only the laws that govern who is given a leg up by the legal, educational, housing, and policing systems, but also our toxic, capitalist economy, which puts wealth before people.
Make no mistake that we are just as embroiled in this reality in Canada and have been willfully ignorant for too long.
For centuries, we have traded lives for dollars—if not physically through slavery, then through disparate education, healthcare, and social systems, which all keep marginalized groups at the bottom of society.
As a company, we must recognize that if we are not part of the solution—condemning and actively trying to dismantle the aforementioned systems and the endemic racism—then we are part of the problem.
As companies, we must ask ourselves, what is our role going to be as we go forward? Are we going to continue to be a cog in the machine that is for-profit capitalism? Or are we going to change the system?
This system is the same one that enslaved Black people and brought them to North America. It is the system that attempted to eradicate our Indigenous peoples and their cultures. It is the system that has destroyed, without hesitation, our environment. It is the system that continues to discriminate based on race, status, and money.
To reiterate, we must be unequivocally clear: We stand in solidarity with those fighting for a better tomorrow—a future where the color of one’s skin or one’s socioeconomic background does not stand in the way of their ability to drive a car, go for a run, or self-actualize. This starts by looking inward and seeing how we have been part of the problem and then setting a course for how we can be part of the solution.
The answer to us became abundantly clear over this last week. We must change the way we do business to be more accountable, more responsible, and more equitable. Here at BE ultimate, we want to ensure all of our actions are socially conscious and that we create external accountability for our team. This goal brought us to accelerate our drive to becoming a B-Corp company - a certification that holds businesses such as Patagonia and Ben & Jerry's accountable for their social contributions.
What does B Corp Certification mean?
B Corp Certification doesn’t just evaluate a product or service; it assesses the overall positive impact of the company that stands behind it.
Certified B Corporations are rigorously assessed and certified based on the impact that they have on their workers, customers, community, and environment. Certified B Corporations also amend their legal governing documents to require their board of directors to balance profit and purpose.
The combination of third-party validation, public transparency, and legal accountability that creates a framework for a socially conscious business- not only for the coming months, but for its lifetime.
Over the coming weeks we will be releasing a detailed plan and commitment to obtaining B-Corp certification.
Through this endeavor, and eventually through a legal commitment, our hope is that we can be the change we want to see: a more accountable, transparent, and responsible business that considers and cares about all of its stakeholders—its environment, its communities, its consumers, and its employees.
We are both excited and nervous for what this means for the coming months and years, but we know it is a step in the right direction.
We will be publishing updates on our progression toward becoming B-Corp Certified in the coming months, as we expect this will be a yearlong progression. Feel free to reach out directly to me if you have any thoughts, questions, or concerns: Rumi@beultimate.com
Links and References
- The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration - Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Dear America - Lisa Leslie
- Carceral Capitalism - Jackie Wang
- Five Faces of Oppression - Iris Marion Young
- White Rage - Carol Anderson
- Opinion - Chimwemwe Undi
- Canadian Capitalism and the Dispossession of Indigenous Peoples - Todd Gordan
- Democracy Now! Occupied Canada - Hayden King, Erica Violet Lee, Leroi Newbold
- Cole’s Notes - Desmond Cole
- Poverty, Class and Covid-19 in Toronto - Brian Champ