March is B Corp month. All month, certified companies will be trying to build awareness and encourage new audiences to buy from, work for and do business with other B Corps — companies that are proven to be the best for transparency, and accountability to all of their stakeholders.
Derek Hydon is MaCher USA’s President. As a very proud B Corp advocate, we spoke to him about where his passion for business with purpose came from and what he thinks the future looks like for MaCher.
Tell me about the history of MaCher USA and where your passion for business with purpose came from
In 1992, newly arrived in America, I met two people who would change my life: my future wife Deb, and my future business partner Martin. Martin and I started to build MaCher USA by custom designing and manufacturing branded products, packaging, and merchandise that inspire consumer loyalty and advocacy, helping consumers share their experiences with others. What started as a grass roots “right thing to do” has developed into a core mission to do right by the earth, put people before profits, positively influence others, and provide the best workplace possible.
My epiphany was August 2008 at the Tourism Cares sustainability summit in Las Vegas. 120 Executives, all worried about a looming recession. The team at B Lab, particularly Sophie Faris, were my inspiration and mentors. B Lab had created a roadmap to follow from measurement to impact.
What do you think is the importance of the B Corp movement for business?
For as long as I can recall, 80% of B Corps I speak to say their performance metrics have improved and their shareholders are happy. In our case, pre-pandemic, every one of our ‘traditional’ performance metrics from revenue per employee, profit, staff retention as well as supplier and customer satisfaction improved as our B Corp journey progressed from our first certification in 2014.
What do you think is the importance of being a B Corp for your customers?
Well it helps customers identify MaCher as meeting the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance. I think our annual progress reporting promotes public transparency and enables us to be useful in helping others on their own sustainability journey.
Many of our customers have adopted and improved on practices we’ve been following for some years and when it comes to prospecting, we’re increasingly finding potential customers have heard of B Corps and are interested in learning more.
What examples of how B2B collaborations can really drive change can you point to?
As a certified B Corp, we leverage our relationships both within the B Corp community as well as through a diverse group of non-profits, associations and social enterprises in order to help others. This has taken both an advisory form — supporting companies in their transition to B Corp as well as non-profit board development, as well as more practical such as helping the US Tour Operators Association find a solution to help reduce plastic water bottle use at their annual conference. We were a key part of founding B Local LA, primarily to help learn and share our collective ideas and challenge each other to improve our practices. Today, we have some great B Corp customers and suppliers.
What does the future look like for MaCher?
I have been astounded by the creative ways that everyone in our team has been showing up to help the business during the pandemic. While we have experienced both the personal impacts, and financial pain of so many of our loved customers in travel & tourism, we are still fighting with a full complement of 23 team members, and I am not sure that would be the case if we were not committed to our sustainability journey.
Our vision to 2023 and beyond is really optimistic and that we will continue to use our business as a force for good, primarily helping challenge our customers, suppliers and stakeholder partners to embrace the critical importance for social and environmental justice.
Who is your sustainability hero?
It has to be Al Gore — he was the start of my journey, and my decision in 2008 to not buy another car until a viable EV was available. That was my Model S, that I’m still enjoy driving 9 years later with no perceivable loss of range!
This article has been posted to celebrate B Corp Month 2021 and build awareness of companies that meet the highest standard of verified social and environmental performance. For more information about MaCher, please click here.