It’s not enough to say you do something. You have to prove it
Prima is a purpose-driven wellbeing platform making skincare, body care and supplements with hemp CBD and functionally innovative botanical ingredients. When Prima was just a seed of an idea, it was consciously designed as a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC) with the rigor, accountability, and certified standards of B Lab.
Founder & CEO, Christopher Gavigan, whose commitment to better has spanned his entire career, speaks to MaCher…
Where did your passion for business with purpose come from/who inspired you?
I deeply believe that when humans embrace the essential (and historic) connectivity to the natural world — we become more healthy, engaged, fulfilled, and happier.
Modern, busy, overly artificial synthetic lifestyles have built in separation, physically and at the deepest levels of biology and energy, and this is wreaking havoc on our bodies, minds, relationships, and what we care about. It’s critical we reconnect, realign our habits and practices, and attune our bodies more to the natural world of botanicals, biorhythms of the environment, and embrace a lifestyle of eco-literacy and engagement with nature.
What do you think is the importance of the B Corp movement for business or in how or what people buy?
It can be easy to think that being a B Corp is just about having a thoughtful product, but it’s so much more than that. It’s about the relationships you have with your vendors and supply chain, how you treat and empower your employees, what you do with the power of your business, and so much more.
As a member of this passionate, growing coalition of B Corps around the globe, we deeply believe it is the most considered, responsible, socially just way to create and operate a business. Not only does the consumer demand it, but it’s simply the right thing to do to ensure a sustainable, equitable, fair, balanced future. In fact, we witness every day that our leadership position and success in our hemp/CBD and functional botanicals is strongly enabled by the B Corps foundational ideology, which gives us the guideposts and guardrails to build something unique, people-first, success-oriented, and innovative.
What do you think is the importance of being a B Corp for your customers?
In many industries, especially the CBD industry, the onus falls on the consumer to do their research and due diligence on the brand — who is behind it, what gives them credibility, and why they should trust them. Because of this lack of market trust and transparency, third party certifications can be enormously helpful for customers to begin sorting through quality companies who practice what they preach. It’s not enough to say you do something — whether it’s responsibly operating your business or providing clean products. You have to prove it, through certifications like B Corps, and providing transparency to team, operations, testing, and more.
Have you seen evidence of this among your customers or wider market you want to attract?
Yes! W’ve heard from countless customers and even press that our B Corp status sets us apart in the CBD industry and beyond, with Forbes naming us “The Patagonia of CBD”.
How much does your business look to other B Corps as partners/suppliers?
Prima’s entire founding team has a long history of building and working with B Corps — over a decade now. Before Prima, I founded The Honest Company as a B Corp, and I previously worked with Patagonia, a founding B Corp brand and the globe’s leading social enterprise.
Many members of our team have been involved in the B Corp movement for over a decade, championing the work personally and professionally. To us, being a B Corp demonstrates our commitment to building a business on a deeply ethical foundation that honors our employees, our customers, our communities and the environment with the utmost dignity and respect.
What examples of how B2B collaborations can really drive change can you point to?
One of the best parts about being a B Corp is joining a diverse, passionate community of nearly 4,000 certified organizations across 70 countries and 150 different industries — including Patagonia, AllBirds, Cotopaxi, Athleta, BeautyCounter, Ben & Jerry’s, Seventh Generation and Danone — all purposefully embracing empathy in business to take critical action for social and environmental causes and improvements.
We’re building a community of like-minded B Corps (called “B Corp Buds”) to collaborate on social media giveaways, events, co-branded emails and more.
What are your key learnings from the process of becoming B Corp certified?
Make sure you’re thinking about not just the products you make, but how you operate as a business.
When we started the company, we anticipated all of the areas we needed to build out and proactively built them over our first year with a clear roadmap. One of the great things, too, about the new Pending status that B Labs added for startups is the ability to take the assessment prior to one year of business history, in order to get the roadmap for success. The B Corp team makes it so clear and transparent as part of that process and what you need to consider — not just the responsibility of the products you create, but also how you treat your employees (and prove it with paperwork!). B Lab was so supportive and collaborative throughout the entire process and we are so proud to become a B Corp after one year of business. The biggest challenge was having to wait for our one year mark to get our official certification!
What does the future look like for your business?
The future looks tremendously bright for Prima — as we are truly pioneering on science, leading with integrity, and reimagining the old paradigms to shift the dialogue to preventative, botanical-forward health.
Who is your sustainability hero?
Yvon Chouinard of course!
This article has been posted by MaCher 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 Prima, please click here.