Better Know a B: Flooglebinder
Flooglebinder are an educational travel company. All of their projects include conservation, community & culture to help protect awesome places and hopefully create better people. Co-founder Brad shared his story with us.
SD | Tell us a bit about the history of your company?
Flooglebinder was founded as a result of Ian's passion for conservation and my passion for travel. Ian was a lecturer in Animal Behaviour and Ecology and also looked after the work based learning modules, which entailed marking the students reports after their work experience placements, many of which were overseas. He became extremely upset and frustrated, as the students were going to incredible places and having just 'okay' experiences and/or collecting insufficient data and knew he could do something better. With my thirst for travel, we teamed up to build life-changing experiences that include culture, community and conservation but at the same time help the students develop, whilst promoting the importance of sustainable travel.
SD | Why did you become a B Corp?
Before we heard of B Corp we always wanted to go above and beyond what was expected from us. Whether it was paying our suppliers more, so money could go back into the program, offering our new staff amazing internships with travel opportunities and the opportunity to explore their own passions, and helping people to travel the right way, whether they came away with us or not. It was about being honest, fair and helpful in everything we do and once we heard about B Corp it was a no brainer.
Linzi from SUPkids mentioned it to us and as soon as we heard, we began the process. She was a little upset as we were certified before her ;) but we owe her a massive thanks as otherwise we wouldn't have know about it and wouldn't be part of such an inspiring and amazing community.
SD | What excites you about being part of the global B Corporation movement?
Everything we do is on a global level as most of our projects are overseas, so to have the opportunity to speak and connect with people around the world and know that they also share the same passions and core values, brings assurance and a high level of integrity. Being part of this movement helps a small business like us, as we've always believed in everything it represents and to see the larger organisations drive and lead the way, brings re-assurance and confidence to what we hope to achieve.
SD | Can you tell us about the impact that your company is having in the world?
We're working with a few other B Corps at the moment to help us record and analyse the impact we're having but for us it's split into two main areas. Firstly, it's the students and participants that we work with to help educate them about global citizenship, different cultures and conservation. Our goal is to help them develop a range of wider key skills as well as gain invaluable experience to assist with a potential career path and increase opportunities for university and employment placements. This includes gaining marine conservation experience in Thailand to Field Guiding qualifications in South Africa.
Secondly, it's the actual projects on the ground that we build the itineraries around, from Turtle conservation in Greece to Elephant conservation in Sri Lanka, as well as community programs in India. These projects need our help from active participation to direct funds helping the programs operate.
And, tied into both these areas is the importance of sustainable travel and respect for local cultures and their communities... people, planet and place.
SD | What benefits have you seen since certification?
We've already had the opportunity to work with a few B Corps and have no doubt that these relationships will develop as we grow. It has also been a great tool to help us analyse and measure our metrics and strive to improve in areas that we're not yet scoring well in. As mentioned previously, just being involved and hearing about what others are doing and their commitment to the B Corp values is very inspirational.
SD | How did your other staff react to the certification?
Well, with our huge team of Ian and I as co-founders, and Nimah our intern, news travelled pretty quick and both we're extremely happy to be part of the community. Ian and I have been building these programs for almost 5 years so it meant a great deal to be able to put a seal of approval to what we do and what we're about. To tell people about this is one thing but to show them that you've not only passed the test but gone above and beyond is something else.
SD | What has changed in your organisation as a result of taking the B Impact Assessment?
We've changed our suppliers in many destinations, who are also in the process of becoming a B Corp and its made us look much deeper into who we work with at every level from logistics and ground handlers, to marketing and printing. Being a small company, not many of the internal policies have been put into practice but it has allowed us to put things in place for when we do grow and recruit. Its a great ethos to operate by and all new projects and decisions within the business now run through these values.
SD | What does the year ahead hold in store for your company?
Last year was really the start for us, as whilst we have been building the projects for a few years, it wasn't until the schools returned in September 2016 that we really started to market them. Working in the education sector is all about trust and confidence and the more educational bodies get to know us, the more they value what we do and what we're about, so we're quietly confident about the year ahead. Our growth in the first year has been fantastic and with our eye on a few new members to the team we're very excited about the 2017/2018 academic year.
SD | Who is your B Corp crush?
There's only one - Patagonia. I've written to Yvon but can't quite get passed his customer service team yet - but i will ;)
SD | It’s 2020, 5 years since you certified as a B Corp, what does the movement look like?
I only see it growing and growing at an exponential level, so its very exciting to picture what it may look like. I envisage it being next to every Fairtrade logo you see on the shelves. I hope that by then we're at a size where we can dedicate much more time to giving back to the B Corp community and help others that are in our position now.
SD | What is inspiring you at the moment?
I'm actually reading Ben Fogle's book at the moment (The accidental adventurer). Whilst I didn't used to like him, I think it was more jealousy as the guy has had some pretty awesome experiences and an incredible journey since Castaway. However, I don’t think many books will beat - Let my people go surfing!