MILAN — In a move to prove its commitment toward the environment and a socially responsible business model, Biella-based textile firm Reda has received the B Corp certification, WWD has learned.
It is the first Italian textile firm to obtain such certification, and among the few companies operating in the same sector worldwide. B Corp’s community counts more than 3,400 certified firms, 140 of which operate in the apparel and textile sector including Patagonia Inc., Reformation and Eileen Fisher Inc.
Reda, as all businesses interested in joining the B Corp movement, has been evaluated by B Lab’s certification authority through the Business Impact Assessment, a questionnaire that measures the degrees of social and environmental performances according to five categories: governance, people, community, environment and clients.
“It is fundamental that companies increasingly become places where we can share and promote values, visions and projects, beyond profit,” said Ercole Botto Poala, chief executive officer of Reda.
“Sustainable innovation is the first step toward creating value for the society, which is only possible if people are involved and seen as the true protagonists of change. We are proud that Reda is the first textile company in Italy to adopt the B Corp model, as yet another expression of its concrete commitment toward people and the environment,” he added.
To this end, the company has been actively upping its sustainable efforts both in terms of products and processes. It recently introduced the Woollness lineup of naturally stretch and breathable fabrics treated in high-temperature environments and washed with natural soaps and a sustainable bi-stretch fabric that employs the Roica V550 polymer, which biodegrades without releasing harmful substances.
The textile firm sources its merino wool from SustainaWool and ZQ-certified farms and gained the EMAS certification, guaranteeing full respect of legal standards and constant improvement in environmental performance. In 2019 the company released two Environmental Product Declarations, or EPDs, protocols to assess the impact of the mill’s operations. The Biella complex has been equipped to produce renewable energy via a photovoltaic system, while left over fabrics are usually recycled to produce fillings or carded flannel.
In terms of social corporate responsibility, Reda has implemented a range of welfare initiatives and regularly supports new hires through training programs. As the lockdown was being enforced in Italy, it swiftly offered its employees to work remotely from home and has always supported local associations and charity events.
The B Corp seal of approval is issued by B Lab Co., a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit founded in 2006 by Bart Houlahan, Jay Coen Gilbert and Andrew Kassoy. Houlahan and Coen Gilbert, who came from the footwear and apparel company AND1, and Kassoy, who had worked in private equity, have advocated for a more “conscious capitalism.” To that end, B Lab bestows the certification on companies it deems responsible corporate citizens that consider their impact not just on investors, but on employees, the environment and the communities in which they operate.