Pedal Group Receives B-Corp Certification

Australian-founded Pedal Group Pty Ltd announced on Monday 11th March that it had achieved B Corp certification for its 99 Bikes retail stores and Advance Traders wholesalers in Australia and New Zealand.

B-Corp certification is a voluntary code that companies can choose to apply for, that requires them to be audited in relation to their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance on an international level. Participating companies must re-certify every three years to maintain their B-Corp status.

As of February 2024, there were 8,254 certified B Corporations across 162 industries in 96 countries. The B-Corp certification program is run by B Lab, which is a not for profit that was founded in the USA in 2006. “B” stands for “Beneficial”.

The B-Corp program was slow to gain momentum and recognition, but the number of B-Corp certified companies has doubled in the past two years from 4,000 to 8,000 and with more major companies choosing to become certified, it appears that momentum and consumer recognition of the certification is growing.

At the time of writing there were 913 B-Corps in Australia. To the best of our knowledge, Pedal Group is the first bicycle industry related B-Corp within Australia, joining a range of 10 international bike related companies that have previously gained certification.

Two people riding bikes on bush track. B Corporation Certification logo appears to the right.

Pedal Group Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Garnsworthy said the company’s new B Corp certification officially determined in December 2023, recognised that our Pedal Group is on the right track from an Environment, Sustainability & Governance (ESG) perspective.

“We’re very proud of our Pedal Group and 99 Bikes employees, communities, and our business for achieving B Corp recognition. B Corporations globally are industry leaders that use business as a force for good. The B Corp framework will help Pedal Group improve over the long term and to be accountable to higher ESG performance standards.” Andrew said.

“Our commitment to environmental and social responsibility has been part of our company set up, ever since we started in 2007. Matt Turner, the founder of 99 Bikes and the Pedal Group, had a vision of reducing city congestion, getting more people riding bikes, more cars off the road, and helping to reduce carbon emissions.

“While the B Corp certification is a great global recognition for the company across areas of governance, workers, customers, community, and the environment – we know we have a long road ahead to ensuring an ongoing commitment to improving our impacts,” Andrew said.

99 Bikes Sustainability Manager Lara Murray said Pedal Group has undergone an extensive two-year review across 99 Bikes retail stores and Advance Traders wholesalers in Australia and New Zealand.

It achieved the B Impact assessment overall score of 82.6, with the median score for ordinary businesses who complete the assessment being currently 50.9. A score over 80 qualifies for B Corp certification.

“The B Corp assessment and certification processes haven’t been an easy road, but an important one to verify and improve our initiatives on a global scale,” Lara said.

“There’s been initiatives we’ve had for many years, like solar panels in our 99 Bikes stores and our employee Earning to Give initiatives where employees can donate the equivalent of 1% of their wage to a charity of their choice.

“But it’s also driven us to improve and expand our policies, procedures, and processes – like our in-store soft plastics recycling, tyre and tube recycling, upcycling bikes, cardboard packaging, and updating our Supplier Codes of Conduct to influence more change within the industry.

“We’ve improved and introduced policies such as an expanded Parental Leave policy, and have started our journey to our goal of Carbon Neutral by 2030 with our first Carbon Inventory Assessment with EnergyLink,” Lara said.

Employees were at the core of Pedal Group’s ESG push, leading its ride-to-work initiative where 99 Bikes staff rode over 336,000km in FY2023, and employees also raised over $2.3 million via its Earning to Give program at the end of 2023.

“B Corp isn’t about being the “best” or “first” – it’s about being a part of a community of businesses striving to be a force for good. We hope it inspires more of our peers within the bicycle industry and more Australian companies to join the movement towards improving our environmental and social responsibilities,” Lara said.

“One of the common misconceptions is the high costs of social and environmental initiatives. Sometimes it absolutely does cost more, but what many don’t realise is there’s so much more you can do that saves costs along the way – and more importantly, helps our communities, and environment now and in the future.”

A man standing with back of van full of used bicycle tyres
Tyres collected and ready for recycling

Programs That Contributed to Certification

Here as some of the specific actions the Pedal Group has undertaken that have helped it to achieve B-Corp Certification.

Recycling tubes and tyres – All stores in QLD, VIC, NSW, SA and WA recycle tyres, while NSW and WA also recycle inner tubes. This helps reduce landfill and the rubber is re-used to create products like athletics tracks and playgrounds or is broken back down into its useable components.

Reducing general waste by 50% by 2027, with product sourcing including sustainability, reducing the use of plastics, non-recyclable materials and fostering a recycling culture.

Paper and Cardboard recycling – all stores have paper and cardboard recycling bins, that reduces future energy needs, avoids landfill and helps conserve our limited natural resources like trees.

Soft Plastics – all our stores in QLD, VIC, SA, and NSW recycle soft plastics. These plastics are then baled and recycled into useful items like plastic bottles.

Metals – workshops recycle metal components in a range of stores in VIC, WA, SA, QLD, NSW and ACT. This allows these products to be reused and given a new life, keeping them from landfill.

99 Bikes Warehouses – In their Australian online warehouse they have eliminated plastic bubble wrap, and only include it when they are re-using supplies from inbound orders. Otherwise, they use paper fill made from old cardboard boxes. Their New Zealand warehouse sends all orders in compostable bags or cardboard boxes.

Supplier packaging – Pedal Bikes packaging has now been changed to 95% recyclable materials. Cinettica has also swapped its packaging for apparel from soft plastics to cardboard.

In 2024 – Pedal Group aims to reduce like for like water usage by 5%. They are installing water-saving fittings in their stores and changing behaviours through staff education.

Upcycling – Pedal Group upcycles to offer new life to bikes that would otherwise end up in landfill. This also allows them to partner with charities that give back to our communities and provides opportunities for people to ride and learn more about bikes who may otherwise not be able to access them.

South Australia – Partnering with Lighthouse Youth Projects Inc, a community workshop that strives to empower all youth, especially those who are vulnerable and are at-risk, to achieve their full potential through bike based programs and workshops.

Western Australia – Partnering with Dismantle, a charity empowering and enabling vulnerable young people to live their life in a self-directed way.

Australian Capital Territory – Partnering with The Recyclery, a community workshop where preloved bicycles are refurbished and give a second chance at life, avoiding landfill and helping the community.

Victoria – Partnering with Brainwave Australia, a new Melbourne based social enterprise to donate, recycle and reuse bikes while providing employment and traineeships for people with a disability and raising money for Brainwave Australia.

Employee program – since 2016 the Pedal Group has donated over $2.3 million via its Earning to Give program at the end of 2023 to charities of their choice. Some of the charities we’ve supported include Beyond Blue, WWF, Breast Cancer Network Australia, Social Ventures Australia, Black Dog Institute, Movember, RSPCA Queensland, Seabin Foundation, Starlight Children Foundation, and Traction.

Social Inclusion – Pedal Group are participants of the Welcome Here Project which supports businesses and services throughout Australia to create and promote environments that are visibly welcoming and inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) communities.

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