Pon steps up sustainability efforts

Swapfiets, the Pon-owned bicycle concept known for its recognizable blue front-tyred rental bikes and e-bikes, has been awarded the international sustainability label B Corp. With the certification, they now join the impressive list of sustainability pioneers such as Patagonia, Tony's Chocolonely and KeepCup.

Swapfiets is working behind the scenes on a fully circular product line and climate-neutral business operations by 2025, the company says in a recent statement. “Joining the B Corp network ensures that we can go even faster towards their mission of more livable cities.”

280,000 Swapfiets members

Richard Burger, co-founder and Sustainability Director at Swapfiets: “We are proud to join the B Corp community and see the certification as an extra promise and responsibility to our members. When we started Swapfiets in 2014, we had a whole new vision for the bicycle industry by looking at ownership differently and using raw materials in a smarter way. The ‘stop owning, start using’ message is still at the heart of everything we do and, in light of the climate crisis, more topical than ever.”

Today Swapfiets has more than 280,000 members in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, France, Spain, Austria, Italy and the United Kingdom. Swapfiets also started in Spain (Barcelona), Austria (Vienna) and Lyon, Nantes, Strasbourg and Toulouse (France).
By joining the Vittoria2GO tyre service program this spring, Swapfiets took an important step forward in making bicycles more sustainable. The Vittoria2GO subscription service includes the tyre supply, replacement, maintenance service, vandalism and theft insurance as well as the recycling.

What is B-Corp?

Certified B-Corporations are leaders in the global movement for an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy. Unlike other certifications for businesses, B Lab claims to be unique in its ability to measure a company’s entire social and environmental impact. B Corp Certification is a designation that a business is meeting high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials.

In order to achieve certification, a company must:

•    Demonstrate high social and environmental performance by achieving a B Impact Assessment score of 80 or above and passing a risk review. Multinational corporations must also meet baseline requirement standards.
•    Make a legal commitment by changing their corporate governance structure to be accountable to all stakeholders, not just shareholders, and achieve benefit corporation status if available in their jurisdiction.
•    Exhibit transparency by allowing information about their performance measured against B Lab’s standards to be publicly available on their B Corp profile on B Lab’s website.

The B Corp community currently consists of more than 400,000 employees in more than 5,600 B Corps across 80 countries and 155 industries.

The road to circularity

Earlier this year, Swapfiets published their first Sustainability Report which includes a summary and status of the brand’s impact-driven goals. The company aims for a 100% circular product line and 100% climate-neutral business operations by 2025, an ambition that has become even more important now the B Corp certificate has been awarded. 
“Making an impact on the five pillars of B Corp – governance, environment, employees, customers and community – is paramount throughout our organisation, operation and supply chain,” says Richard Burger. “In order to realise a 100% circular product line, innovation is taking place in the fields of reuse, repair and recycled materials. In addition, various pilots and collaborations are underway to, among other things, reduce waste and make corporate clothing in its stores more sustainable.”


Burger: “No one said it would be easy, but we, like other companies in the B Corp network, are determined to achieve our ambitious goals. In doing so, we take a vulnerable position, are transparent about our ambitions and speak honestly about the challenges associated with pioneering in a complex and rapidly changing world.” Other well-known and B-Corp certified companies in the bicycle industry are North American wholesales and distributor QBP and component brand Chris King.