Mediaplanet interviewed CEO and co-founder of Montreal’s Frank And Oak, Ethan Song, to learn about the importance of sustainable business practices.
What inspired the idea behind Frank And Oak and making it sustainable?
For us, it was about wanting to create a brand that had the same values as the communities that we were involved in, which meant building a brand for this generation. There’s always this desire of giving back, and it’s no longer only about making cool products, but putting out cool products that have meaning.
Congratulations on Frank And Oak’s B Corporation certification! What did you find most challenging about the process of getting certified?
B Corp is quite stringent. It doesn’t only cover the areas of environment and sustainability, it also covers things like governance, charity work, and employee practices. The reason we wanted to be a member of B Corp was to have a third party take an external look at our practices. The main challenge was how many areas B Corp actually covers, and therefore it’s quite challenging to score enough points to be part of it because it’s not about doing one thing well, it’s about being a well-rounded company in terms of social and environmental practices. It gave us a transparent assessment of where we stood as a company and provided us with areas of improvement, which we implemented.
Frank And Oak just released its 2022 sustainability goals. Looking into the future, what are you most excited about?
I’m most excited about the overall engagement of our employees, and also of our customers in Canada and the U.S. We’re really seeing a shift, a broader shift, and I’m excited that we’re part of this movement that we created ourselves. It’s really sad with all this talk about climate change and all this talk about frustration. Ultimately, it’s about caring for our communities, our environment, and our future and the future of our societies. I really see that as a broader movement from a new generation that we’re seeing. And that’s what I’m most excited about. From a business perspective, this is driving change in both what companies do and what suppliers are doing.
Why do you think it’s important that more businesses start taking on a more sustainable approach?
By giving better options for customers, you’re also helping to shape people’s awareness around their own practices. I think that we’re in a society where people consume and there’s nothing wrong with that, but for businesses, it’s better for them to take an approach where they’re being respectful and mindful of the environment.