Another piece of the puzzle | Gibsons Games on its B Corp success

Another piece of the puzzle | Gibsons Games on its B Corp success

Gibsons Games has always been a progressive games and puzzles company. Having recently celebrated its centenary year, the family run entity – now under its fourth generation of leadership in the shape of Kate Gibson – has long been known for pushing the boundaries in terms of what a British born hobby specialist can be.

There’s the incredible work it does for charity and community programmes; for raising awareness for and support of mindfulness; it’s work with Age UK and Dementia Concern; its support of Jigsaw4U; the Samaritans… the list goes on.

For the past few years, the team has also been on a journey towards reducing its environmental impact, becoming the first puzzle company to remove shrink wrap plastic from its products, introducing 100% recycled puzzle board to its local (the UK and Europe) production processes, using vegetable-based inks, and more besides.

Oh, and towards the end of 2023 the business finally secured its B Corp accreditation.

“We love to think of ourselves as pioneers in this whole area,” Kate tells Products of Change. “In fact, our sustainability journey began before we even became aware of B Corp – but it was the obvious next step for us and we are incredibly proud of our accreditation. Throughout our 105-year history, strong values have defined Gibsons so striving for B Corp certification has always felt very close to our hearts.

“As we continue to drive change and do so as a small, family business, hopefully we will inspire other, larger companies to follow suit.”

For Kate Gibson, managing director at Gibsons Games, sustainability has always been a key pillar of both her leadership and the family games and puzzles business.

Key to the B Corp movement is the idea and pursuit of continuous improvement, denoted by the regular re-evaluation carried out by the B Lab team – those behind the B Corp certification process. As such, Kate shares that the team is “working on a roadmap to increase its points year-on-year” – not that its very high score of 113 is too shabby at all, but it’s not in the brand’s DNA to sit back and consider its mission ‘achieved.’

We’ll use our roadmap to drive our decision making,” says Kate. “For example, we have recently incorporated Gibsons in the USA and will be manufacturing there to avoid shipping product across the ocean. Embedding B Corp across your business lessens the potential burden on one person and ensures it is alive and has a relevance to all departments.”

That launch to the US market will get underway in Spring this year when Gibsons Games will be “sharing our message with customers across the water.” Of course, the team won’t be taking its eyes of the local markets and the influential sway its B Corp certification will now go on to have across its network of stakeholders and customers.

“We work with a broad range of customers at different stages of the journey of sustainable development,” continues Kate. “Although we have a long way to go as an industry with a huge task on its hands to reduce plastic, we are seeing retailers and consumers demanding much more in terms of rigour and accountability of the supply chain, for example.

“There is much that can be done to champion B Corps and ethical products generally, collaborating with retailers on in-store signage and displays, on-pack messaging, campaigns to shop local, and encouraging retailers to engage their employees by talking about their suppliers who are focused on sustainability.

“Ultimately, if retailers provide the opportunity for consumers to make informed decisions and support ethical shopping, it will be positive for all.”

So, as Gibsons Games readies itself for another Toy Fair in its 105-year history, it is with a sense of duty greater than ever before that Kate steers her team into the coming year.

“Sustainability has always been close to my heart. As custodians of a fourth generation, family business, I believe we are in a privileged position and have a duty to do more and do better. So, why wouldn’t we? We owe it to future generations to do the right thing.”

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