NZ Lodge is the first accommodation in the country to be awarded B Corp status

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A luxury fly fishing retreat in New Zealand’s South Island has become the country’s first accommodation provider to be certified as a B Corp.

Owen River Lodge is one of 390 companies in Australia and New Zealand that have been recognized for their positive social and environmental impact, alongside Kathmandu, Patagonia and Fishpond.

Owen River Lodge owner and manager Felix Borenstein said it was a “long and difficult” process to gain accreditation.

“We have had Qualmark Luxury Lodge accreditation since 2017 and have won some very big industry awards here and abroad, so I felt confident about the B Corp certification. But that was a whole different order of difficulty,” Borenstein said.

“It’s definitely worth it, though, to prove you’re following the chops.”

Owen River Lodge, which caters primarily to an affluent international market, is the only fishing lodge in the world to have this accreditation, according to Borenstein.

While the business has been hit hard by border closures over the past two years, it has come out the other side with all staff still employed.

“There aren’t a lot of job opportunities in a small town like Murchison, so the layoffs would have impacted the whole community,” Borenstein said.

“And other than that, I only worked on the things I still had some control over, like restoring plantations along our riverfront and getting Carbon Positive certification with Ekos.

“It turns out that’s exactly the kind of stuff that B Corp certification is about—doing the right thing, basically.”

Achieving B Corp status has become an increasingly important marker of corporate social responsibility in a variety of industries in recent years, and Borenstein believes this is how business will be conducted in the future. .

“I’m very happy that we jumped on board early,” he said.

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