Located on New Zealand’s South Island, the Owen River Lodge is one of the first lodges that come to mind when thinking about exploring New Zealand’s most hallowed waters. Now, the lodge has established itself as the first fly fishing lodge in the world to attain recognition as a Certified B Corporation, or B Corp, which is not an easy task. You can learn more about the certification and what it takes, in the press release below!
From the Owen River Lodge:
South Island luxury fly fishing lodge Owen River Lodge is the first fishing lodge in the world and the first accommodation provider in New Zealand to be recognized as a Certified B Corporation, or B Corp.
The stringent certification process measures social and environmental performance, with organizations audited to assess their impact across five key stakeholder areas: workers, customers, governance, environment, and community.
Owen River Lodge owner / manager Felix Borenstein said attaining the accreditation was “long and difficult and took months.”
“We’ve had Qualmark Luxury Lodge accreditation since 2017 and have won some pretty big industry awards here and overseas, so I felt confident about B Corp certification. But this has been a whole different order of tough.
“It’s definitely worth it, though, to prove that you walk the talk.”
Gaining the certification places Owen River Lodge in a select group of just 390 businesses in Australia and New Zealand, including local corporate responsibility leaders Fish Pond, Patagonia, Abel & Ross Reels, and Kathmandu.
“We’re also the only fishing lodge in the world to have this accreditation,” says Felix. “So we’re rubbing shoulders with the likes of Patagonia and Fishpond, which is pretty mind-blowing.”
The lodge, which primarily caters to an affluent international market, has been hit hard by closed borders over the last two years. It’s been a point of pride for Felix that Owen River Lodge survived with all staff still employed.
“There aren’t many job opportunities in a small place like Murchison, so redundancies would’ve affected the whole community,” he says. “And apart from that, I just worked on the things that I still had some control over — like restoration plantings along our river frontage and getting the Lodge certified Carbon Positive with Ekos.
“As it turned out, these are exactly the sorts of things that B Corp certification is all about — doing the right thing, basically.”
He says B Corp has gained a lot of traction in recent years and accreditation is becoming an increasingly important marker of corporate social responsibility.
“It’s the way business will be done in the future,” he says. “And I’m very glad that we’ve jumped aboard early.”