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

Owen River Lodge is one of 390 businesses in Australia and New Zealand that have been recognised for positive social and environmental impact, alongside the likes of Kathmandu, Patagonia and Fishpond.

Owen River Lodge Owner and Manager, Felix Borenstein, said it was a “long and difficult” process to achieve the accreditation.

 “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,” said Borenstein.

“It’s definitely worth it, though, to prove that you walk the talk.”

Owen River Lodge, which primarily caters 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 last two years, it has come out the other side with all staff still employed.

“There aren’t many job opportunities in a small place like Murchison, so redundancies would’ve impacted the whole community,” said Borenstein.

“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.”

Achieving B Corp status has become an increasingly important marker of corporate social responsibility across a variety of industries in recent years, and Borenstein believes it’s the way business will be done in the future.

“I’m very glad that we’ve jumped aboard early,” he said.