B Corp certification brings solid business benefits to gift basket purveyor

By hank

- Last updated on GMT

B Corp certification brings solid business benefits to gift basket purveyor

Related tags Corporation Organic certification

Best Organics, a Boulder, CO-based company that offers organic food gift baskets, is the latest to take the plunge into B Corporation status. It solidified the company’s outward profile, but also brought some surprises through introspection.

“I learned quite a lot about my company such as a meaningful percentage of our revenues are supporting emerging markets through the ingredients being used by our vendor partners,”​ company president Seleyn DeYarus told FoodNavigator-USA.

B Corporations are certified by the non-profit B Lab, founded in 2006 by Andrew Kassoy, Jay Coen Gilbert and Bart Houlahan, veterans of private equity and footwear and apparel businesses. Through B Lab, the founders created a points-based certification system for forward-thinking entrepreneurs and businesses that wish to create and operate within a sustainable business framework. The movement is exceeding growth expectations, now with more than 700 companies in 60 business sectors across 24 countries, including industry leaders Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, Sambazon and Numi Tea.

 “These companies are competing not just to be best in the world, but best for the world. B Corp certification is like the Fair Trade label, but for the whole company, not just the bag of coffee,”​ Kassoy said.

Chance for self assessment

DeYarus said the questionnaire process was a chance to assess how the company was delivering on stated goals. “It brings clarity to us about how well we are achieving our goals for quadruple bottom line practices (people, product, planet and profit). The assessment created by B Lab is very detailed and looks at many areas of performance from your governance to community service initiatives and environmental impact,”​ she said.

And it brought other solid business benefits that extend beyond the touch-feely realm, DeYarus said.  B Corporations are designed to enshrine a social mission, but within the context of a profit-making business.  And that community is now growing to the point that it is becoming self-sustaining, she said.

“We have access to the B Corporation community for whom our gifts may be attractive for their gift giving needs and we have access to many businesses and services that offer special deals to B Corps and this is helpful to our success and our bottom line,” ​she said.

Logo fatigue

The B Corporation concept comes at a time when logos and certifications are proliferating, competing for customers’ and consumers’ attention.  Organic certifications, non-GMO verifications, sustainable sourcing practice logos and fisheries certifications now festoon product labels.  Loren Israelsen, executive director of the United Natural Products Alliance, recently identified the vast number of (mostly) bogus logos purporting to signify compliance with FDA GMP regulations as a significant issue on the supply end of the industry.  With all the noise have customers and consumers become jaded?

“I think that it is highly likely there is fatigue but I also think people are becoming more interested in the impact of their purchases and more are connecting the dots between personal choice and bigger issues like global warming, GMOs in food and pesticides in the water and rain, etc, in selecting the products they use and the companies they endorse,”​ DeYarus said.

“I think for the more wary members of our society, who are investigating information out of concern for the health of their families, themselves and their community, they are deriving direct benefit from such certifications as non-GMO Verified, USDA Organic, B Corp, and Cruelty Free.”

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