We are proud to share the news that Wild Friends is officially a certified Benefit Corporation!
Erika and I first became curious about B-Corps a few years ago, when our local grocery chain, and first customer, New Seasons Market, became the first B-Corp Certified grocery store. We were inspired by the idea of infusing mission into every level of Wild Friends, including at the business formation level, and we set off on the B-Corp path: learning what it would take, and putting together a plan to make it happen.
So, what is a B-Corp anyways?
A benefit corporation is a legal tool to create a solid foundation for long term mission alignment and value creation.
Essentially a legal "overlay" on top of an LLC, C-Corp, or S-Corp, becoming a B-Corp means companies can legally expand the obligations of their boards beyond the financial interests of shareholders to include considering environmental and social impact.
There are currently over 2,500 Certified B Corporations in more than 50 countries. Among some of the best known B-Corps are Ben & Jerry's, Patagonia, Dansko, and Stonyfield - companies known for doing good. Out of those 2,500, 152 are Food & Beverage companies based in the United States - one of which is now Wild Friends!
As a consumer-facing business, we make big promises to our consumers. Becoming a B-Corp will help us to keep those promises over the long-term.
Why did Wild Friends become a B-Corp?
The first line of the B-Corp Declaration of Interdependence is: "We envision a global economy that uses business as a force for good."
This vision pulls at our heart strings and speaks to the reason we are passionate about the work we do at Wild Friends. We are on a mission to make food friendly, and our purpose is to create the friendly products and friendly company we want to see in the world. Our customers, consumers, suppliers and employees trust us to care about their health and well-being, and the health and well-being of the environment, just as much as we care about our shareholders' financial well-being.
Becoming a B-Corp allows us to responsibly, and legally, offer all our stakeholders a high level of care when making decisions.
At Wild Friends, our stakeholders include:
- Our shareholders
- Our customers
- Our consumers
- Our suppliers and manufacturers
- Our employees
For company leaders like Erika and myself who care deeply about all the stakeholders in our business, not just shareholders, becoming a B-Corp is a key step in infusing that vision into Wild Friend's DNA.
How did Wild Friends become a B-Corp?
So what does it take to become a B-Corp? Certified B Corporations must achieve a minimum verified score on the B Impact Assessment—a rigorous assessment of a company’s impact on its workers, customers, community, and environment. The maximum points a company can earn on this assessment is 200 points, and a company must reach 80 points to quality as a B-Corp.
The points range across five areas: Governance, Workers, Community, Environment, and Customers. Each area contains many questions, each containing the potential to award only a few points - this ensures that companies who are approved are performing well in every category.
For example, sharing transparent financials with employees earns 1.125 points (only 78.875 to go!)
Wild Friends' final 2018 Impact Score was 88 points. We are proud to have cleared the 80 point bar with room to spare, and room to grow.
What were our key strengths in our B-Corp assessment?
- We are operated by women
- We provide generous benefits, including 401k, 12 weeks parental leave, 4 weeks vacation, and time off to volunteer
- 30%+ of our suppliers create employment in low-income areas, and 75% of our supplier dollars were spent within the USA
- We partner with Girls, Inc by donating time, product and money to support their initiatives empowering young women to be Strong, Smart and Bold
- We seek to be good environmental stewards in our supply chain and in how we use resources at our home office and remotely
Where are our opportunities to improve in our next B-Corp assessment?
- We can be more transparent with our outside stakeholders (consumers, customers and suppliers) in our social and environmental goals/metrics (2018 Impact Report, anyone?)
- We can implement diversity and inclusion training as part of our onboarding process
- We can increase our give-back program as we scale
- We can optimize our supply chain to be kinder to the environment, sourcing ingredients from closer to the manufacturing location and limiting freight (by far our largest source of emissions)
We're continuing to invest into the initiatives that support our B-Corp certification. We'll take the assessment again in 2020, with the goal of an even higher score this time. You can keep up with our B-Corp certification, and monitor our points, on the B-Lab website, here (we encourage you to search for your other favorite B-Corps while you're there!)
Thank you to the folks at B-Lab for shepherding us through this process, and to the Wild Friends team members who lead the charge to making this certification possible. Let's keep raising the bar on what it means to B the Change!