Today, many Food Co-ops in the U.S. are using sustainability reports conducted by third parties to see how environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable they are. There are a few major organizations that generally conduct these reports, such as B Corps and the Sustainable Food Trade Association.
With B Corp, companies fill out an assessment which evaluates their impact on the environment and on society. With a high enough score, a company can become a “Certified B Corporation”. In essence, B Corps differ from conventional corporations in that they are designed to have a material positive impact on society which is reflected in the company’s purpose, accountability, and transparency. B Corps are evaluated annually and the report is accessible to the public. All in all, B Corps are leading the way for sustainable companies.
By the way, did you know that W.S. Badger, which is based out of Gilsum, NH is a B Corp? Here are some of their core principles, which make them a well-deserved B Corp:
1. Individual responsibility in a team concept
2. Personal and caring approach in communications
3. Supporting organic, sustainable agriculture through their purchasing practices
4. A business environment that is respectful and supportive of all employees, and of the people they serve
5. Personal and social healing through their charitable giving
6. Environmental responsibility
7. Honesty and integrity in their business practices
8. Fun is good
Also, your very own Monadnock Food Co-op is looking into becoming a B Corp. The Co-op sees the importance of showing its commitment to the quality of life in the Keene community and the environment, as well as maintaining honesty and integrity in its business practices.
Just recently, our Food Co-op completed another sustainability report done by Manomet, called the Grocery Stewardship Certification. This assessment tool recognized that the Monadnock Food Co-op is qualified for the certification and can improve its sustainability standing by making simple changes, such as switching all of its lighting to LED and using pull down curtains on the open refrigeration units. This assessment tool will be used every three years to reevaluate the store and award points so it can be compared to other grocery stores and improve on its last assessment’s score.
Sustainability reporting can be useful to us by teaching us more about sustainability and what companies are doing to be more responsible. Then, we can make our purchasing decisions based on this information and make improvements along the way.