Perhaps one of the most exciting parts about being a B-Corporation is the company we keep. More often than not, the missions these companies take on are larger than life and are often done in a way that rarely attracts much attention. Because doing good for the sake that it is the right thing to do, is the right thing to do.
At the end of this blog, I’ll leave a few links to other B-Corporations making a difference in the world, but I want to talk about a B-Corporation we got to work with recently: King Arthur Flour.
There was a moment that spoke out to me during our first trip to King Arthur Flour. It helped me better understand the power of a company that is 100% employee owned. To better paint the picture, King Arthur Flour operates out of six spaces; 3 warehouses/manufacturing buildings, two cafes (one of them double as their education hub where they teach classes on baking), and their office. Each space acts as an integral part of the business, as a whole and autonomously with leads, that have the power to make decisions that impact that building directly. In one of their manufacturing buildings called “Merlin,” the owner of Amavida and I, had the privilege of touring the facility and meeting with one of the leaders of Merlin. As we discussed coffee and equipment, jokingly a comment was made by one of the staff on whether or not they would have the power to decide whether or not they could keep the system they had. Our guide, in full earnest, replied, “Of course you have the power to make that decision. This is your company too.” As part owner of the company, the employee owners can decide on what is the right decision in a way that CEOs of a 450-employee company are just not capable of. Giving this power to its employees is one of the core aspects that make King Arthur Flour so great.
Recently, I listened to a podcast where the three CEOs of King Arthur Flour talked on collaborative leadership and employee ownership. One of the things they commented on was one of my biggest takeaways from the visit; how forward they are about being a B-Corporation. If you get a chance while walking down just about any grocery store isle in the country, pick up a bag of King Arthur Flour and you’ll see the Certified B-Corporation logo. They were the first B-Corporation to do this and continue to find new and innovative ways to expose and educate their customers on B-Corporations. When B-Labs (the managing body of B-Corporations) let King Arthur Flour know how great it was that they made this first move, the executive team replied “Of course. It just makes sense”.
As you scroll through King Arthur’s website, and learn about them working with Feeding America® to provide a minimum of one million meals by June 2017 to fight domestic hunger or their focus on social responsibility through good sourcing, employee wellness, community involvement, etc. my takeaways wind up being but a couple drops in the ocean that makes this 225 year old company a good business.
As stated earlier, this is but one good business. The B-Corporation family is made up of many similar stories. Below are a few links worth looking into if you’d like to learn how the brands you support in the grocery stores or browse through on the Internet are making a difference in the world we live. They do this with your support, collaboration with other B-Corporations, and dedication to “Using business as a force for good”.