Using our business as a force for good: our B corp certification
Organic. Fairtrade. Non-GMO. Gluten-free. Vegan. Sure, those labels all sound good (and they are!) but beside offering up a wholesome boost of goodness for us to snack on, our company recognizes that it has an equal responsibility to the community and to the planet. Introducing: our B Corp certification.
What is a B Corporation?
“B Corp” is to business what “Fairtrade” is to chocolate or “Organic” is to fruit and veggies. It certifies that things are done better and consciously. Introduced by B Lab, a nonprofit startup that aims to redefine success in business, the B Corp certification represents the highest social and environmental standards in the world. It recognizes companies from all industries that have second and third bottom lines —social and environmental objectives that go beyond financial growth.
B Corp certified businesses (a.k.a. B Corps or Benefit Corporations) score a minimum of 80 out of 200 points for their positive impact on the environment and on their workers, customers and community. The audit also takes into account overall governance, celebrating businesses that demonstrate transparency and accountability.
In 2015, PRANA became one of the first Canadian food companies to be certified B Corp. In 2017, PRANA ranked #1 in environment in the Food category. Today, PRANA is among the select 2,600 B Corporations in 60+ countries and 150 industries using their business as a force for social and environmental change.
Having scored 124 points out of a possible 200 during our 2017 audit, PRANA became the highest ranked B Corporation in the Environment section in all North America - and in 2018 we were honored to make the Best for the Environment list!
We already were in the spirit of using our business as a motor for change since day one, but we gave ourselves the resources and budget to do even more. Next stop? The 2020 audit, and sky’s the limit!
What we do as a B Corp
One of the things we did was complete a life cycle analysis of all our activities with an external expert agency to better understand our global environmental footprint in order to reduce and offset our impact where it matters the most. From this in-depth analysis, we developed a sustainability action plan including numerous initiatives.
Here is what we've implemented so far since 2015:
- We offset our greenhouse gas emissions for 2017 by planting trees, effectively becoming carbon-neutral. We also purchased Green-e Energy Certified Renewable Energy Certificates —the equivalent of taking 164 cars off the road for a year and growing 19 904 trees per year for 10 years;
- We launched a profit-sharing program and all permanent employees with at least a year of seniority have become shareholders in the company;
- We kickstarted our responsible-sourcing program by switching all our California almonds for Spanish almonds which have a much lower environmental impact, reducing the water usage by at least 300 Olympic pools every year.
- We diverted 120 tons of waste from landfills in 1 year by implementing a compost and recycling program in our factory and office and decreased our cardboard consumption by 15%;
- We asked our suppliers to sign a code of conduct, which all of them have signed, and led a crop survey to understand the environmental impact of their agricultural practices;
- We completed a life cycle assessment of all our activities to understand our global environmental impact from agriculture to packaging end life;
- We implemented open book management practices and increased transparency and accountability by sharing our financial results with our employees at quarterly Town Hall meetings.
We’re not looking to earn brownie points (although we are known to love our chocolate!), but in continuing with our dedication to transparency and accountability, here’s a look at our 2019 goals:
- Be carbon-neutral again in 2019 and become carbon-positive in 2020;
- Commit to reducing emissions through smart sourcing of products;
- Developing a carbon footprint tracker so we can evaluate and set even more ambitious goals;
- Update our life cycle analysis to measure our performance and improvements;
- Continue implementing social initiatives and benefits for employees: yoga and wellness classes, food baskets, sustainability education and public transit incentivization;
- Develop an internal B Corp committee to set goals and push our organization even further.
In short, by purchasing products from B Corporations, you’re supporting companies that understand the challenges facing our world, that make decisions and investments that will have a positive and lasting impact for all. Find out more about the results of our life cycle analysis or discover how PRANA is globally encouraging people and companies to take a stand for sustainability!