Back in June of this year we achieved something momentous! We, (the Roastery, Coffee Shop and Nova Bakehouse) joined a global community united to use business as a force for good.
B Corp, what is it?
In simple terms, it is a certification that assesses the overall ethics and sustainability of a business across 5 areas.
1. How the business is governed (how decisions are made/core mission/values etc)
2. Employee experiences
3. Environmental practices
4. How customers are treated
5. How supply partnerships are formed and nurtured.
The idea is that not only are businesses verified to be having the impact they say they are having, but they become a part of a movement focused on constant improvement, sharing practices and ideas to challenge the ‘normal’ way of doing business.
Why B Corp?
We first became aware of the B Corp programme back in 2015, but as with a lot of certification systems, particularly in the coffee industry, we were understandably suspicious. Seven years on with a growing team, supply chain network and customer base, the time has come to formalise what we do to ensure we are measuring our impact and, most importantly, are kept accountable as we go forwards. We are particularly excited to be joining a community of like-minded businesses through which we can share best practice and participate in a movement focused on constant improvement.
How did we become a B Corp?
Becoming a B Corp is no easy feat, it has taken us a year to complete the rigorous process in which our operations across our businesses have been carefully vetted and measured to ascertain how we walk our talk. This is a difficult thing to map given that much of what we do challenges the usual approaches to working ‘sustainably’. You can read more about the areas we were appraised on by visiting the B Corp website (we will be publishing more info on our own in the coming months too) but CRUCIALLY, we have legally changed the structure of our business to state that we exist for the interests of all stakeholders NOT shareholders. This means that no matter what we may face in the coming years, North Star Coffee Holdings is legally obliged to make decisions that will benefit all of those it impacts (suppliers, employees, customers, and environment), quite literally meaning people and planet first.
Why is it important?
The world is more challenging than ever, but we argue that now is the time to take a step up. It is vital to look after our team, community and environment and we firmly believe we will have a healthier business as a result.
As a Certified B Corporation and a leader of this emerging economy, we believe:
- That we must be the change we seek in the world
- That all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered
- That, through our products, practices, and profits, we should aspire to do no harm and benefit all
- To do so requires that we act with the understanding that we are each dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations
What does this mean for our staff and the people we work with?
As a business, we have always been interested in how we can challenge the status quo and normal way of doing things to build a more resilient industry. With our new B Corp status, we will be even more focused on this and specifically, how we can continue to improve the experience of all those that work with us.
We will have a formal process in place to continually assess staff satisfaction and engagement to monitor our package of benefits and employee experience. Our employees will be asked to work in a manner that considers environmental impact and the experience of those around them in keeping with our company values.
We will be publishing our first impact report next year to evaluate all the areas we try to positively affect across our wholesale coffee roastery, coffee shop and bakery. This enables total transparency so you can review how we work, and so that we can seek to make constant improvements to what we do.
If you are interested in learning more about the B Corp movement, you can visit the website and review the B Corp Directory to see which other businesses have achieved this certification which can help you to become a more impactful shopper.