B The Change : Together, let's build a more inclusive, equitable and regenerative economy
This month, read about some companies that, like Valrhona, have obtained B Corporation certification.
This demanding label rewards companies that combine making a profit with supporting the wider public good and that aim to make a positive contribution to society without wanting to be the best IN the world, but the best FOR the world!
Quality, transparency & sustainability: the key ingredients of good chocolate
Our first stop is Belize to meet Maya Mountain Cacao, our cocoa partner since 2014. Founded in 2010, Maya Mountain Cacao is part of the BCorp certified Uncommon Cacao group.
Maya Mountain Cacao offers its producers sustainable, transparent partnerships and has a positive impact on Belize’s communities. Its values and high-quality cocoa make it a natural partner for Valrhona. Since 2014, we have been working together to rehabilitate the abandoned Xibun River Estate plantation. Founded in the 1970s, the plantation took its name from the Xibun River that runs alongside its border. It was eventually acquired by a Belizean entrepreneur, Henry Canton, who wanted to revitalize it. Today, the plantation employs 30 full-time employees, plus an additional 18 during the harvest. We estimate that the estate will produce around 100 tons of cocoa per year by 2025.
Big Mamma, a success story
We recently went out to meet Big Mamma, the first restaurant group in France to win B Corp labeling.
According to Jessica, Big Mamma’s HR manager for France, the company is made up of "1,000 passionate people who get up every morning so that they can give customers the best moment in their day!"
As one of hip, urban Italian dining’s great success stories, Big Mamma has gone global, with 13 restaurants in five countries.
The Group won much-lauded B Corp certification in 2019 thanks to their daily commitment to the values of authenticity, excellence, entrepreneurship and meritocracy, which it expresses through lots of so-called "tiny" acts. To give you an example, all their restaurants are powered with green electricity and they build personal relationships with their producers, which means they can know exactly where their products come from and how high-quality they are. The group has also implemented a fair pay policy for women and men in equivalent roles and promotes diversity within its teams.
B-Corp certification "gives them a sense of purpose and acts as a guide for making improvements every day".
B is for Benefit
We continue to explore these B Corp companies, these companies are actors of change who have chosen to work towards having a better impact on the world. They are committed to meeting societal and environmental, governance and public transparency requirements, by making them priorities. Today, B Corp includes 3800 companies of all sizes, across all sectors and in 75 countries. There are 138 in France, including Valrhona since January 2020.
B Lab, the NGO that awards B Corp certification, was founded in 2006 in the United States by three entrepreneurs: Bart Houlahan, Jay Coen Gilbert and Andrew Kassoy. Bart and Jay had previously founded AND1, a company selling basketball equipment, which they sold to investors who subsequently cut expenses by sacrificing product quality. This experience left a bitter taste in their mouths. It made them realize that something must be done to prevent financial “predators” from sucking the essence out of well-meaning entrepreneurial projects.
This observation led them to create B Corp, an international non-profit movement which aims to reinvent the economy by proving that it is possible for a company to make a positive contribution to society. Using examples gathered in its community of businesses, it demonstrates that it is possible to balance profit and the collective interest. It also offers free-of-charge resources online to inspire and equip as many companies as possible in this transformation.
By applying a rigorous verification process of the information entered in the self-assessment, B Lab grants B Corp certification to the most ambitious companies in terms of governance and impact.
It has become urgent to move towards a more inclusive, regenerative and contributive economy; and this is why, everywhere in the world, these companies are choosing to place their social, societal and environmental impact at the heart of what they do.
The B Corp adventure begins here.
We'll see you next month for a new topic with B the Change.