2022 INFRA Winter Newsletter

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B Corp Certification in the Natural Food Industry: How INFRA Member Bi-Rite is Helping Trailblaze TM


The natural food industry is a place where many entrepreneurs are able to do business for good. From small farmers utilizing regenerative agriculture practices and food manufacturers finding ways to repurpose previously discarded food, to startups sourcing home-compostable containers and retailers bringing these products to their communities, we are making progress throughout the industry to be resilient, humane, and regenerative. With so many choices in the marketplace, consumers have long relied on certifications to serve as a shorthand for what is important to them, including USDA Organic, Demeter’s Biodynamic®, and Non-GMO Project. These certifications deal with how our food is grown and processed. Another certification that looks beyond food and agriculture is the B Corp Certification. The ‘B’ in B Corp stands for “Benefit For All.” Since its inception in 2006, B Lab™, the certifying body for B Corps, has helped recognize companies that balance profits with purpose. For-profit companies must demonstrate their commitment to social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency in order to qualify as a B Corp. Together, the B Lab network is “shifting our global economy from a system that profits few to one that benefits all: advancing a new model that moves from concentrating wealth and power to ensuring equity, from extraction to generation, and from prioritizing individualism to embracing interdependence.” Being a B Corp means being a part of a group of companies using the power of business to solve social and economic problems. B Corps are legally required to consider the impact of decisions on staff, guests, suppliers, community, and the environment. The certification process includes a 200-question assessment and a rigorous verification process. Every year, the B Corp community takes the month of March to celebrate B Corps. We’ll be highlighting many of the amazing brands and vendor partners that are leading the way as businesses for good in recognition of B Corp Month. Today, we’re sharing the experience of one INFRA Member who has been B Corp certified since 2015, Bi-Rite Market. The Bi-Rite Family of Businesses is proud to be a Certified B Corporation. Sarah Holt, the Director of Marketing & Community for the Bi-Rite Family of Businesses, discussed with us how B Corp Certification makes sense for their business and how it impacts each of their stakeholders. (INFRA) Bi-Rite has been a B Corp since 2015. Can you tell me a little bit about the decision to obtain certification? (Bi-Rite) For decades Bi-Rite has stood for doing good within, and for, our communities, and this commitment only became more intense when Sam Mogannam reinvented the Market experience in 1998. As an independent organization, becoming a Certified B Corporation was yet another way to communicate our values, while ensuring we had accountabilities beyond ourselves to focus on continuous improvement and increasing our impact. The rigor of the certification process also served as a great prompt for us to codify many of our internal processes and policies. (INFRA) Do your shoppers see this certification as a value add? Have you seen increased interest from your consumers and community in matters of ESG (environment, social, governance) or CSR (corporate social responsibility)? (Bi-Rite) Our guests have always been interested in learning more about our food system, are heavily invested in the San Francisco, California, and national civic agenda, and are quick to support our local, nonprofit partners. I think they appreciate knowing the certification is a transparent scorecard of how well we’re living our values. But at the same time, they’re not afraid to have direct conversations with us about issues important to them, and we love the dialogue as it’s always an incredible opportunity to learn. (INFRA) As a family of businesses, how do the B Corp Impact Areas inform business decisions at Bi-Rite?

Provided by Bi-Rite Family of Businesses