You may know that B Corp certification has something to do with being environmentally and socially responsible, but is it worth worrying about?
Grand Central Bakery bakes hand-crafted artisanal bread and pastries and offers seasonal café fare to customers in the Pacific Northwest. With locations in Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon, the locally owned and operated business is committed to sustainability. In 2018, it became the first bakery in the region to achieve B Corporation certification.
What does buying from a B Corp mean to you? We’ll use Grand Central Bakery as an example of the social and environmental benefits of this emerging form of business.
What Does B Corp Certified Mean?
Completing the B Impact Assessment is the first step of becoming a certified B Corp. The assessment examines the business’s positive impact on its workers, community, customers, and environment. It also assesses the company’s governance structure and accountability. Companies receive a score out of 200 possible points and must score at least an 80 to qualify as a B Corp.
Grand Central Bakery scored 91.5, reflecting the good the business was already doing in terms of social and environmental responsibility.
B Corp Certification is the only certification that measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance.” —bcorporation.net
In the context of foodservice, sourcing is a key consideration in the B Impact Assessment.
Grand Central Bakery sources 59 percent of their product from local and independently owned vendors. By investing in their local communities, Grand Central supports the local economy and workforce. Additionally, sourcing locally reduces gas emissions due to shorter transport distances.
Community focus is a pillar of all B Corp certified companies, and Grand Central Bakery allocates eight paid hours of community service for all their employees (approximately 380 people). Their employees choose which local nonprofits receive a portion of the company’s year-end donations.
Equality and Diversity
Companies that intentionally pursue a diverse team can better understand and serve the needs of not only their employees but also their customers.
Women make up 50 percent of Grand Central Bakery’s management team. The company’s B Corp Impact Assessment attests to the business’ encouragement of advancement opportunities for all employees.
Food Waste Reduction
Food waste is an important consideration for any sustainable restaurant.
The B Corp Certification encourages improved waste tracking in order to account for fluctuating supply and demand. For example, Grand Central Bakery has been able to reduce its waste from tuna salad by tracking its sales and adjusting their ordering to eliminate excess food. They also donate leftover pastries and bread products to local food banks.
Supporting Certified B Corporations
Spending money at certified B Corporations is a way to support these and other holistic and responsible business practices. This directory of certified B Corporations is a helpful tool for locating both local and global products and services offered by companies that prioritize social and environmental values.
Grand Central Bakery is featured in episode 3 of the Chew on That Sustainable Restaurant Series:
About the Author
Susie George is a graduate student pursuing a Sustainable MBA, and resides in Salem, Oregon. She is a co-founder and co-owner of Branching Together, a business that creates sustainable living products, and creator of Chew on That, a YouTube series dedicated to featuring different approaches to sustainability to collectively raise environmental awareness. The first five full episodes of Chew on That feature sustainable restaurants throughout Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Susie is passionate about harnessing the influence of business to create positive change.