New Seasons Market has become the first retail grocer to be certified as a B Corporation, joining a global community of more than 750 mission-based, triple-bottom-line companies. B Corporation certification is an independent, third-party assessment of a company’s business practices, recognizing those organizations that make people and the planet a top priority.
“B Corp is unique in that it recognizes truly sustainable companies, those that have a higher purpose for business beyond just profit,” noted Wendy Collie, president and CEO of Portland, Ore.-based New Seasons. “We see achieving B Corp certification as an incredible recognition of our commitment to being a socially, environmentally and financially responsible company. Since day one, New Seasons Market has placed as much value on taking care of employees, our communities and our environment as growing our business. To have an external organization acknowledge and verify that our business practices reflect true dedication to staff, vendors, communities, environment, accountability and transparency is not only wonderful news, but it sets our mission and our values in stone not just today, but into the future.”
To earn the certification, New Seasons Market completed an exhaustive and stringent assessment of its practices, governance, environmental and community impacts, staff benefits and culture. The grocer’s assessment score has been posted online.
As the inaugural grocer to earn B Corp certification, New Seasons said it aims to set an example for its fellow food retailers, as well as inspire others in the local and national business community.
“The levels of complexity in the grocery industry are very high,” added Collie. “We offer more than 40,000 different products. We work with thousands of vendors, contribute to hundreds of nonprofit organizations, welcome millions of customers every year and divert 19 of the 20 tons of waste we manage at each store every day out of the landfill. For a business with our level of intricacy to achieve this recognition is simply remarkable. It’s a testament to our staff’s commitment to using the power of business for good.”
New Seasons operates 12 stores in the Portland-Vancouver, Wash., area and employs 2,400 associates, making it one of the region’s largest private employers. The grocer was recently verified as a Zero Waste company, diverting 92 percent of its waste from area landfills. New Seasons additionally gives 10 percent of its after-tax profits back to the community. In 2012, the company teamed with almost 900 local nonprofits dedicated to addressing hunger in the community, public education and conservation.
The certification is bestowed by B Lab, a Wayne, Pa.-based nonprofit “that serves a global movement of entrepreneurs using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems,” according to its website.