Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

JAN 2014

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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82 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • JANUARY 2014 green tip Understanding Green's Triple Bottom Line By Amelia Levin, Contributing Editor T he terms "C Corp" and "S Corp" tend to be pretty common in today's business discussions. Conver- sations about the B Corp, though, tend to be less common. B Corp certifcation is for businesses looking to demonstrate the bottom-line results of their environmental, social and fnancial sustainability efforts. Basically, achieving B Corp certifcation enables businesses to prove that they walk the talk when it comes to sustainability. Greg Christian, founder and CEO of Beyond Green, a Chicago-based sustain- able foodservice consultancy, took the plunge, and his frm is now a certifed B Corp. Recognized internationally and available for companies of all sizes, B Corp certifcation brings with it language and com- pany bylaws that demon- strate more than just an awareness of environmental concerns. Literally, the B Corp structure provides the framework that builds sustainability into a company's corporate charter The certifcation process, over- seen by the nonproft B Lab, involves more than 200 rigorous and detailed re- quirements, touching on such sustainable initiatives as recycling and composting; adding more bike racks; and using smaller, local banks, as well as simpler steps like two-sided printing. Any company from any business sector can apply. Of the more than 600 B Corps operating in the U.S., well- known companies include Method soap and Ben & Jerry's as well as others in the foodservice and grocery sectors. Con- sultancies and other frms like Christian's are also part of this group. As a result of the stringent requirements, applying for certifcation does not guarantee a company will earn it. Still, simply going through the process can shed light on areas for improvement. "Many companies claim they are green, but you have to ask yourself the hard question: Is it actually in your corporate charter?" says Christian. Indoctrinating "greenness" into an organization's DNA, so to speak, also ensures that any successors and future owners will continue to adopt green and sustainable policies and procedures. Christian points out the classic example of Ben & Jerry's selling the brand to Unilever while concerned about the long-term continuation of its sustainable practices and ideals. Earning B Corp certifcation helped ensure the company's "green" vision would remain intact. The Triple Bottom Line While traditional corporations focus on the bottom line (that is, proft), be- coming a B Corp introduces another bottom line: sustainability. What many non B Corps don't always realize, Christian says, is that by lessening environmental impact and lowering operating costs through enhanced effciencies in accordance with this corporate structure, companies can actually increase their profts in addition to simply driving sales and revenue. "I call it the certifed triple bottom line," says Christian, noting that becom- ing a B Corp offers more than just a power- ful marketing statement and brand reinforcement. "One of the main reasons Beyond Green chose to become a B Corp wasn't just to tell the world; it was also to be able to play in the deeper end of the sustainability pool and save on operating costs in the process. Business school training al- ways focuses on the single bottom line, but I could see more of a focus on that triple bottom line — proft, sustainability and social responsibility — in the future." A common misperception is that becoming a more environmentally friendly business costs more money, but Christian says this isn't always the case. While many green products can cost double or triple that of traditional ones, those expenses can easily be offset by added effciencies, like $

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