Let it B Corp: New Seasons is first grocer to snag certification
By Andy Giegerich
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Wendy Collie said New Seasons will use its B Corp status to further educate customers on its sustainability programs.
Chalk up another sustainability-related honor for Portland's New Seasons Market.
The company revealed Wednesday it has become the first grocer to achieve B Corp certification from the B Lab group.
The designation gives credence to New Seasons various business practices that promote sustainability. The grocer announced last month it had qualified as a net-zero waste company by diverting some 92 percent of its waste from landfills.
“This validates the work we’ve done over the last 13 years and also hopefully encourages people to come along with us,” said Wendy Collie, the company’s president and CEO.
The B Lab group has honored several Oregon companies this year. For its part, New Seasons fared impressively on a 170-question test that gauged practices, governance, environmental and community impacts, staff benefits and culture. The company scored 121 points out of 200, some 24 points higher than the average B Corp company.
New Seasons employs 2,400 workers in the Portland area. The company gives 10 percent of its after-tax profits to community nonprofits.
Collie said New Seasons worked to collect B Corp certification for two years, starting the process under the watch of Lisa Sedlar. The assessment was completed in January.
“This is about adopting a set of standards that help us look at how we're doing against things we think matter most,” she said. “We wanted a third-party assessment that allowed us to measure those pieces that we believe are fundamental” within any business.
Collie acknowledges that, after hitting net-zero and B Corp standards, New Seasons may be running out of immediate sustainability goals.
“This has partially allowed us to validate what we’re doing and celebrate our staff,” she said. “We didn’t necessarily go out looking for this status, we just wanted to measure our value. Right now, we have what we need, and we’ll continue to keep our ear to the ground and hands in the dirt in order to effect change.”
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