Last month, we celebrated B Corp month. We're proud to be a B Corp because it means our business focuses more on just making money: we take care of our employees, our community, our world. To learn more about what a B Corp is, be sure to visit this site.
Sam, our blogger, sat down with Ricky the Meadmaker to ask some questions about how and why VT Craft Mead became a B Corp and why they thought the process was important. Read on to learn more.
How did VT Craft Mead become a B Corp? What was the process like?
Ricky: We began our B Corp journey in June of 2019 the way all businesses do, by taking the online assessment and applying for a position in an upcoming cohort. Over the next several months we worked with B Labs International to verify all of our documentation and provide oversight for our policies and operations. The process was long and fraught with a lot of paperwork, but in the end, it was the process of becoming a B Corp that helped truly fix in our minds what we wished to represent as a business and as members of our global community.
What was most appealing to you and Kelly about becoming a B Corp? What motivated you?
Ricky: It's so important to have standards to live up to, and becoming a B Corp represents the highest internationally recognized standards for running a triple bottom line business: People, Planet, and Profit. We've always believed that the path to profit is by treating your employees well, stewarding the Earth, and focusing on community. If you do these things, profit will (eventually) follow. B Corp, for us, was about joining a community of businesses from whom we could learn to be better employers and stewards.
Did you receive any criticism for going B Corp?
Ricky: Not really. We've had the standard crap about how "businesses are for making money, leave people and the planet to non-profits," but it's pretty rare and doesn't affect us.
What're VT Craft Mead's future B Corp-related goals? What are you working on right now?
Ricky: We've made some major changes over the last year including vastly increasing starting pay, company diversity, and our benefits package. We've also made the transition to 100% renewable by going solar and moving to Renewable Natural Gas. In the coming year, we're going to be working on new stakeholder oversight and exploring more robust ways to monitor our environmental impact throughout the entire life-cycle of our product.
What advice would you give other small businesses that want to become B Corps?
Ricky: Approach the process with Beginner's Mind. B Labs is always improving their process, and you can learn more just by going through it than you could possibly imagine. They really want you to succeed. And, if you manage to become a B Corp, you'll know that it was no easy feat; you've really done something impressive.