New Seasons Market has earned B Corp recertification, an independent, third-party affirmation of its commitments to overall social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability. New Seasons became the first Certified B Corporation grocer in 2013. Based in Portland, Ore., the grocer operates 21 grocery stores from the Bay Area to Puget Sound and remains one of the only multi-location grocery retailers to achieve and sustain the rigorous certification.
B Corp recertification is a comprehensive assessment of company practices – including governance, environmental and community impacts, staff benefits and culture – that occurs every two years following a company’s initial B Corp certification. During the two-year recertification period, New Seasons advocated for the Oregon minimum wage increase and charted its waste diversion program, which is currently at 84 percent and targeted to Zero Waste.
“Since we opened the doors of our first store in 2000, New Seasons has been good neighbor, a careful steward of the environment and a collaborative workplace where people thrive,” says Sarah Joannides, director of social responsibility at New Seasons. “B Corp certification provides us with a framework to measure our business’s impact in a holistic way and helps us establish goals for even greater positive impact.”
B Corp recertification features 200 unique data points and categories. With more than 30,000 products on New Seasons’ shelves from more than 2,000 unique vendors, collating standards and attributes for the B Corp certification is time consuming, says Joannides. “But we embrace the complexity because it represents the kind of robust food system we believe in," she adds.
In addition to sustainable supply chain information, the B Corp recertification includes measures related to staff, environmental impact, community giving and governance. New Seasons’ accomplishments include a progressive workplace featuring fair wages, industry leading healthcare and unique lifestyle benefits, such as:
- Profit Sharing and 401(k) available to all employees
- 80 percent of healthcare premiums paid for individuals; 70 percent of healthcare premiums paid for families
- 80 percent of part-time workers are enrolled in the healthcare plan
- Up to eight hours of paid time off for community service
- 85 percent of positions above entry level filled by internal candidates
Industry-leading environmental initiatives including:
- Adoption of Zero Waste goal and currently 84 percent Zero Waste achieved; company-wide recovery and recycling program that includes paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, metal and composting
- Limiting emissions through regional sourcing (35 percent of New Seasons purchases travel 200 miles or less to reach its shelves) and promotion of sustainable agriculture through purchases of organic and Non-GMO Verified products
- Ongoing energy efficiency and refrigeration upgrades, 24 distinct projects in 2016 alone
- Community involvement and progressive governance that includes:
- Policy advocacy leadership on Oregon minimum wage increase
- Regular review of key performance indicators on company social and/or environmental performance by New Seasons’ Board of Directors
- Annually sharing 10 percent of after-tax profits, in-kind donations and volunteer hours with more than 1,000 organizations that help feed the hungry, educate youth and protect the environment (more than $5.6 million to nonprofits in the communities New Seasons serves since 2000)
New Seasons’ completed B Corp assessment can be viewed here.