Winnow launched in 2013 to scale a solution to the problem of food waste in the hospitality sector. Today we are a global team working with thousands of chefs from around the world proving that food waste can be cut in half. A Certified B Corporation for almost a year, we are proud to be part of a community striving to create global change by redefining the role that business plays in society.
The movement is in full swing, and February sees the launch of B Corp Month. The theme this year is ‘reinventing business’, showing how businesses can be a force for good and taking the idea into the mainstream. A B Corp is a company that redefines success in business - it looks at the positive impact of the business on people and the planet alongside profit. It is a for-profit business that has social and environmental outcomes as part of its mission. Companies wishing to become a Certified B Corporation therefore need to adopt governing documents which include a commitment to a ‘triple bottom line’ approach to business.
Well-known brands that have embraced the B Corp label include Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, New Belgium, Seventh Generation, Warby Parker and Etsy. At last count, some 2,391 B Corps have been certified in 50 countries.
Patagonia, the poster child of the B Corp movement, has been setting the trend for decades. Founded by a band of climbers and surfers in 1973, the company became a Certified B Corporation in 2011. For Patagonia, the love of wild and beautiful places demands participation in the fight to save them and to reverse the steep decline in the overall environmental health of our planet.
Patagonia’s mission statement is to ‘Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.’ From this stems their unconventional approach to marketing. In 2011, for example, Patagonia ran this ad campaign around Black Friday with the headline ‘Don’t buy this Jacket’. Instead of encouraging consumers to buy more, they encouraged them to reduce, repair, reuse and recycle their clothing as part of their Common Threads initiative.
This bold approach has helped Patagonia build a loyal customer base and deliver strong financial performance. The company reported sales of $800m in 2016, twice as much as 2010. Patagonia, however, prefer to define their success according to their impact, and they have defined six benefit purposes to benchmark themselves against. Rose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia, says, “The B Corp movement is one of the most important of our lifetime, built on the simple fact that business impacts and serves more than just shareholders—it has an equal responsibility to the community and to the planet”.
As a young and purpose-led business we are inspired by Patagonia’s example. Our mission is to connect the commercial kitchen, create a community of chefs and inspire others to see that food is too valuable to waste. Winnow co-founder and CFO Kevin Duffy says, “It was important for Winnow to register as a B Corp to signal to all its stakeholders and peers that it is committed to be a force for good, and that that commitment extends beyond the direct sustainability impact of our flagship Winnow Waste Monitor product, to all aspects of our culture and ways of doing business.”
Remaining true to our mission is increasingly important to us as we grow. Winnow has a policy, for example, of only hiring talent who share our vision and value working towards a world in which food waste is minimised. Regardless of ability, if you do not demonstrate a passion for fighting food waste then our hiring managers are not able to extend an offer. The result is a multinational team bound by a common purpose, working across borders to solve this important problem.
Winnow is now operational in more than 30 countries and trusted by thousands of chefs from across the world. Together, we are saving our customers more than £11m by preventing over 10 million meals from being wasted each year. The financial measurement of the waste we are saving is as important to us as the number of meals - we believe that demonstrating a strong financial return with our clients will ultimately help scale a global solution to food waste in the hospitality sector.
Winnow co-founder and CEO Marc Zornes says “We launched Winnow as a business rather than a charity because we believe in the power of enterprise to bring about massive global change. We are proud to be able to call ourselves a B Corp and are delighted to be taking part in this year’s #reinventingbusiness campaign.”
There is a bold and important global ambition to cut food waste by 50% by 2030. Given the significant impact that food waste has on the planet, it is crucial that governments, agencies, consumers and businesses come together. It is our belief that purpose-led businesses have an important role to play in creating a more sustainable food system.
B Corp Month and the #reinventingbusiness campaign are running throughout February 2018. To learn more about B Corps and the power of purpose-led businesses to drive global change visit www.bcorporation.net/
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