Why B Corps Should Be The Norm, Not The Exception

Farmer unloading bin of organic radishes on screened workbench for washing
Farmer unloading bin of organic radishes on screened workbench for washing

I chose to work at 100km Foods (a B Corp company) because I place a high value on my work aligning with my personal ethics. What we do in our professional lives impacts both our climate and communities, just as much as the choices we make in our personal lives. As such, we have the capacity to make a positive difference in our working lives when we choose to work for B Corp companies.

As a young person, I have more incentive than most to care about issues of climate and social justice. The threat of human induced climate change and rising inequality are affecting myself and my peers, right here and now, and it may only get worse. We can't afford to wait for top down changes, and if I can work for a B Corp that is already making a difference, I have agency to create change by doing my job well. This matters to me deeply, and it will matter to those generations that come after me.

Not only that, one of our B Corp highlights offers paid time off to employees to do community work, which is a great opportunity to encourage outreach and participation. Paul and Grace (the founders and co-owners of 100km Foods) also encourage us to attend and sponsor different conferences and events, such as those held by The Stop Community and Food Centre here in Toronto, an amazing organization that we work with closely.

B Corp companies, beyond striving to be a force for social and environmental change, also have a mandate to provide a living wage and good working conditions (like insurance benefits) for their employees. This is another significant reason why I chose work for a B Corp: no one should have to sacrifice a living wage in order to work for a company whose values they believe in.

The food & agricultural sector, which is the industry we work in at 100km Foods, has come to the forefront of public consciousness in recent years, for a number of reasons. Consumers and farmers have been impacted as food prices fluctuate in accordance with oil prices, as climate change affects yields, and as new trade deals are negotiated. The future of food is changing drastically, but these changes are creating the chance so desperately needed to do better.

That's why it feels even more important that we do the work we do as a local food distributor. We pick up produce from farms in and around the Greater Toronto Area, which gives farmers the opportunity to set fair prices, and we sell it wholesale to restaurants. We make it as easy and convenient as possible for chefs to source local food for their menus, and we offer a dependable market for farmers who do not have the infrastructure or marketing capacity to distribute their produce wholesale. In the span of a day or two, the food that was ordered through our website is picked in the field, packed, picked up by our team, and delivered directly to restaurants. By doing the work we do, we're fostering growth in local economies while also building sustainability within the food industry.

B Corps such as ours should become the norm, not the exception. The economy is not separate from climate and wider society, and the days where businesses only answer to their shareholders are numbered. Businesses can, and should, choose to go above and beyond the standards of old to become a significant force for positive social and environmental change.

The B Corp Life is a new blog series geared towards exploring what it's like to work at a benefit corporation. Why do b corps matter, and what does the future hold for them? Let us know at PurposePlusProfit@huffingtonpost.com or by tweeting with #TheBCorpLife.