B Corp certification is, in a word, involved. We’re required to audit nearly every facet of our business, from practices to policies to partners, and put them all together into one cohesive report.
The folks at the nonprofit B Lab then review our report and calculate all of our efforts into an overall score of just how well we’re doing at brewing beer as a force for good. Anything over a score of 80 qualifies us as a B Corp—formally, a designation that ensures a business is meeting high standards of performance, accountability, and transparency, for the good of their employees, community, and environment.
In 2019, when we were first certified, we received a score of 83.8, just over the qualification threshold. In 2023, when our recertification was finished, we achieved a new score of 104.0. In B Corp terms—where points are meted out in .1 and .2 increments—this is a significant leap.
So how did we do it? In many ways, both big and small. You’ll find specific examples of some of the initiatives we’re proud of and that helped us achieve this score.
- Our 20-member Allagash Recycling Co-op recycled over 40 tons last year alone.
- We consistently invest in clean water conservation through Sebago Clean Waters. You can hear all about that in our podcast.
- Brewing with more than 1.5 million pounds of Maine-grown grain per year – a number that’s likely to reach around 2 million pounds by the end of this year.
- Undertaking a more than three-year carbon accounting project with the guidance of Fosterra LLC, a consulting firm that specializes in helping companies achieve environmental sustainability goals.
- We directed over $500,000 in donations to community organizations last year.
- Our 150 employees volunteered for 998 (fully paid) hours in 2022.
- Brewed a collaboration beer with Crowns & Hops with proceeds going to their 8 Trill Foundation, which supports Black entrepreneurs in the beer industry.
- We’ve sponsored over 313 pediatric nursing scholarships with the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital.
- We’ve continued our mental health benefit, which offers free therapy sessions for staff and their families.
- We hired a full-time Safety Manager in 2021, to ensure the highest degree of safety for all of our staff members.
- 16 employees took their 10-year sabbatical, which consists of a month of free time for them to reflect, and do whatever they want.
And the quantification of all of these practices, and the many, many more that went into this report, was completed because of one other significant change we made between 2019 and 2023; we created a new position: Sustainability Manager.
This person, whose name is Zoe, took all of the disparate good initiatives our entire company was undertaking—that had been more or less siloed—and helped them start working in concert. This means that our efforts to reduce our environmental impact, our efforts to improve the working lives of our employees, and our efforts to give to our community all began to function together, and draft off of each other, to greater benefit for everyone.
Also, and this is probably the least exciting aspect of working to become a better company, we wrote everything down. This codification—actually putting in fine print what we’ve done and why we did it—served to make “traditions” into “standards”, and ensured that we build on our successes, rather than jumping from initiative to initiative. Plus, by writing everything down, we’re able to know that, yes, doing this one specific thing did actually reduce our water usage by a fraction of a percent per brew. It’s all about incremental improvements across all fronts, and, as we saw, it all added up to a significant positive increase.
For the full picture of our progress this past year, you can check out our 2022 B Corp Report.
Thanks, as always, for following along!