Best For The World: Changemaker Honoree GloryBee Shares What Guides the Company to Have a Positive Impact
When honey bees forage for pollen, they return to the hive wearing what look like “pollen pants”—their legs coated in the golden food source for their fellow hive inhabitants. To direct other bees to the source, the returning bee does a dance, which is believed to “tell” the other bees how to find the forager’s pollen source. Like that lead forager, GloryBee—a supplier of honey, beekeeping products, soaps, and other natural foods and sweeteners—is providing direction for fellow companies and Certified B Corporations on impact strategies that all businesses could take a cue from.
GloryBee is a family-owned business based in Eugene, Oregon, and founded in 1975 as a honey stand operated by Dick and Pat Turanski. Now, more than 40 years later, the company continues to be “built upon a foundation consisting of a belief in God and educating people about healthy living.”
As a 2019 Best For The World: Changemaker honoree, the company is also a source of inspiration and education on how to be a force for good—honorees on this list had impact score improvement ranked in the top 20 percent of all B Corps. Take, for example, GloryBee’s supplier code of ethics, which suppliers are required to meet to ensure their business practices align with GloryBee’s B Corp values.
“The B Impact Assessment, and the ripple effect it creates as companies influence each other inspires everyone to raise the bar on their impact strategies,” says RaeJean Wilson, senior executive vice president and second-generation to the founding family.
We asked Wilson more about GloryBee’s impact strategies that other businesses could follow to be a force for good.
In what ways has being a B Corp influenced your business practices and impact strategies?
Being a B Corp has provided us with benchmarking to validate and shine a light on our business practices, especially around ethics and sustainability. This helps us to align with like-minded organizations who are interested in doing business with companies that make the world a better place. We have a code of ethics that we require suppliers to ensure their business practices are aligned with ours. The B Impact Assessment (BIA), and the ripple effect it creates as companies influence each other, inspires everyone to raise the bar on their impact strategies.
Because of the transparency created by the BIA and our fully integrated company review, team members (both current and potential) can see more clearly what we are doing to be a force for good and can trust that a third party has authenticated that we are “walking the talk.” Maintaining our B Corp status challenges us to improve on our sustainable practices as we grow and to constantly consider how we are affecting our employees, the environment, the community and our clients.
How do you work with the B Corp community as a means of spreading the movement for businesses to be a force for good?
We do business with other B Corps and prioritize them as business partners, sometimes even creating partnerships that go beyond the business relationship. One great example is our partnership with Sokol Blosser Winery, another family-owned B Corp. The company was using a new cork that was made with beeswax and donated $1 per bottle sold of its 2015 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir to our Save the Bee nonprofit. The partnership manifested in creative ways that went far beyond a monetary donation. GloryBee provided displays and educational materials for Sokol Blosser staff to educate customers about the plight of the honey bee and how we can work together to help. Sokol Blosser hosted a party in September (National Honey Month) 2018, where GloryBee staff offered honey samples and educated winery guests about Save the Bee. And, of course, our employees have the opportunity to take advantage of the wonderful Sokol Blosser B Corp discount!
How does Glory Bee Vote Every Day for a better world through your business practices?
Since its inception, GloryBee has always believed that it is our responsibility to give back to others in need and support causes that impact our food supply, specifically by promoting and producing non-GMO and organic products. One way we vote every day is by promoting our Save the Bee initiative. This program speaks to the food, beverage, and natural products community on a global level, demonstrating that GloryBee is willing to give part of its profits to support a cause near and dear to our hearts that has global importance and impact.
What positive impact does a Vote Every Day for Glory Bee have in the world?
Save the Bee is a way that GloryBee can partner with like-minded businesses, such as B Corps, to provide dollars and influence in order to educate the community about the need to save our favorite pollinators, who are such a critical part of our food supply and play a huge role in the food and beverage industry. When someone purchases from GloryBee, that purchase supports efforts to protect honey bees and their important role in our food system.
How does being a faith-based company align with your B Corp values?
GloryBee provides transparency in our mission statement by affirming that our company is built upon a foundation of a belief in God. Because this belief gives us a strong sense of responsibility toward our fellow humans, we strive to be examples in our allocation of resources to impact causes that align with our values and our goals. The owners of GloryBee have made social responsibility a priority, and regardless of our levels of financial growth, giving back is a non-negotiable part of our business.
Furthermore, being a B Corp has provided us with an opportunity to look closely at our Articles of Incorporation to ensure that they were ethically aligned with both our faith values and with B Corp requirements.
What does being Best For The World: Changemakers mean to GloryBee? What can other companies learn from how you've made changes to earn an honor in the Changemakers category?
We feel excited and encouraged to be recognized for our efforts. When GloryBee first determined that becoming a B Corp was an important step for us to take, we were proud to be on the cutting edge and join the handful of B Corps in our local community. Throughout the last five years, we have continued to make efforts to grow in our practices, raise the bar with our suppliers, and improve the ways we do business to ensure we are changemakers in our industry. We aim to exert all the positive influence that a company our size is capable of.
We have utilized the BIA and feedback from B Lab to make changes and improve our B score. We would encourage other B Corps to take the time to use the expertise and resources of the B Lab staff to improve relevance and be a company that others look up to. We would like to help others in our B Corp community—we strongly believe that we can help each other become better, and B Corp is an ideal meeting place to do that.