B-corp

Spotlight on Ben & Jerry’s

We’re shining our Member Deals Spotlight on a business with humble roots in Vermont where two guys named Ben and Jerry launched their first scoop shop from a renovated gas station in Burlington, Vermont. Fast forward a few decades, and Ben &Jerry’s has become a household name across the U.S. and beyond. Member-owners can enjoy a 20% discount on pints of their famous ice cream from September 1st – 7th as we kick off our Eat Local Challenge! Read on to learn more about the rich history of Ben & Jerry’s and their various ways of giving back:

With a $5 correspondence course in ice cream-making from Penn State and a $12,000 investment ($4,000 of it borrowed), Ben and Jerry open their first ice cream scoop shop in a renovated gas station in Burlington, Vermont in 1978. By 1980, they decided to rent space in an old spool and bobbin mill on South Champlain Street in Burlington to begin packing their ice cream in pints for distribution to grocery and Mom & Pop stores along the restaurant delivery routes that Ben serviced out of the back of his old VW Squareback wagon. By the following year, they were ready to open their second scoop shop in Shelburne, and in 1982, the original shop changed locations to the iconic shop that still stands on the corner of Church Street and Cherry Street in the heart of downtown Burlington.

Ben & Jerry’s original scoop shop in a renovated Burlington gas station, circa 1978

Over the ensuing decades, the Ben & Jerry’s brand has grown by leaps and bounds but they’ve remained true to their core principles and continue to fiercely advocate for social and environmental causes. Ben & Jerry’s is founded on and dedicated to a sustainable corporate concept of linked prosperity. Central to the Mission of Ben & Jerry’s is the belief that all three parts of its mission must thrive equally in a manner that commands deep respect for individuals inside and outside the Company and supports the communities of which they are a part. One of the first companies in the world to place a social mission in equal importance to its product and economic missions, they focus their advocacy on their core values:  human rights and dignity; social and economic justice; and environmental protection; restoration, & regeneration. They believe that business has a responsibility and a unique opportunity to be a powerful lever of change in the world. A Certified B-Corporation, they aim to use traditional and contemporary business tools to drive systemic progressive social change by advancing the strategies of the larger movements that deal with those issues, such as climate justice and social equity.

 

Big changes for the company came in August of 2020 when Ben & Jerry’s became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Unilever. Through a unique acquisition agreement, an independent Board of Directors was created to provide leadership focused on preserving and expanding Ben & Jerry’s social mission, brand integrity, and product quality in the wake of the leadership transition. They still maintain their flagship factory in Waterbury, VT, which is a must-see destination for a factory tour next time you find yourself traveling that gorgeous stretch of Vermont’s Route 100.

Ben & Jerry’s supports the global Fair Trade movement and is committed to sourcing their vanilla, cocoa, and coffee beans from Fair Trade Certified suppliers. Ben & Jerry’s is also proud to stand with the growing consumer movement for transparency and the right to know what’s in our food supply by supporting mandatory GMO labeling legislation. In 2013, they committed to transitioning all of their ingredients to be fully sourced non-GMO. The folks at Ben & Jerry’s want to support sustainable dairy practices that benefit farmers, farmworkers, cows, and the environment and in October of 2017, they became the first company to adopt and implement the Milk With Dignity Program through their Caring Dairy Program. They’re proud of the positive impact this program has had on the true heroes of Vermont’s dairy industry, the Farmworkers. Through this program, the Farmworkers have seen higher wages, improved work schedules, better time off, and improved housing. We’ll raise a scoop to that!

Click here to learn more about the ways that Ben & Jerry’s leverages their position to influence change.

 

 

Spotlight on Bee’s Wrap

We’re shining this week’s Member Deals Spotlight on a mission-driven local business creating innovative, award-winning products to help us curb our dependence on plastic — Bee’s Wrap! From August 25th – 31st, all Bee’s Wrap products are 20% off for member-owners, so it’s a great time to stock up on these reusable, rugged, eco-friendly, locally-made, fully compostable wraps. Read on to learn more about this local company, its mission, and its fierce advocacy:

 

Bee’s Wrap was born in 2012 as its founder, Sarah Kaeck, was growing ever more deeply concerned about the persistent effect of plastics on our planet. She began by asking a simple question: How could we eliminate plastics in our kitchen in favor of a healthier, more sustainable way to store our food?

What she discovered was a lost tradition made new again. By infusing organic cotton with beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin, Kaeck created a washable, reusable, and compostable alternative to plastic wrap. What she also understood from the very beginning was that there must be a consideration of the entire life of the products we make and consume, from their creation and manufacturing to their eventual end. This is where biodegradability comes in: A product that is biodegradable can be easily returned to the earth. As their website states, “It’s a technology as old as time, and everything made in nature returns to nature with time. There’s no complicated recycling process, and no need to send your Bee’s Wrap off to a special facility. Made from four simple ingredients, Bee’s Wrap comes from the earth and is designed to return to the earth.” As your wrap begins to wear out, the team at Bee’s Wrap hopes that you’ll look on those signs of wear as a welcome reminder of the natural cycles that surround us.

Just one pack of Bee’s Wrap can save 1,667 sq. feet of plastic wrap from entering our oceans and landfills each year. That’s enough plastic to cover a single-family home. If every American household swapped plastic wrap with Bee’s Wrap we’d save a staggering 212 million square feet (4.8 million acres) of plastic from the planet each year!

Looking beyond the impact of the products they create, Bee’s Wrap is committed to using their business as a vehicle for social change, bettering the lives of their customers, employees, community, and the planet. As a proud B Corp and certified Green America company, Bee’s Wrap is committed to social change to help better the lives of its customers, employees, community, and planet. In 2019 they were awarded Green America’s People and Planet Award, which recognizes outstanding small businesses with deep commitments to social justice and environmental sustainability. They were also the 2019 recipient of B-Corp’s 2019 Best For The World: Environment award for the business’s top-notch attention to environmental stewardship. Bee’s Wrap is actively working with partners such as 1% for the Planet, The Bee Cause, and The Rozalia Project, pledging their support to ocean conservancy, beach cleanups, and environmental stewardship. They’re also committed to donating at least 1% of sales of their Honeycomb Roll of Bee’s Wrap to organizations supporting these efforts.

 

The year 2021 brought big changes for Bee’s Wrap as the business was sold to an undisclosed private investor. Since founding the business in 2012, Kaeck stewarded the growth of her company through the addition of dozens of employees, an expansion into a 12,000-square-foot facility in Middlebury, and she oversaw the company’s B Corp Certification. Bee’s Wrap was growing, both nationally and internationally, and Kaeck was seeking an investor who could leverage the company’s successful track record into this new phase of growth. Kaeck stayed on as the CEO for the first few months of the transition, then handed over the reins to Tara Murphy in June of 2021. Murphy brings extensive experience to the role, having served for four years as CEO of the Hinesburg-based Vermont Smoke & Cure and three previous years at Keurig Green Mountain. 

In a press release, Kaeck says, “I could not be happier about the prospects for Bee’s Wrap’s future. I founded and led Bee’s Wrap for eight years with the goal to create a viable mainstream alternative to plastic, and we’re at that point now. Tara’s deep consumer product experience, outstanding leadership skills, and commitment to Vermont make her an excellent choice to continue to grow Bee’s Wrap in the years to come.”

Reducing the reliance on plastic takes time, and every effort you make counts. Whether you’re using Bee’s Wrap for on-the-go snacks or storing dinner leftovers, you’re one step closer to making it possible to ditch disposable food storage for good. Today, Bee’s Wrap is a leading alternative to plastic wrap. From their headquarters right here in Middlebury, Vermont, they’re creating wraps that provide a versatile and durable solution for sustainable food storage.

 

 

 

 

 

Spotlight on Badger

Our Co-op Spotlight is shining brightly on Badger this week. This small, family-owned, family-run, and family-friendly company nestled in the woods of Gilsum, New Hampshire is beyond worthy of the spotlight. They help define what it means to be a socially accountable, environmentally responsible, people-first kind of business. They are featured in our Member Deals Spotlight this week, so all of their fabulous body care products are 20% off for member-owners from June 2nd – 8th! Read on to learn about the ideals, principles, and practices that make their company worthy of such high praise:

Badger was born in 1995 when founder Bill Whyte was working as a carpenter in the cold New Hampshire winters and created an amazing balm that helped soothe and heal his cracked hands. Badger Bill ran the company (as CEO) along with his wife Katie Schwerin (as COO) and their two daughters Rebecca Hamilton and Emily Schwerin-Whyte and it grew to over 100 products and over 90 employees. In 2018 Bill passed the leadership of the company on to Rebecca and Emily making them both CEOs or Collaborative Executive Officers. Click HERE to read more about Badger’s amazing history.

Badger Bill and family

 

Quality Ingredients and Standards

Badger selects ingredients with great care, using only those that fit their rigorous natural standards for healthy agriculture, minimal processing, sustainable supply chain, and health-giving properties. Every ingredient they use is grown and processed with the highest degree of respect for protecting the environment, the workers, and the natural properties of the plants. Nearly all of Badger’s products are made from 100% USDA Certified Organic food-grade ingredients and they utilize as many fair trade certified ingredients as possible. You can view their impressive growing and processing standards on their web page. 

B Corp Status

Badger became a B Corporation in 2011 to help assess and improve their business practices and ensure that they’re always doing what’s right for people and the planet. In June of 2018, Badger was named ‘Best For the World’ and ‘Best for the Environment’ by the folks at B Corp, recognizing their efforts to create a positive impact for workers, the environment, and the community. At the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid, Badger joined a group of over 500 other B corporations in committing to Net Zero by 2030. That means reaching a perfect equilibrium with the earth—drawing all of their energy from renewable sources, and releasing zero carbon into the atmosphere. 

Badger facility & ecology center
Badger Facility & Ecology Center Gardens

Going Solar

Badger headquarters is powered exclusively by the sun! In July of 2020, as part of their ongoing commitment to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2030, Badger partnered with fellow B Corp Revision Energy to install a full ground and roof solar array. Their land and buildings are now adorned with a 1,445-panel (524-kilowatt) roof- and ground-mounted solar array, one of the largest in the region. The panels produce enough clean solar energy to power all of their operations—and even send extra electricity back to the grid. These panels will eliminate about 636,000 pounds of carbon pollution every year!

New Solar Panels Powering the Badger Campus in Gilsum, NH

 

Family-Focused Employee Programs

Badger was awarded the Connect 2016 Philosophy Award for its accommodating employee benefits and exemplary work environment. Creating a family-friendly workplace is a high priority at Badger. They aim to be supportive of new parents in their extended work family while considering the well-being of all employees and productivity in the workplace. They offer extended parental leave and a Babies At Work program, which brings together a policy that is best for baby, parent, and business. This policy allows the parent to bring the child to the workplace until it begins crawling, at which time it graduates to Badger’s Calendula Garden Childcare Center. The Center is located just a quarter-mile from the Badger campus and offers high-quality, subsidized childcare for children of their employees.  Badger, in a sense, creates its own “village” to support both parent and child!

 

Calendula Garden Child Care Center
Calendula Garden Child Care Center

Another exemplary aspect of employee care is their free lunch program. This is a daily organic lunch served during a paid 30-minute break. Every day their fabulous cooks prepare a free, home-cooked lunch for all of the Badgers made from 100% organic and mostly local foods. During the summer months, much of the produce comes right from their Badger Ecology Center regenerative vegetable garden! Read more about Badger’s impressive employee benefits here.

 

Product Certifications

Badger believes that third-party certifications take the guesswork out of claims made on cosmetics and personal care items. This means that they adhere to the standards and guidelines of any third-party agency certifying their products. Their products are certified organic by both the USDA and the NSF, many of the ingredients are Fair Trade certified, and all products are certified gluten-free and certified cruelty-free. As a sunscreen manufacturer, they recognize the responsibility that they hold to help protect coral reefs and delicate marine ecosystems. They have been making reef-safe sunscreens since 2005 and now have one of the first Protect Land + Sea certified sunscreens. Badger sunscreens DO NOT contain any ingredients or contaminants considered harmful to coral reef environments, sea turtles, and other aquatic life. In addition, Badger advocates for bans on coral harming sunscreen chemicals in places such as Hawaii, Key West, Palau, Aruba, and the US Virgin Islands.

Spotlight on Lake Champlain Chocolates

We’re casting our Co-op Spotlight this week on a local favorite – Lake Champlain Chocolates! All of their mouth-watering Fairtrade Certified chocolates are 20% off for member-owners from November 18th – 24th. Read on to learn more about this local confectionery that has called Vermont home for almost 40 years and its commitment to responsible sourcing:

lc-logo-brown-300-dpi

History:

The story of Lake Champlain Chocolates began back in 1983 when founder Jim Lampman dared his pastry chef at Burlington’s Ice House Restaurant to create a better truffle than the ones he had been buying for his staff as holiday gifts. Together they began making the most amazing hand-rolled, creamy truffles and the rest, as they say, is history.

Sourcing Matters:

From the very beginning, long before eating local was cool, Lake Champlain Chocolates has been committed to sourcing Vermont-grown ingredients whenever possible. They knew that using high-quality Vermont honey, maple syrup, and fresh dairy from local farmers and producers would result in superior chocolates.

The goal is to bring you their best. To make high-quality chocolate that amazes with exquisite flavor and creates a moment of pure joy. It’s also why they’ve never added preservatives, extenders, or additives, and why they’ve worked diligently to remove GMOs from all of their chocolates and use organic and Fairtrade certified ingredients whenever possible. With each new product, the goal remains the same – to create something special, and to give you the best experience.

Eric Lampman in the Dominican Republic

A Family Affair:

Lake Champlain Chocolates is a second-generation, family-owned business, just like the generations of Vermont family farmers that provide them with fresh butter, cream, maple syrup, and honey. And just like the generations of cacao farmers in places like the Dominican Republic and Guatemala — with whom they have direct partnerships. Today, Jim’s son and daughter, Eric and Ellen, are defining the future of Lake Champlain Chocolates by developing award-winning organic products and spearheading sustainable sourcing initiatives. Along the way following the Lampman family principles: Dare to do better. Always do it with Passion. And do it your way.

The Lampman Family

Fair Trade:

Making great-tasting chocolate is hard work and the team at Lake Champlain Chocolates believes that every person in this process should be treated and compensated fairly and that their actions should make a positive impact on local and global communities. When you purchase Fairtrade chocolate, more money goes back to the farmers, allowing them to lift themselves out of poverty and build a better life for their families. It also allows these farmers to invest additional Fairtrade premiums in community development, ensures a ban on forced labor and child labor, and encourages environmentally-sustainable farming practices. Go ahead and indulge your sweet tooth and feel good knowing that 100% of the chocolate they use at Lake Champlain Chocolates is Fairtrade certified.

Why Buy Fairtrade Certified Chocolate?

  •  Farmers and workers are justly compensated and have safe working conditions (this includes prohibiting the use of forced labor and child labor).
  • Farmers are empowered to lift themselves out of poverty and help to build sustainable businesses that positively influence their communities.
  • Cocoa farmers and co-ops receive an additional premium for investing in community development.
  • Farming communities develop skills that help them use the free market to their advantage.
  • Farming villages become better stewards of the environment — using sustainable, environmentally-friendly practices to preserve local habitats and increase biodiversity

 

B Corp Certification:

Lake Champlain Chocolates joined a growing community of more than 2,500 certified B Corporations worldwide who are united under one common goal – to redefine success in business. Rather than focus solely on profits, certified  B Corporations are leaders of a global movement of people using business as a force for good. They meet the highest standards of overall social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability and aspire to use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. Unlike other certifications that look at individual products, B Corporation evaluates the entire business — assessing the yearly impact on the environment, workers, customers, community, and government.  This new type of corporation is purpose-driven to create benefits for all, not just shareholders, working together to be the change we seek in the world.

For Lake Champlain Chocolates these performance standards provide a valuable third-party measurement tool, assuring customers and suppliers that LCC’s business practices meet the highest standards. “Achieving B Corp Certification is the next step towards fulfilling our company’s vision to become the gold standard of chocolate companies in the United States, a respected leader other companies aspire to be,” says Eric Lampman, LCC President. “For more than 35 years, our practices have been guided by one core value – ‘everything must measure up to the chocolate.’  And this includes making a positive impact on our local and global communities by respecting our employees, fostering long-term partnerships with our suppliers, and practicing environmental responsibility.”

Factory Tours:

The folks at Lake Champlain Chocolates would love to show you around! Visit their flagship store on Pine Street in Burlington to watch their master chocolatiers craft extraordinary chocolate right before your eyes. Watch a brief video to learn how chocolate is made, where it comes from, and what makes their chocolates so delicious. And while you’re there, be sure to treat yourself to one of their specialty confections like Almond Butter Crunch, their famous chocolate truffle, or enjoy a hot chocolate, espresso, or ice cream from their café. Their factory tours are free, self-guided, informative, and fun! Chocolate is typically produced Monday-Friday; however, there can be changes in the production schedule without notice. You may visit Monday – Sunday, 11:00 am – 6:00 pm, though to see the most action in the factory, it is recommended to visit Monday-Friday before 2:00 pm.

Lake Champlain Chocolates also offers free outdoor chocolate tastings (weather permitting) at their Pine Street location on Saturdays from 12:00 – 4:00. 

 

 

Spotlight on Bee’s Wrap

We’re shining this week’s Member Deals Spotlight on a mission-driven local business creating innovative, award-winning products to help us curb our dependence on plastic — Bee’s Wrap®! From August 19th – 25th, all Bee’s Wrap® products are 20% off for member-owners, so it’s a great time to stock up on these reusable, rugged, eco-friendly, locally-made, fully compostable wraps. Read on to learn more about this local company, its mission, and its fierce advocacy:

 

Bee’s Wrap® was born in 2012 as its founder, Sarah Kaeck, was growing ever more deeply concerned about the persistent effect of plastics on our planet. She began by asking a simple question: How could we eliminate plastics in our kitchen in favor of a healthier, more sustainable way to store our food?

What she discovered was a lost tradition made new again. By infusing organic cotton with beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin, Kaeck created a washable, reusable, and compostable alternative to plastic wrap. What she also understood from the very beginning was that there must be a consideration of the entire life of the products we make and consume, from their creation and manufacturing to their eventual end. This is where biodegradability comes in: A product that is biodegradable can be easily returned to the earth. As their website states, “It’s a technology as old as time, and everything made in nature returns to nature with time. There’s no complicated recycling process, and no need to send your Bee’s Wrap® off to a special facility. Made from four simple ingredients, Bee’s Wrap® comes from the earth and is designed to return to the earth.” As your wrap begins to wear out, the team at Bee’s Wrap® hopes that you’ll look on those signs of wear as a welcome reminder of the natural cycles that surround us.

Looking beyond the impact of the products they create, Bee’s Wrap® is committed to using their business as a vehicle for social change, bettering the lives of their customers, employees, community, and the planet. As a proud B Corp and certified Green America company, Bee’s Wrap® is committed to social change to help better the lives of its customers, employees, community, and planet. In 2019 they were awarded Green America’s People and Planet Award, which recognizes outstanding small businesses with deep commitments to social justice and environmental sustainability. They were also the 2019 recipient of B-Corp’s 2019 Best For The World: Environment award for the business’s top-notch attention to environmental stewardship. Bee’s Wrap® is actively working with partners such as 1% for the Planet, The Bee Cause, and The Rozalia Project, pledging their support to ocean conservancy, beach cleanups, and environmental stewardship. They’re also committed to donating at least 1% of sales of their Honeycomb Roll of Bee’s Wrap® to organizations supporting these efforts.

 

This past year brought big changes for Bee’s Wrap® as the business was sold to an undisclosed private investor. Since first founding the business back in 2012, Kaeck had overseen the growth of her company through the addition of dozens of employees, an expansion into a 12,000 square-foot facility in Middlebury, and she oversaw the company’s B Corp Certification. Bee’s Wrap® was growing, both nationally and internationally, and Kaeck was seeking an investor who could leverage the company’s successful track record into this new phase of growth. Kaeck stayed on as the CEO for the first few months of the transition, then handed over the reins to Tara Murphy in June of 2021. Murphy brings extensive experience to the role, having served for four years as Chief Executive Officer at Hinesburg-based Vermont Smoke & Cure and three previous years at Keurig Green Mountain. 

In a recent press release, Kaeck says, “I could not be happier about the prospects for Bee’s Wrap’s future. I founded and led Bee’s Wrap for eight years with the goal to create a viable mainstream alternative to plastic, and we’re at that point now. Tara’s deep consumer product experience, outstanding leadership skills, and commitment to Vermont make her an excellent choice to continue to grow Bee’s Wrap in the years to come.”

Reducing the reliance on plastic takes time, and every effort you make counts. Whether you’re using Bee’s Wrap for on-the-go snacks or storing dinner leftovers, you’re one step closer to making it possible to ditch disposable food storage for good. Today, Bee’s Wrap® is a leading alternative to plastic wrap. From their headquarters right here in Middlebury, Vermont, they’re creating wraps that provide a versatile and durable solution for sustainable food storage.

 

 

 

 

 

Spotlight on Lake Champlain Chocolates

We’re casting our Co-op Spotlight this week on a local favorite – Lake Champlain Chocolates! All of their mouth-watering Fairtrade Certified chocolates are 20% off for member-owners from March 18th – 24th — just in time for the Easter Bunny to stock up! Read on to learn more about this local confectionery that has called Vermont home for almost 40 years and its commitment to responsible sourcing:

lc-logo-brown-300-dpi

History:

The story of Lake Champlain Chocolates began back in 1983 when founder Jim Lampman dared his pastry chef at Burlington’s Ice House Restaurant to create a better truffle than the ones he had been buying for his staff as holiday gifts. Together they began making the most amazing hand-rolled, creamy truffles and the rest, as they say, is history.

Sourcing Matters:

From the very beginning, long before eating local was cool, Lake Champlain Chocolates has been committed to sourcing Vermont-grown ingredients whenever possible. They knew that using high-quality Vermont honey, maple syrup, and fresh dairy from local farmers and producers would result in superior chocolates.

The goal is to bring you their best. To make high-quality chocolate that amazes with exquisite flavor and creates a moment of pure joy. It’s also why they’ve never added preservatives, extenders, or additives, and why they’ve worked diligently to remove GMOs from all of their chocolates and use organic and Fairtrade certified ingredients whenever possible. With each new product, the goal remains the same – to create something special, and to give you the best experience.

Eric Lampman in the Dominican Republic

A Family Affair:

Lake Champlain Chocolates is a second-generation, family-owned business, just like the generations of Vermont family farmers that provide them with fresh butter, cream, maple syrup, and honey. And just like the generations of cacao farmers in places like the Dominican Republic and Guatemala — with whom they have direct partnerships. Today, Jim’s son and daughter, Eric and Ellen, are defining the future of Lake Champlain Chocolates by developing award-winning organic products and spearheading sustainable sourcing initiatives. Along the way following the Lampman family principles: Dare to do better. Always do it with Passion. And do it your way.

Lampman Family

Fair Trade:

Making great-tasting chocolate is hard work and the team at Lake Champlain Chocolates believes that every person in this process should be treated and compensated fairly and that their actions should make a positive impact on local and global communities. When you purchase Fairtrade chocolate, more money goes back to the farmers, allowing them to lift themselves out of poverty and build a better life for their families. It also allows these farmers to invest additional Fairtrade premiums in community development, ensures a ban on forced labor and child labor, and encourages environmentally-sustainable farming practices. Go ahead and indulge your sweet tooth and feel good knowing that 100% of the chocolate they use at Lake Champlain Chocolates is Fairtrade certified.

Why Buy Fairtrade Certified Chocolate?

  •  Farmers and workers are justly compensated and have safe working conditions (this includes prohibiting the use of forced labor and child labor).
  • Farmers are empowered to lift themselves out of poverty and help to build sustainable businesses that positively influence their communities.
  • Cocoa farmers and co-ops receive an additional premium for investing in community development.
  • Farming communities develop skills that help them use the free market to their advantage.
  • Farming villages become better stewards of the environment — using sustainable, environmentally-friendly practices to preserve local habitats and increase biodiversity

 

B Corp Certification:

Lake Champlain Chocolates joined a growing community of more than 2,500 certified B Corporations worldwide who are united under one common goal – to redefine success in business. Rather than focus solely on profits, certified  B Corporations are leaders of a global movement of people using business as a force for good. They meet the highest standards of overall social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability and aspire to use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. Unlike other certifications that look at individual products, B Corporation evaluates the entire business — assessing the yearly impact on the environment, workers, customers, community, and government.  This new type of corporation is purpose-driven to create benefits for all, not just shareholders, working together to be the change we seek in the world.

For Lake Champlain Chocolates these performance standards provide a valuable third-party measurement tool, assuring customers and suppliers that LCC’s business practices meet the highest standards. “Achieving B Corp Certification is the next step towards fulfilling our company’s vision to become the gold standard of chocolate companies in the United States, a respected leader other companies aspire to be,” says Eric Lampman, LCC President. “For more than 35 years, our practices have been guided by one core value – ‘everything must measure up to the chocolate.’  And this includes making a positive impact on our local and global communities by respecting our employees, fostering long-term partnerships with our suppliers, and practicing environmental responsibility.”

Factory Tours:

The folks at Lake Champlain Chocolates would love to show you around! Visit their flagship store on Pine Street in Burlington to watch their master chocolatiers craft extraordinary chocolate right before your eyes. Watch a brief video to learn how chocolate is made, where it comes from, and what makes their chocolates so delicious. And while you’re there, be sure to treat yourself to one of their specialty confections like Almond Butter Crunch, their famous chocolate truffle, or enjoy a hot chocolate, espresso, or ice cream from their café. Their factory tours are free, self-guided, informative, and fun! Chocolate is typically produced Monday-Friday; however, there can be changes in the production schedule without notice. You may visit Monday – Sunday, 11:00 am – 6:00 pm, though to see the most action in the factory, it is recommended to visit Monday-Friday before 2:00 pm.

Lake Champlain Chocolates also offers free outdoor chocolate tastings (weather permitting) at their Pine Street location on Saturdays from 12:00 – 4:00. 

 

 

Spotlight on Badger

Our Co-op Spotlight is shining brightly on Badger this week. This small, family-owned, family-run, and family-friendly company nestled in the woods of Gilsum, New Hampshire is beyond worthy of the spotlight. They help define what it means to be a socially accountable, environmentally responsible, people-first kind of business. They are featured in our Member Deals Spotlight this week, so all of their fabulous body care products are 20% off for member-owners from November 26th – December 2nd! We happen to think they make great stocking stuffers!  Read on to learn about the ideals, principles, and practices that make their company worthy of such high praise:

high-res-logo-for-print

Badger was born in 1995 when founder Bill Whyte was working as a carpenter in the cold New Hampshire winters and created an amazing balm that helped soothe and heal his cracked hands. Badger Bill ran the company (as CEO) along with his wife Katie Schwerin (as COO) and their two daughters Rebecca Hamilton and Emily Schwerin-Whyte and it grew to over 100 products and over 90 employees. In 2018 Bill passed the leadership of the company on to Rebecca and Emily making them both CEOs or Collaborative Executive Officers. Click HERE to read more about Badger’s amazing history.

Badger Bill and family

 

Quality Ingredients and Standards

Badger selects ingredients with great care, using only those that fit their rigorous natural standards for healthy agriculture, minimal processing, sustainable supply chain, and health-giving properties. Every ingredient they use is grown and processed with the highest degree of respect for protecting the environment, the workers, and the natural properties of the plants. Nearly all of Badger’s products are made from 100% USDA Certified Organic food-grade ingredients and they utilize as many fair trade certified ingredients as possible. You can view their impressive growing and processing standards on their web page. 

Team of Friendly Badgers

B Corp Status

Badger became a B Corporation in 2011 to help assess and improve their business practices and ensure that they’re always doing what’s right for people and the planet. In June of 2018, Badger was named ‘Best For the World’ and ‘Best for the Environment’ by the folks at B Corp, recognizing their efforts to create a positive impact for workers, the environment, and the community. At the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid, Badger joined a group of over 500 other B corporations in committing to Net Zero by 2030. That means reaching a perfect equilibrium with the earth—drawing all of their energy from renewable sources, and releasing zero carbon into the atmosphere. 

Badger facility & ecology center
Badger Facility & Ecology Center Gardens

Going Solar

This past September, Badger was so excited to officially unveil their 1,384-unit, 486.7-kilowatt array of solar panels! Mounted on their grounds and stretching across their rooftops, the panels produce enough clean solar energy to power all of their operations—and even send extra electricity back to the grid. These panels will eliminate about 636,000 pounds of carbon pollution every year!

New Solar Panels Powering the Badger Campus in Gilsum, NH

 

Family-Focused Employee Programs

Badger was awarded the Connect 2016 Philosophy Award for its accommodating employee benefits and exemplary work environment. Creating a family-friendly workplace is a high priority at Badger. They aim to be supportive of new parents in their extended work family while considering the well-being of all employees and productivity in the workplace. They offer extended parental leave and a Babies At Work program, which brings together a policy that is best for baby, parent, and business. This policy allows the parent to bring the child to the workplace until it begins crawling, at which time it graduates to Badger’s Calendula Garden Childcare Center. The Center is located just a quarter-mile from the Badger campus and offers high-quality, subsidized childcare for children of their employees.  Badger, in a sense, creates its own “village” to support both parent and child!

 

Calendula Garden Child Care Center
Calendula Garden Child Care Center

Another exemplary aspect of employee care is their free lunch program. This is a daily organic lunch served during a paid 30-minute break. Every day their fabulous cooks prepare a free, home-cooked lunch for all of the Badgers made from 100% organic and mostly local foods. During the summer months, much of the produce comes right from their Badger Ecology Center regenerative vegetable garden! Read more about Badger’s impressive employee benefits here.

Free organic lunch!
Free Organic Lunch For Badger Staff

Product Certifications

Badger believes that third-party certifications take the guesswork out of claims made on cosmetics and personal care items. This means that they adhere to the standards and guidelines of any third party agency certifying their products. Their products are certified organic by both the USDA and the NSF, many of the ingredients are Fair Trade certified, and all products are certified gluten-free and certified cruelty-free. Recently, their full line of mineral sunscreens was among the first to bear a new Protect Land + Sea Certification, a seal verifying that a product does not contain any ingredients or contaminants considered harmful to coral reef environments, sea turtles, and other aquatic life.

 

 

Take a Virtual Tour with Badger Bill:

 

A Tour of Badger from Badger Balm on Vimeo.

Spotlight on Lake Champlain Chocolates

We’re casting our Co-op Spotlight this week on a local favorite – Lake Champlain Chocolates! All of their mouth-watering Fairtrade Certified chocolates are 20% off for member-owners from November 19th – 25th! Read on to learn more about this local confectionery that has called Vermont home for almost 40 years and their commitment to responsible sourcing:

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History:

The story of Lake Champlain Chocolates began back in 1983 when founder Jim Lampman dared his pastry chef at Burlington’s Ice House Restaurant to create a better truffle than the ones he had been buying for his staff as holiday gifts. Together they began making the most amazing hand-rolled, creamy truffles and the rest, as they say, is history.

Sourcing Matters:

From the very beginning, long before eating local was cool, Lake Champlain Chocolates has been committed to sourcing Vermont-grown ingredients whenever possible. They knew that using high-quality Vermont honey, maple syrup, and fresh dairy from local farmers and producers would result in superior chocolates.

The goal is to bring you their best. To make high-quality chocolate that amazes with exquisite flavor and creates a moment of pure joy. It’s also why they’ve never added preservatives, extenders, or additives, and why they’ve worked diligently to remove GMOs from all of their chocolates and use organic and Fairtrade certified ingredients whenever possible. With each new product, the goal remains the same – to create something special, and to give you the best experience.

Eric Lampman in the Dominican Republic

A Family Affair:

Lake Champlain Chocolates is a second-generation, family-owned business, just like the generations of Vermont family farmers that provide them with fresh butter, cream, maple syrup, and honey. And just like the generations of cacao farmers in places like the Dominican Republic and Guatemala — with whom they have direct partnerships. Today, Jim’s son and daughter, Eric and Ellen, are defining the future of Lake Champlain Chocolates by developing award-winning organic products and spearheading sustainable sourcing initiatives. Along the way following the Lampman family principles: Dare to do better. Always do it with Passion. And do it your way.

Lampman Family

Fair Trade:

Making great-tasting chocolate is hard work and the team at Lake Champlain Chocolates believes that every person in this process should be treated and compensated fairly and that their actions should make a positive impact on local and global communities. When you purchase Fairtrade chocolate, more money goes back to the farmers, allowing them to lift themselves out of poverty and build a better life for their families. It also allows these farmers to invest additional Fairtrade premiums in community development, ensures a ban on forced labor and child labor, and encourages environmentally-sustainable farming practices. Go ahead and indulge your sweet tooth and feel good knowing that 100% of the chocolate they use at Lake Champlain Chocolates is Fairtrade certified.

Why Buy Fairtrade Certified Chocolate?

  •  Farmers and workers are justly compensated and have safe working conditions (this includes prohibiting the use of forced labor and child labor).
  • Farmers are empowered to lift themselves out of poverty and help to build sustainable businesses that positively influence their communities.
  • Cocoa farmers and co-ops receive an additional premium for investing in community development.
  • Farming communities develop skills that help them use the free market to their advantage.
  • Farming villages become better stewards of the environment — using sustainable, environmentally-friendly practices to preserve local habitats and increase biodiversity

 

B Corp Certification:

Lake Champlain Chocolates joined a growing community of more than 2,500 certified B Corporations worldwide who are united under one common goal – to redefine success in business. Rather than focus solely on profits, certified  B Corporations are leaders of a global movement of people using business as a force for good. They meet the highest standards of overall social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability and aspire to use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. Unlike other certifications that look at individual products, B Corporation evaluates the entire business — assessing the yearly impact on the environment, workers, customers, community, and government.  This new type of corporation is purpose-driven to create benefits for all, not just shareholders, working together to be the change we seek in the world.

For Lake Champlain Chocolates these performance standards provide a valuable third-party measurement tool, assuring customers and suppliers that LCC’s business practices meet the highest standards. “Achieving B Corp Certification is the next step towards fulfilling our company’s vision to become the gold standard of chocolate companies in the United States, a respected leader other companies aspire to be,” says Eric Lampman, LCC President. “For more than 35 years, our practices have been guided by one core value – ‘everything must measure up to the chocolate.’  And this includes making a positive impact on our local and global communities by respecting our employees, fostering long-term partnerships with our suppliers, and practicing environmental responsibility.”

Factory Tours:

The folks at Lake Champlain Chocolates would love to show you around! Visit their flagship store on Pine Street in Burlington to watch their master chocolatiers craft extraordinary chocolate right before your eyes. Watch a brief video to learn how chocolate is made, where it comes from, and what makes their chocolates so delicious. And while you’re there, be sure to treat yourself to one of their specialty confections like Almond Butter Crunch, their famous chocolate truffle or enjoy a hot chocolate, espresso, or ice cream from their café. Their factory tours are free, self-guided, informative, and fun! Chocolate is typically produced Monday-Friday; however there can be changes in the production schedule without notice.You may visit Monday – Sunday, 11:00 am – 6:00 pm, though to see the most action in the factory, it is recommended to visit Monday-Friday before 2:00 pm.

Lake Champlain Chocolates also offers free outdoor chocolate tastings (weather permitting) at their Pine Street location on Saturdays from 12:00 – 4:00. 

 

 

Spotlight on Lotus Foods

Happy non-GMO month! We’re casting our Co-op Spotlight on Lotus Foods this week to bring awareness to their grassroots rice revolution that is helping to bring sustainably grown, fairly traded, regenerative, organic, and non-GMO rice to your dinner table! All of their products are 20% off for member-owners from October 8th – 14th. Read on to learn more about the groundbreaking agricultural practices that are making this possible and the impact that it’s having in rice-growing regions of the world:

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Lotus Foods was founded in 1995 with the intent and vision to support sustainable global agriculture by promoting the production of traditional heirloom rice varieties, many of which may otherwise be extinct, while enabling the small family rice farmer to earn an honorable living. They learned that up to one-third of the planet’s annual renewable supply of fresh water is used to irrigate rice and recognized that this practice is not sustainable. These wasteful agricultural methods are depleting our water resources faster than they are being recharged, creating water scarcity. For this reason, in 2008, Lotus Foods committed to partnering with small-scale farmers who radically changed how they grow rice, using less to produce more.

Lotus Foods feels strongly that sustainability is premised on an ethical framework that includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, and a culture of peace. They believe that eradicating poverty and promoting social and economic justice must begin with agriculture and must be accomplished in a way that protects and restores the natural resources on which all life depends. At the crux of this challenge is rice, which provides a source of living to more than two billion people, most earning less than $200 per year.

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A Grassroots Rice Revolution


In 2008 Lotus Foods committed to partnering with small-scale farmers who radically changed how they grow rice, using less to produce more. More Crop Per Drop™ is how Lotus Foods refers to their rice grown using the System of Rice Intensification (SRI).  SRI is a not a new seed or input, but rather a different way of cultivating rice that enables small-scale farmers to double and triple their yields while using 80-90% less seed, 50% less water, and less or no chemical inputs. That’s revolutionary!

Why is SRI so Important?

This unique agricultural method addresses some of the most important challenges we face this century – namely to feed several billion more people with dwindling land and water resources and without further degrading the planet’s environment. SRI has been largely grassroots-driven, fueled by marginalized male & female farmers and the non-profit organizations (NGOs) who advocate for their welfare, like Oxfam, Africare, WWF and many dedicated local NGOs and individuals. The reason these farmers are so excited about SRI is that it represents an opportunity for more food, more money, better health, and more options – in short, for a way out of poverty.

Lotus Foods sees SRI as a logical extension of its mission. They offer exceptional SRI-grown rice varieties and call them More Crop Per Drop to bring to special attention to water as a diminishing resource. Fully one-quarter to one-third of the planet’s annual freshwater supplies are used to irrigate and grow the global rice crop. And in Asia, where most rice is grown and eaten, about 84% of water withdrawal is for agriculture, mostly for irrigating rice. Water scarcity is having an increasingly significant impact on agriculture. According to the WWF, “The SRI method for growing rice could save hundreds of billions of cubic meters of water while increasing food security.”  Check out this cool video from the Better U Foundation to learn more about SRI:

What about Organic Certification, Fair Trade Certification & Non-GMO Verification?

Most of their rice varieties are already certified organic, while others are in the process of becoming certified, and still, others are working to help develop a certifying program in their country of origin. These organic and transitional rices are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or ionizing radiation. Their rices are 100% fair-trade certified and non-GMO verified. In 2016 Lotus Foods became a fully certified B Corp or Benefit Corporation. B corporations are legally obligated to consider the impact of their decisions on their employees, suppliers, community, consumers, and environment. It’s our conviction that we can change the world for the better by how we conduct our business.

Going Beyond Organic

Lotus Food’s traditional White and Brown Basmati Rice has qualified for Regenerative Organic Certified™ (ROC™) Silver. It is the first rice to achieve this rigorous new standard, which goes beyond existing Organic and Fair Trade certifications in promoting farming that enriches rather than degrades soil and values animals and workers. ROC certification requires organic certification as a baseline while adding additional criteria for soil health, animal welfare, and social fairness.

At the Co-op, you’ll find several varieties of Lotus Foods rice in our bulk department, and in the grocery department, you’ll find their packaged rice and also their delicious Rice Ramen and Pad Thai noodles. Visit their website for excellent tips and recipes!

Cambodian More Crop Per Drop™ farmer

Spotlight on Bee’s Wrap

We’re shining this week’s Member Deals Spotlight on a mission-driven local business creating innovative, award-winning products to help us curb our dependence on plastic — Bee’s Wrap! From August 13th – 19th all Bee’s Wrap products are 20% off for member-owners, so it’s a great time to stock up on these reusable, rugged, eco-friendly, locally-made, fully compostable wraps. Read on to learn more about this local company, their mission, and their fierce advocacy:

 

Bee’s Wrap was born in 2012 as its founder, Sarah Kaeck, was growing ever more deeply concerned about the persistent effect of plastics on our planet. She began by asking a simple question: How could we eliminate plastics in our kitchen in favor of a healthier, more sustainable way to store our food?

What she discovered was a lost tradition made new again. By infusing organic cotton with beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin, Kaeck created a washable, reusable, and compostable alternative to plastic wrap. What she also understood from the very beginning was that there must be a consideration of the entire life of the products we make and consume, from their creation and manufacturing to their eventual end. This is where biodegradability comes in: A product that is biodegradable can be easily returned to the earth. As their website states, “It’s a technology as old as time, and everything made in nature returns to nature with time. There’s no complicated recycling process, and no need to send your Bee’s Wrap off to a special facility. Made from four simple ingredients, Bee’s Wrap comes from the earth and is designed to return to the earth.” As your wrap begins to wear out, the team at Bee’s Wrap hopes that you’ll look on those signs of wear as a welcome reminder of the natural cycles that surround us.

Looking beyond the impact of the products they create, Bee’s Wrap is committed to using their business as a vehicle for social change, bettering the lives of their customers, employees, community, and the planet. As a proud B Corp and certified Green America company, Bee’s Wrap is committed to social change to help better the lives of its customers, employees, community, and planet. In 2019 they were awarded Green America’s People and Planet Award, which recognizes outstanding small businesses with deep commitments to social justice and environmental sustainability. They were also the 2019 recipient of B-Corp’s 2019 Best For The World: Environment award for the business’s top-notch attention to environmental stewardship. Bee’s Wrap is actively working with partners such as 1% for the Planet, The Bee Cause, The Rozalia Project, and National Geographic, pledging their support to ocean conservancy, beach cleanups, and environmental stewardship. 

Bee’s Wrap also recently joined dozens of other Vermont businesses to advocate at the Statehouse for climate action policies in 2020. As Kaeck shared in a recent blog post, “I feel it is important that our elected officials hear from the Vermont business community, as we are important stakeholders in Vermont’s economy and have an impact on the environment we all share. Bee’s Wrap’s focus is on reducing the usage and availability of single-use plastics, increasing the accessibility of renewable energy, and prioritizing the reduction of climate pollution, and we support the comprehensive 2020 climate policy agenda outlined by VPIRG. Vermont’s small size and long history of participatory democracy provide an opportunity for Vermont business (and individual Vermonters) to have direct, substantial, face-to-face conversations with their own state representatives and legislative leaders. Bee’s Wrap participated in this event to advocate for our business values and shared priorities for bold climate action. We did this alongside our corporate peers, demonstrating together that the need for action is vital and urgent.”

Reducing the reliance on plastic takes time, and every effort you make counts. Whether you’re using Bee’s Wrap for on-the-go snacks or storing dinner leftovers, you’re one step closer to making it possible to ditch disposable food storage for good. Today, Bee’s Wrap is a leading alternative to plastic wrap. From their headquarters right here in Middlebury, Vermont, they’re creating wraps that provide a versatile and durable solution for sustainable food storage.