Disclosure: I created this post in partnership with Stonyfield. All opinions included here are mine.
My son accompanied me to our local grocery store the other day, pushing the cart as we traipsed up and down the aisles, looking for the items on our list. Milk, almond milk, bananas, bread, cheese, cereal. He, as I had anticipated, pointed out food he wanted me to buy that wasn’t on our list, and I found myself using this grocery-buying trip as a lesson in nutrition and activism.
The nutrition part was expected; this was the grocery store, after all. My nine-year-old son, R, gleefully spied sugared breakfast cereals—the kind we never buy—and, persistent as he is, asked to add a box to our cart. Instead, I pulled the box off the shelf, and talked with him about sugar—why too much of it is bad and why sugared cereals aren’t the best way to kick start the day. Our lesson continued in the produce aisle. R inhales fruit like a vacuum cleaner goes after dirt. Frozen fruit, in particular, is his favorite snack, and I can tell when he’s going through a growth spurt by the opening and closing of my freezer as he reaches in for another package of frozen mango, blueberries, or pineapple. At the grocery store, though, he lobbied me for fresh peaches, strawberries, and raspberries—none of which are in season in March in New England. They were all imported from far away, flown on an airplane from another country. And, none of them lining the shelves in the grocery were organic. This prompted a conversation about why we always buy organic fruit (pesticides!) and why buying seasonally appropriate produce was the best choice for us (of course, that’s a challenge in the winter, but we try).
The activism aspect of our trip should not have been a surprise, though it did. Since the presidential election, I feel like every moment of my life is a lesson in democracy and the political process. R feels this, too, to an extent: partly driven by his exposure to politics at home and from what he picks up from friends at school, he is very aware of the political climate in the United States. He asks so many questions about what’s going on in Washington, DC, and my husband and I find ourselves regularly educating him and his little sister about the structure of our government and the electoral process. We talk about using our voices for good and how, as informed citizens, we should speak up for what we believe in and for others who aren’t able to do the same.
I hadn’t, though, talked with him about another valuable way we can protest against injustice or express our political opinion: the idea of using our wallets to speak up for movements or companies we believe in, bypassing companies who don’t share our values. At the grocery store, this is easy: I regularly walk past brands that have questionable or offensive policies, in favor of companies that make doing good a priority. This typically means I buy largely non-GMO and organic, look for New England-based companies, and support brands with progressive workplace policies.
Recently, Stonyfield, a company I have supported for years, both as a member of its blogger program, and before that as a consumer, announced it had achieved B Corp™ Certification.
More than 2,000 companies in 130 industries around the world have earned B Corp™ Certification, a designation earned after a thorough review of the company’s practices, policies, and output, with special consideration paid to how the “companies impact the environment, workers, customers and the community. There are also criteria for responsible governance.”
This explanation, from the B Corp™ website, sums it up succinctly: “B Corp is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk. B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.”
Essentially, a B Corp™ is a company committed to doing good and holding itself to a higher standard. Stonyfield joins a long list of companies—many of which may already be in your pantry or refrigerator (there were in mine!)—including Preserve, Pukka, Purely Elizabeth, King Arthur, Method, and Pete and Gerry’s Organics—who have already earned this certification. It’s a voluntary, ongoing process, with regular re-evaluation and efforts to improve and strengthen the designation.
“As a B Corp™, we aspire to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems,” explain the folks at Stonyfield. “We don’t have all the answers, but we believe it’s important to take care of the world around us to make food that you can feel good about feeding your family.”
Setting yourself to a higher standard is something I encourage my kids to do every day. Expect more from yourself, the people around you, the companies with which you interact, I tell them. That’s how the world changes, one good step at a time.
Learn more about B Corp™ here.