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B Corporation Certification will safeguard social mission for Rubicon Bakery

By Kacey Culliney , 15-Feb-2013

A certification standard for social and environmental performance will safeguard the social mission of Rubicon Bakery – initially set up as a non-profit social enterprise, its owner said.

The B Corporation (B Corp) certification means the company must meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.

The certification was granted by B Lab; a non-profit organization dedicated to using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems initiated the certification.

“We’re delighted to join a group of like-minded business owners who support and set a new standard for values-driven business practices,” said Andrew Stoloff, owner of Rubicon Bakery.

Rubicon Bakery was established in 1993 as a non-profit social enterprise by Rubicon Programs. It employs people from prison, the streets or with a history of substance abuse and operates a ‘no questions asked’ hiring policy. The fundamental aim is to give employees a second chance, the company said.

The wholesale baking company specializes in natural, premium branded and private label goods produced from scratch using all-natural ingredients. Products are sold in independent grocers and Whole Foods throughout California, Washington, Oregon and the Rocky Mountain States.

Social mission ensured

Rubicon Bakery shifted from a social enterprise to a for-profit bakery business three years ago following a sale. Since then, the bakery has seen an estimated 400% growth and an additional 100 full-time employees have been hired.

At the time of the sale, B Corp Certification was identified as a way to guarantee that the bakery would continue to fulfil the non-profit’s social mission to provide employment opportunities for the hardest-to-employ, Rubicon said.

By being certified as a B Corp, the company’s social enterprise platform is written into its corporate governance.

“This is particularly fitting because the bakery was started as a non-profit social enterprise,” Rubicon said.

B Corp network

The global network of B Corporation Certified businesses is growing – now comprised of 680 businesses from 60 countries and 24 countries.

B Lab said: “By voluntarily meeting higher standards of transparency, accountability, and performance, Certified B Corps are distinguishing themselves in a cluttered marketplace by offering a positive vision of a better way to do business.”

B Lab noted that Certified B Corporations differ from US Benefit Corporations.

The latter is a legal status administered by the state and does not need to be certified, it said.

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