Bringing B Corp to Specialty Coffee Expo 2022
This year, we made B Corp front and center at our industry’s leading event, The Specialty Coffee Expo, that took place in Boston, featuring over 420 exhibiting companies and over 10,000 attendees. Amidst worldwide concerns regarding climate change and sustainability, and in line with our company’s values, this year we wanted to create awareness about using business as a force for good.
How did we do this? We exhibited at the expo through a heavy lens of B Corp - a private certification of for-profit companies for their social and environmental performance, administered by B Lab, a global non profit organization. What did we do? We got B Corp directly involved in the event, partnered with our friends and fellow B Corps, secured lectures to amplify our message, hosted social events and mixers, and got our branding aligned with B Corp.
By sharing our successes and learnings from the event, we hope to inspire similarly minded organizations to bring B Corp and its values front and center at their events - and create a chain reaction so more organizations get on board with the B Corp mission of social and environmental responsibility.
Collaborate Directly with B Corp
To help bring forth the message and importance of B Corp to the event, we planned ahead and sponsored the trip of a B Corp staff member to answer industry questions and act as a representative at the Expo. We had the pleasure of having Max Hayes, a B Corp representative, join us to answer any and all questions related to B Corp, and to participate in our panel related to the topic. “The two biggest takeaways that I have from the 2022 SCA were seeing first hand how valuable B Corp certification can be to companies who take the process and standards to heart, and how much potential there is for the coffee industry to positively contribute to some of the largest economic and existential threats that all industries face today.” Having Max from B Corp present at the event helped us spread the message of B Corp, and he was able to ignite interest in the audience about getting certified.
Partner with Friends for Success
Over the past few years, more friends of ours have achieved B Corp Certification. At this year’s expo, we joined forces with some of these friends, including Daterra Coffee, Equator Coffees, Counter Culture, and Ben & Jerry’s for our B Corp related events. All companies place quality, sustainability and social and environmental responsibility at the core of their brand identity. By joining forces with them, we believe we made a stronger impact, were able to reach a wider audience, and were able to demonstrate how collaboration and relationships are beneficial to business and industry growth.
Participate in Lectures and Panels
We moderated a panel at this year’s expo with our fellow B Corp friends, Daterra, Equator Coffees, and Counter Culture, and held a workshop on “Becoming a B Corp,” where we discussed everything from the benefits of B Corp certification, to the preparation for getting certified, opportunities for improvement, and the value of displaying weakness and being transparent in business.
“It was a very happy surprise as our panels were quite full and loaded with questions, which proves people are really eager to learn more. There’s a huge increase in interest compared to just 2 years ago,” said Isabela Becker, Sustainability Director of Daterra about the events.” The surge in interest got us all excited, however, we realize there’s still a lot of work to be done. As the B Corp Movement is still relatively new in terms of lifecycle, many are still trying to understand the process of getting certified and the value added to their organization. “
We believe it is our job as B Corp certified organizations to help companies understand what B Corp is and get educated on the path towards more sustainable practices; an easy way to do this is by participating in lectures and panels at events which are promoted by the organizer and are open to the public.
Host Social Events and Mixers
Another easy and engaging way to promote B Corp values is through events and mixers. In addition to the panel and workshop, we hosted two B Corp driven social events with partners Daterra and Ben & Jerry’s. Our brunch with Daterra was on the topic of Carbon-free farming and how coffee can help sequestrate carbon, a trend the agriculture industry must go towards. Our Ice Cream mixer with Ben & Jerry’s was a celebration of 25 years of partnership, as we’ve been the source of Fair Trade coffee beans that flavor Coffee Buzz Buzz for 25+ years. The turn out for both events was incredible and we were able to promote B Corp and its core values in a non-intimidating, fun and engaging way.
Align Your Branding
Incorporate B Corp branding in your marketing materials and booth to garner interest from participants. 2022 was the first year at the expo where we placed a heavy B Corp emphasis on all of our events and our brand marketing, and as a result, we received a lot of questions regarding B Corp. Our booth was garnished with a large logo of B Corp, and we had informational sheets at our booth for visitors to take regarding what it means to be B Corp certified. Embellishing your marketing materials with B Corp branding is a simple way to gather interest and spark a conversation!
Path Towards B Corp
Having achieved B Corp certification back in 2008 and as the first coffee importer to do so, we at Sustainable Harvest have noticed a huge surge in interest over the years from our industry in achieving B Corp certification and all that goes along with it. At this year’s Specialty Coffee Expo in particular, we received a lot of questions about what B Corp is, how we achieved our score and what it entails for our business. We were thrilled about the interest and are excited our industry, as well as others, are headed towards a more sustainably focused, conscious direction.
We hope that more companies will do the same to spread awareness about important values related to sustainability of the planet and people. There are many ways to bring awareness and shed light on the importance of value-driven missions, and we’ve discovered that one easy and proven way is through putting B Corp and its values front and center at trade show events. If you have any questions about B Corp, reach out to us!