Today, National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA) – a business services cooperative representing 128 food co-ops nationwide – announced its certification as a B-Corporation.
NCGA joins more than 650 companies in 19 countries and across 60 industries which have achieved B Corp status. Like Fair Trade or USDA Organic certification, B Corp certification requires companies to meet and adopt rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.
"Co-ops like ours are rooted in values of self-responsibility, democracy, community and social responsibility, and are a powerful economic force through which we can shape and ensure a sustainable food system, fair treatment of people, and a healthy environment. Joining the B Corp family was a natural step” said Robynn Shrader, chief executive officer for NCGA.
Unlike conventional grocers, food co-ops are owned and governed by member-shoppers. Because of these principles and practices, food co-ops inherently serve and benefit the communities where they are located. For example, a study released by NCGA earlier this year found that for every dollar spent at a food co-op, $0.38 is reinvested in the local economy compared to $0.24 at conventional grocers.
Currently, NCGA’s member and associate food co-ops operate 165 stores, generate more than $1.4 billion in annual revenue and are owned by 1.3 million consumer owners – all numbers that are expected to continue rising in the coming years.
“The co-op is clearly a strong and viable business model – a model we believe to be a key component of a healthy economy, and a mechanism for consumer choice, a fair and honest deal, and ethical business.” Shrader added. “B Corp certification was another opportunity to join leaders in the movement to push all businesses to establish and be held accountable for values beyond the bottom line.”