A letter from sarah: we're a b corp!

From the very earliest days, I knew that I wanted Bee’s Wrap to be a different sort of business. I founded Bee’s Wrap in my home, experimenting with solutions for storing food that cut down on waste and single-use plastics. Very quickly, though, I began exploring another kind of innovation: I wanted to build a business that championed the environment, enriched the lives of employees and my community, and asked, at every turn, “How can we do things differently?”

I approached this question with a certain degree of freedom. Because I’d come to Bee’s Wrap without a traditional business background, I didn’t have a roadmap for how business “should” be done, and instead had some utopian ideas about what a business could be. I wanted to make a product that radically changed the way individuals think about food, waste, and single-use plastics.

I also wanted to build a workplace where decisions are made after first asking, “What’s the best way to do this?” I wanted to create a company where coworkers took pride in their work, and were supported in their lives at and beyond the workplace — where our footprint on the earth is small, but our impact on the lives of each other, and our customers, was lasting.  

Happily, there’s a growing community of businesses that also want to do things differently, that believe business can be a force for good in the world, for environmental stewardship, and for community building. Many of these businesses are B Corps.

Today, I’m happy to announce that Bee’s Wrap is now a Certified B Corporation®. After taking inspiration from B Corporations in our earliest days, we began pursuing our B Corp certification in earnest last year. In joining this community, we continue to publicly voice our commitment to do right by people and the planet, and to continuously improve the way Bee’s Wrap exists in the world. Consider it another step on our path to make those utopian ideas a reality.

What is a B Corp?

Certified B Corporations use business as a force for good, solving social and environmental problems in a way that’s good for people and the planet. Certified by the B Lab, an international nonprofit overseeing the network of B Corps, these companies must meet the highest standards of overall social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. Today there are more than 2,700 B Corps in 67 countries. In earning our B Corp certification, we’re thrilled to be joining the likes of Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, Seventh Generation, and King Arthur Flour on the B Corps roster — not to mention the hundreds of lesser-known companies making enormous strides to better business.

B Corp Certification evaluates more than a product or service: It also looks at a company’s impact on workers, customers, community, and environment. B Corp Certification means a company is committed to: verified performance, as assessed by the independent B Lab; legal accountability, in the form of amended legal governing documents to require the balance of profit and purpose; and public transparency.

Why was Bee's Wrap inspired to become a B Corp?

We’d already embraced many of the ethics of B Corp community: taking care of our employees, carefully evaluating the impact of our ingredients on people and the environment, and giving back locally and nationally. Going through the B Corp assessment provided a valuable tool for us to see where, as a rapidly growing company, we could do better, formalize our systems, and protect the values that have been part of Bee’s Wrap since the beginning.

We also appreciate the third-party validation that communicates what we do and why we do it. We hope that the “B” stamp on our packaging will communicate and affirm our values to our customers.

Where are we succeeding?

Our B Corp application required a deep dive into the way we do business, and the process provided us with an opportunity to celebrate our successes and identify the places where we want to grow. We learned that we’re already doing a lot of things right, including: responsibly sourcing our ingredients, using all parts of our ingredients and product, and consciously creating a product that limits waste — specifically plastic — going to landfills.

With volunteer days for our staff, and our giving through 1% for the Planet and the Bee Cause, we earned kudos for giving back and civic engagement. Our strong corporate culture provides employees with abundant training, opportunities for growth, job flexibility, and funding for professional development. We’re woman owned, and our lowest paid hourly worker is paid more than 25 percent above the local minimum wage.

What's next?

Now, in part with B Corp’s help, we look to the future. As we work on continuously improving the way we do business, we intend to incorporate a full 360-degree feedback review process for our entire team. We’re working hard to do more proactive giving, and have formed a Giving Committee to oversee our donations of products, time, and money in more ways than ever before. We’re beginning to advocate for social and environmental justice in a more public way, and have teamed up with one of our local representatives to lobby for a plastic bag ban in Vermont. We’re also working with our local utility, Green Mountain Power, to further increase the amount of power we receive from renewable resources.

All this to say, as we celebrate our B Corp certification, I’m incredibly proud of the work our team has done, and I speak for us all when I say we’re energized to continue on our path. The utopian ideals I envisioned for Bee’s Wrap in those early days are, increasingly, becoming the stuff of reality. And I can only hope that in the years to come, this way of doing business — honoring people and planet in addition to profit — will be the bar we all must meet.

Sarah Kaeck

Founder and CEO

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Letter from sarah: business can’t afford to be silent on climate change

For a long time, conventional wisdom had it that companies shouldn’t tackle hot-button political issues. That’s advice borne out of fear: the fear that, in exchange for voicing our opinions, we risk angering customers or losing sales. 

As the founder and CEO of Bee’s Wrap, I’m motivated these days by a greater fear: that, should our elected officials fail to act on the crisis of climate change, the damage we cause to our planet will be irreversible, negatively impacting our families, our communities, and our ecosystems forever.

As a Certified B Corp, Bee’s Wrap is committed to using business as a force for good. We make sustainable products that reduce single-use plastics, use environmentally friendly and safe ingredients, and are constantly looking for additional ways to reduce our carbon footprint. I am proud to run my company in a state that values these things too, but I know that together, we can do more. This year, Bee’s Wrap added its voice to the collective commitment of the Vermont business community to do better for our environment.

On Thursday, Jan. 23, Bee’s Wrap joined dozens of other Vermont businesses to advocate at the Statehouse for climate action policies in 2020. We participated in training, lobbying, and a press conference, as well as individual and group meetings with corresponding representatives.

While the Green Mountain State has a history of innovative environmental policies, the current climate challenges require audacious solutions. This legislative term, our lawmakers have the opportunity to pass more ambitious and much-needed policy. 

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. Our team joined others from companies like Seventh Generation, Ben & Jerry’s, Danforth Pewter, and Brattleboro Savings and Loan, along with environmental nonprofits VPIRG and 350VT, to speak directly to our elected officials and we urged them to take immediate action. 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 provides 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. I am proud to have led Bee’s Wrap in the participation of this direct demonstration of our core values and am excited to continue advocating for the necessary change that our state and world need.

Why biodegradability matters

Plastic is forever. Bee’s Wrap isn’t. And that’s by design.

Bee’s Wrap is naturally biodegradable and compostable. We started making Bee’s Wrap after growing deeply concerned about the persistent effect of plastics on our planet. Plastic never leaves us. It lingers in landfills for centuries. It enters our soil, our waterways, and our oceans, breaking down into tiny but ever-present pieces.

We set out to make an alternative, and we knew from the beginning that whatever we made needed to be biodegradable. That’s because we believe in considering the entire life of the products we make and consume, from their creation and manufacturing to their eventual end. Where does a product come from? How is it made? And crucially, what happens when we no longer need or use this item?

This is where biodegradability comes in: A product that is biodegradable can be easily returned to the earth. 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. 

Importantly, what you do with naturally biodegradable materials matters. Modern landfills are lined and packed tightly, creating an oxygen-poor environment where even food can take decades to decompose. One study conducted by the University of Arizona uncovered 25-year-old hotdogs, corncobs, and grapes, as well as 50-year-old newspapers that were still readable. Food waste that decomposes in landfills also generates methane gas, which has 34 times the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide, according to Project Drawdown, a coalition of researchers working on climate change solutions. 

This is why composting is so important; food waste, yard waste, and other organic material holds valuable nutrients that can be returned to the soil after decomposition. The same is true for Bee’s Wrap. When your wrap has reached the end of its useful life — typically after about a year of regular use and proper care in your kitchen — you can use your wraps as a natural fire starter, or you can add them directly to your backyard compost pile. With a little time and the right environmental conditions, your Bee’s Wrap will break down into nutritious compost that you can use in your backyard garden. 

We’ve designed Bee’s Wrap to be hardworking, a trusty companion in your kitchen and on the go as you seek out plastic-free alternatives that are good for you and the planet. As your Bee’s Wrap begins to wear out, we hope you’ll look on those signs of wear and use as a welcome reminder of the natural cycles that surround us.

The joy of inconvenience

Choosing inconvenience can be an act of quiet revolution. 

For too long, we’ve been told that convenience will cure what ails us. How convenient, to find our meals prepackaged in the freezer section of our grocery store, our bread baked and sliced and stowed in plastic bags. It’s convenient to pop a load of laundry in the dryer and to have our work at our fingertips, forever accessible on the devices we carry in our pockets. We click a button and, conveniently, that which we need — or think we need — arrives on our doorstep: underwear, paper towels, a birthday gift, a box of cereal.

We don’t talk often enough about how convenience can harm us. For the convenience of a smartphone, we trade the quiet of disconnecting. For the convenience of fast and pre-packaged food, we swallow a meal that may leave us sluggish or unsatisfied. Pre-packaged meals and one-click shopping leave us with a mountain of waste bound for the recycling can or the landfill. We’ve been promised efficiency and speed, and the freedom of time. Sometimes we receive that. Sometimes we don’t. 

The truth is, there’s joy in inconvenience. In the smell of bread baked at home, the magic of a few ingredients kneaded together and turned into sustenance. There’s joy in taking laundry out to the line, in standing in the sunlight and hanging clothes to dry. There’s joy and pride in knitting a sweater, or mending a pair of jeans. 

woman wrapping homemade bread in bee's wrap sustainable food storage

We’re not arguing for a return to the past, or for a rose-colored view of the very real work that it takes to clothe and feed and nourish ourselves in a way that’s kind to our bodies and our planet. There’s a time and a place for convenience, and there’s also luxury, and privilege, in the ability to savor inconvenience. 

Is it, occasionally, inconvenient to make a meal from scratch? To bundle a sandwich in Bee’s Wrap, or to spend a few minutes at the sink, washing dishes and reusable containers and Bee’s Wrap by hand? Yes.

Sometimes, we choose the joy of inconvenience, the quiet resistance of finding a different way of moving in the world — a path that’s lighter for the planet and more fulfilling for the individual. We choose to slow down. We choose thoughtfulness. We choose reuse. And we find, in those habits, new satisfaction.