What makes a sustainability leader? Meet supply chain champions Ella's Kitchen
With the 2021 Sustainability Leaders Awards entry deadline approaching, this new feature series showcases the achievements of the 2020 winners and reveals their secrets to success. Up next: The winner of our Supply Chain Excellence award: Ella's Kitchen.
As an SME, baby food brand Ella’s Kitchen has gone above and beyond its own sphere of influence to drive progress towards a more sustainable future. It has successfully engaged key partners and suppliers with the broad aims and ethos of the B Corp movement. Certified as a B Corp since 2016, Ella’s Kitchen has been recognised by the certification as a “Changemaker” through its work using its voice to inspire others, collaborate and share learnings across the community.
Ella’s Kitchen partnered with BLab UK to develop a bespoke version of its Business Impact Assessment (BIA). B Corp’s BIA Topics cover more than 200 questions including wages, benefits, health and safety, training, sourcing, diversity and inclusion, giving back, environmental management and performance, transparency and ethics. Accessed via an online portal, the B the Change survey invited partners across the value chain to complete up to 92 questions which examined the breadth of their social and environmental impacts, which included information on Ella’s own key environmental usage to help the company improve its own measuring and reporting.
Partners who completed the survey received a bespoke report card and consultation with Ella’s senior sustainability manager who has been trained to discuss B Corp benefits and talk organisations through individual impacts and areas of improvement. As everyone within Ella’s Kitchen has a level of responsibility to deliver the firm’s sustainability strategy, people who held the key relationships with suppliers were tasked with supporting them. Face-to-face briefings, including an introduction to the B Corp movement, were implemented while Ella’s chief executive and commercial teams worked to advocate for the movement and inspire and excite suppliers about the potential of the initiative.
As for the report cards, these are reviewed together by Ella’s Kitchen and the relevant suppliers during quarterly KPI meetings, which examine the changes that can be made to improve their social and environmental impact.
The initial survey not only gathered information about the value chain impact but also encouraged the suppliers to use a robust assessment to review their performance and make improvements. It also resulted in an impressive mindset change that caused suppliers to re-energise behind social and environmental issues. According to Ella’s Kitchen, four out of five of its largest suppliers have now committed to following the organisation in achieving full B Corp status. This impressive change was delivered after an initial pilot achieved 75% compliance from Ella’s largest suppliers that measured the impact of manufacturing partners, raw material partners, logistics partners and service providers.
A B-Analytics tool that sits behind the BIA is being used to benchmark the suppliers against a database of more 65,000 organisations who have engaged with the BIA and also 3,000 certified B Corps. Supplier performances can also be benchmarked against other businesses in their sector, which provided invaluable motivation to improve. When Ella’s Kitchen applied for this award, it was in the process of analysing the data from the initial pilot to help inform progress towards its ‘Our Dream’ corporate targets and has subsequently rolled out the survey to nearly 40 partners.
Overall, it is clear that the business understands that helping partners to improve sustainability ambitions and actions will create a knock-on benefit for the organisation which will make the entire value chain more robust and resilient.
What edie’s judges said: “For an organisation of its size, Ella’s Kitchen is making a real impact. Despite being an SME, the company has taken new approaches to working with suppliers and has, as a result, changed the way they think and act on sustainability.”
Are you our next winner?
Now entering their 14th year for 2021, the RSA-accredited Sustainability Leaders Awards are a unique opportunity to shout about the achievements you and your company have made during this challenging year.
In a digital event on 3 February 2021, entrants will get the chance to celebrate virtually with leaders from across the sustainability, CSR and energy space. Some exciting new categories have been added for 2021 to recognise excellence across the spectrum of sustainable business.
The 2021 Sustainability Leaders are now OPEN for entries. The extended entry deadline is Friday 6 November 2020, so don't miss your chance to get the recognition you deserve. The Awards will then take place virtually on the night of Wednesday 3 February 2021.