Maarten Pekelharing,
General Director Winclove Probiotics on B Corp-certificering

B Corp certificering

It all started three years ago with an inspiring talk with one of our B Corp certified business partners, Invivo Clinical. Our actions and desires to make a positive impact on our planet seemed to align well with the B Corp concept. To make a long story short: the ingredients for a B Corp certificate turned out to be abundantly present in our DNA already, and initially we were mainly curious as to whether this was enough to call ourselves a ‘B Corp’. That we then received the certificate at once was a complete surprise.

Maarten: “I am very happy with our B Corp certification! It may sound a bit crazy, but I’m also happy about how little time ,roughly a year, and energy that it cost to secure the certification. The intensity of the whole process makes it clear that good intentions don’t take you far enough, but that a company has to really adapt its behavior from its very foundations. We thought we were already doing quite a lot of things well, but from this process we’ve discovered that things can still go a lot better. And in the coming years we’re going to keep working on it. So I really see our certification as a starting point, and not at all as an end.”

Why we wanted to become a B Corp

In October of 2019, Winclove Probiotics began the B Corp certification process.

Maarten pekelharing, General Director Winclove Probiotics

Maarten: “Getting certified gives us clarity on where exactly we stand and where we want to go. It allows insight into the exact impact of your strategic choices. As a company we don’t want to be good just for our own people; we want to make an impact on the world around us and add value to it. I believe that the current generation is responsible for the making and the reaching of a greener, bluer world and living environment. And to achieve that, responsibility lies by companies as well. Since Winclove Probiotics was founded, the helping of people, of society, and of the world has marked our DNA. And because we make a socially relevant product, we also feel that we have a greater responsibility.”

Achieving the B Corp certification fits the spirit of the times. “I believe that consumers, end users, and society are more often forming an opinion on the ethics and the purposes of products. How can we as an industry take our ultimate responsibility in this? It’s very easy; after all, there are enough companies making tens of billions in profits. If these companies don’t just think in terms of profit, but they take their responsibility, then the world can start to look very different. It’s also B Corp’s strength that they don’t exclude any companies at all, so everyone can participate. For some sectors or organizations rather than for others it’s easier to act purposefully and to change something, but in any sector there are worthy steps to take. B Corp sees that like nobody else. We at Winclove Probiotics are making our contribution in this, and with our behavior we hope to inspire our own stakeholders so that ultimately we create an economic system where we all think about the world around us.”

Sustainability in Winclove Probiotics’ DNA

By nature Winclove Probiotics pursues a strong socially oriented policy aimed at helping people. Not only in making probiotic formulations, but also in behavior. Ensuring internal diversity, establishing social initiatives in North Amsterdam, investing in foreign projects where help is needed, and striving to minimize ecological footprint: To Winclove Probiotics these were already very important. All the B Corp ingredients already marked the company’s DNA.

Maarten: “Getting the B Corp certification in itself wasn’t a goal for us, but it is a means in our larger SLO (Social License to Operate) strategy. Another example of a good element in that strategy is our Great Place to Work certification, with its focus on our people. That’s a pre-condition for B Corp: If you don’t take good care of your own, you can’t take good care of others. B Corp looks at the people, but also at the environment. Our goal is together to improve the quality of life and to be socially engaged. This is the goal that the founders of Winclove Probiotics already had, and we are responsible for carrying on with it and doing even more. That’s why we’ve also amended our articles of association. For all the strategic choices we make, we have to seriously consider the society, the people, and the world.”

B Corp in our family company

For our family company the certification is a compliment on the dependability of our performance. Furthermore the certification marks the starting point in our mission to become the best company for the world.

Maarten: ‘B Corp gives your company a compass, the co-ordinates for how to perform and navigate in the purpose economy. This well suits family companies because we are responsible for the people who work at our company now, but also for those who’ll work here later. Through our B Corp certification and our SLO strategy, the ‘world’ has become one of our stakeholders, and we always have to take it into account. We want to make positive impact and add value. And to do that, we need our company to be financially independent and commercially healthy. But that is not the goal. The value of our company, ultimately, should be determined by the extent of the impact that we as an organization make, and not by the amount of profit. Reinforced with our B Corp certification and the SLO strategy, we want to engage our stakeholders and partners in dialogue about how we together can increase that impact.”