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Insightful Interview with Manon: Exploring Winclove Probiotics’ Inspiring Journey

Interview with Manon Bezemer, Head of Purpose & Impact and B Keeper at Winclove Probiotics

As ‘B Keeper’, Manon is mainly the driving force behind Winclove Probiotics’ B Corp certification and leads many internal sustainability projects. Although social engagement is in the DNA of every ‘Winclover’, the subject of ‘B Corp’ tops Manon’s calendar every day.

Tell us, what does a B Keeper do?

Winclove Probiotics employees cheering the BCorp status.

Manon: “As a B Keeper, you oversee B Corp certification and ensure it remains a focal point within the organisation. While not mandatory for B Corps, B Lab (the non-profit organisation that awards B Corp certification) recommends appointing one. This individual serves as a point of contact for colleagues regarding B Corp, and initiates engaging projects to maintain awareness. The goal is to involve the entire company actively in the process, so it’s best to appoint a colleague familiar with all departments. Given my involvement in the certification and B Impact Assessment (BIA), it was a natural fit for me to become the B Keeper.”

Project leader during BIA (B Impact Assessment)

Manon is sometimes asked whether it would not be more convenient to outsource the certification procedure to an external agency. “It’s a good idea when it’s hard to assign internal responsibility. Leading the completion of the B Impact Assessment (BIA) myself, alongside colleagues, was incredibly valuable. Conducting the BIA in 2020 allowed us to scrutinize our company’s performance and identify areas for improvement. This was perhaps the most beneficial aspect, as certification wasn’t our primary goal. While it took longer, we tackled it collaboratively. Additionally, outsourcing doesn’t save much time, as agencies still require input and information from the company.”

Impact report

Based on the BIA, Winclove Probiotics formed a so-called ‘impact strategy’ with objectives and projects that contribute to a better world.
Manon: “As B Keeper I keep an eye on our progress and impact post-certification – but achieving certification marks just the beginning. For us, it was a starting point that prompted us to think, ‘What are we going to do the next three years?’, so that when the recertification comes, we can show improvement and growth. In 2022, we developed our inaugural internal impact report, followed by an external version in 2023. Moving forward, we aim to produce this report annually to maintain transparency about our successes, challenges, and areas for improvement.”

Read impact report

B Keeper maintains connection

Now that several projects have been completed since the official certification in March 2021, it is time for the recertification. This means going through the BIA all over again and filling in approximately 300 questions. Manon: “You really need all the employees in a company to ‘be and stay a B Corp’. Certification isn’t sustainable if it relies solely on me, but fortunately it’s well-integrated into our company culture. I often facilitate connection between colleagues in internal projects, because I get input from all sides. For instance, if a colleague suggests a sustainable initiative like using eco-friendly notebooks, I connect them with Corporate Communication to align with ongoing projects like the brand book. The easier it is for employees to find me as B Keeper, the better it is to make the connection and the more the subject lives on in our organisation.”

Introducing B Corp during onboarding

At Winclove, the B Corp concept is put forward as early as the onboarding procedure. In this way, new employees learn what it entails and also what it means for their work.
Manon: “In my role as B Keeper, I have a Purpose & Impact onboarding. It includes a B Corp introduction with all new employees in which I explain what the certification entails, why Winclove Probiotics has become a B Corp and why it is so important for us. This information also inspires our colleagues to talk to others about B Corp and sustainability.”

Projects for the future

To contribute to a future-proof planet, the company transitioned to green electricity, more sustainable packaging and encourages staff to commute via public transport or on foot. In January 2024 we relocated to a new sustainable facility which includes solar panels.
Manon: “During and after the certification process, we initiated all kinds of projects that help contribute to a healthy planet, based on the B Corp ethos. Some projects are completed quickly, while others take more commitment. Moving forward, we will continually monitor where we stand and identify areas for further progress and improvement.”

Balancing incremental changes with bold initiatives

“For the recertification, it is nice that these projects also give us extra impact points, but for us the B Corp certification is mainly a compliment on the way we have been working for years,” says Manon. “To provide context, we currently have around 180 areas for improvement, spanning from small to large initiatives. It’s crucial for us to strike a balance between addressing quick wins for points and undertaking ambitious projects, like reducing our carbon footprint.”
In order to involve everyone at the company, Manon asked colleagues to indicate which 10 projects they considered to be the most important. “We then voted on which of those 10 projects we had to work on in the short term. You simply can’t do everything at once if you want to do it right and really add value to the world.”

Want to learn more about B Corp?

As a B Keeper, Manon enjoys talking with other companies about B Corp and sustainability. “Companies exploring B Corp certification often ask me a range of questions, from general inquiries about the process to specifics like time commitment and team involvement. I’m passionate to share our experience and inspire others. And of course, we also love to hear what projects other companies are running in the area of sustainability. That is also a source of inspiration for us.”

Want to know more? Contact Manon by email at m.bezemer@winclove.nl or by phone at +31 20 435 02 35.