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Jack’s Pizza, located in Alton and Pittsfield, NH, is not just a pizza shop. Rather, describes Jack’s Director Kathleen Menegozzi, “We use the business of pizza to support our communities and workers, who, as COVID-19 has made especially clear, are frontline workers and are essential to everything we do at Jack’s.”

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Jack's participated in the B Impact Clinic to assess and improve their impact 
(Photo Credits: University of NH Center for Social Innovation)

As a whole, the restaurant industry is notorious for treating its workers poorly despite being the largest and fastest growing industry in the United States.  In 2018 alone, 13 million in cash funnels and a small village of lobbyists were sent in to persuade elected officials to continue to uphold a sub minimum wage of $2.13 for “tipped” workers that hasn’t changed since 1991.  With this stark reality in place,  fifty-two percent of all workers who are at or below the minimum wage are in the restaurant industry, yet restaurant workers make up only 15 percent of all workers in all occupations earning an hourly wage. Add questionable conditions, pervasive harassment and a lack of development/opportunity and you have a full-fledged crisis not only for restaurant workers but for owners as well.

Jack’s Pizza, however, is exploring how restaurants can better engage and support their employees through  trust, open communication and empathy. Their approach is more tangibly (and perhaps sustainably) foundationed on networks of support that were featured last fall at NH Businesses for Social Responsibility’s Just One Thing Sustainability Slam. Kayla Moody, Toni Ranaldi, and Raquel Sheridan joined Kathleen and Owner Jason Isabelle on stage to describe the host of life struggles they and other employees faced, from childcare to transportation to mental and physical health and wellness, and how external resources like licensed counselors, credit unions, and state programs/initiatives  can help employees learn how to manage these challenges. Their winning presentation proved that small businesses can build strategic community partnerships to actively help their workers overcome life’s hardships.

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Jack's employees attending an in-shop financial workshop 
(Photo Credits: Jack's Pizza)

“There’s this prevailing mentality in our society that you need to deal with personal life struggles at home and that you can’t bring them into work. Then, on the business end, employers feel that they don’t have the time to help struggling workers,” says Kathleen, “But supporting your employees doesn’t mean being the one to solve all these issues. There are professionals for that. So, it’s really just about pointing your employees in the right direction and supporting them in getting the help they need. Creating the type of environment where this is possible, however, does take thoughtful effort.”

After a turbulent start, Jack’s and Kathleen have both learned the value of taking “small steps,” adjusting their expectations along the way. Building trust and self-esteem, leaning on teachable moments and providing the space for vulnerability takes time. “We had to feel comfortable leading with vulnerability ourselves,” Kathleen says, “admitting that there are days that we struggle and make mistakes and that it’s okay. The effort and thought that it takes to create a culture like this may sound significant at first, but the cost of not supporting your workers in this way is far greater.” High turnover rates in the restaurant industry lead to higher employee costs and lower service quality, according to a national study on restaurant industry practices published in 2014.

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Jack's Student Snack Pack Program provided meals to kids when schools shut down due to COVID-19
(Photo Credits: Jack's Pizza)

“Presenting at the Slam last fall,” says Kathleen, “we really felt a sense of community with other businesses trying to make a difference in their communities and within their industries. It was fun and engaging for our team to be on stage telling our story. There was this great feeling of pride in who we are and what we stand for.”

Jack’s Pizza continues to prove that it is not just a pizza shop; their care and concern for their employees and community is as evident as ever. When schools shut down amid COVID-19 concerns, Jack’s Pizza stepped up to help provide kids meals as the Pittsfield and neighboring districts rushed to get their mobile lunch programs set up. Now, Jack’s is working on releasing a code of conduct that will set the expectation that customers treat their workers with respect and dignity or risk the possibility of being asked not to return again. Obviously, for Jack’s this ensures that their workers remain and feel safe during COVID-19, but it’s also just good business that doesn’t end there. Jack’s is also in the process of developing a resiliency training series for essential workers and leaders with renowned communication coach Leah Bonivissuto of Present Voices. Together, Leah and Kathleen intend to make these trainings available at the national level as a resource for employees and businesses alike.

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Jack's prioritizes safety for its workers and customers
(Photo Credits: Jack's Pizza)

Jack’s Pizza will continue to serve up goodness along with their delicious, locally sourced pizza and we’re looking forward to hearing more about their efforts and the innovative ways that the business of pizza can support and serve our communities!

 

To learn more about Jack’s Pizza and their transformative employee assistance program, you can contact Kathleen at kathleen@jackspizzanh.com or connect with her at this year’s Sustainability Slam, which will be creatively offered in a virtual format in November this year. To find out more and share your own Just One Thing story, visit nhbsr.org/JOT.

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Ground mount solar array in the snow
(Photo Credits for all pictures: ReVision Energy)

ReVision Energy is an employee-owned, mission-driven company that, over the past 15 years, has been building a better world through solar energy. Incorporated into the ESOP’s mission is a steadfast commitment to creating a more just society. The certified B Corp serves the greater New England area with offices in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

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Employee-Owners Dan Clapp and Eric St. Pierre show their support for renewable energy

Last fall, ReVision Energy took to the stage at NH Businesses for Social Responsibility’s Sustainability Slam to tell the audience about their new training and education program. The ReVision Energy Technical Center (RETC) provides certification and apprenticeships to those pursuing careers to become licensed electricians. Currently in its third year, the program was founded, in part, to address the shortage of skilled workers in the electrical field.

“In our work we saw a great need for Electricians,” says Astrid Blanco, ReVision’s Talent and Culture Development Specialist, “but more than that, we saw how demographically those trained professionals skewed older and closer to retirement. So, not only do we have this high demand for those in the trade right now, but that demand will only become greater as the workforce ages. In the solar field we’re vying for the same small population to hire from as advanced manufacturing and construction and it’s only going to get harder for find people. When we think about the business community and its viability down the line, we really need these skilled workers. We need them to keep businesses here and jobs here. Then, on the workforce end, we’re helping people build the careers they want and secure good, stable jobs.”

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Mel Janarelli, Master Electrician, completes some electrical work

One key component of the RETC, explains Program Director, Nathan Poland, “is the flexibility it offers participants. This flexibility makes the program possible for anyone, whether they’re juggling kids or other commitments at home.” Most apprenticeship and licensure programs organize class time after a full day’s work in the field, leaving students exhausted and in a less than ideal mentality to learn. Because RETC has a remote component, students are able to complete some classwork within a timeframe that suites their busy schedules. This flexibility has also meant that RETC has been able to continue during the pandemic. Providing an in-house program has certainly allowed ReVision Energy to shift gears and adapt to changes much quicker and easier.

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ReVision Project Manager Danny Coad celebrating another completed project

Another important aspect of the program is how it offers cross specialty training that prepares participants to begin their career wherever their interests may lie. “Of course,” says Astrid, “we would love them to continue with ReVision in the renewable energy field, but we’re thrilled for them if they want to join the Navy Yard or Lonza Biologics or any other businesses in New Hampshire. We want them to continue to advance their skills and pursue the careers that they want with this springboard that we’ve provided. We’re just excited to play a part in building a more skilled New Hampshire workforce.”

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ReVision Solar Installers Chris Pamboukes and Steve Palumbo installing a roof top system

RETC is expanding into other New England states in which ReVision Energy operates and is sure to make a positive impact in the lives of its students and their communities. Revision Energy shows that businesses really can play an integral part in building our workforce of tomorrow and investing in the long term prosperity of our communities. As an ESOP and a B Corp, ReVision Energy is especially attuned to the interconnectedness of the health of our businesses and that of our people. Most recently, their Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) initiative is exploring how to level the playing field to provide more affordable energy options for lower income communities. JEDI centers on the inclusion of women and BIPOC as well as the legislative actions that would help enable greater opportunity for community solar projects.

 

To learn more about ReVision Energy and the RETC, you can contact Astrid at ablanco@revisionenergy.com or Nathan at npoland@revisionenergy.com. You can also connect with them at our Sustainability Slam, which will be creatively offered in a virtual format in November this year. Visit nhbsr.org/JOT for more information and to submit your own Just One Thing story.

img_6385.jpgWe are all learning new ways to adapt and be flexible around the challenges of COVID-19. We were able to sit down virtually with Eric Soederberg, President and CEO of Sunrise Labs, product development firm, to gain insight into the solutions Sunrise has implemented to continue to meet client and employee needs during these unprecedented times. We hope that you may be able to use some of the tools, approaches and insights Eric shares to help strengthen the resiliency of your own organization.

 

Can you paint a broad picture of the challenges COVID-19 has presented for Sunrise Labs and your response?

I felt it was important to take early action - ahead of any government guidance - and asked everyone that could work from home to do so, over a month ago. Thanks, in part, to the many tools Sunrise has invested in through the years for communication and collaboration, we are able to work quite efficiently from remote locations. 

Many of our clients have been deemed essential businesses given the important work they do in providing lifesaving medical devices. We're proud we've been able to continue progress on their important programs with negligible, if any impact to date.  Our team is now 90%+ working remote and continuing to collaborate with clients. This has also afforded the few team members that do need to be in our facility for access to equipment, etc. the ability to stay fairly isolated with so few of them in our facility. 

 

tony_2020.jpgAre there certain tools or project management efforts you might be able to share that could be helpful to other NHBSR members?

Each department holds frequent video conference calls with their teams, using Google Meet (was Hangout Meet), which solved the need for face to face interaction. We are now using Slack, a tool we routinely use for team communication with clients, as another way for Sunrise team members to keep in touch. We've set up two new channels in Slack. The first is ‘The Water-Cooler, which is where employees can post anything non-business related, like images of their 'coworker pets' or what they did over the weekend with the kids. It’s important for us to still feel connected to each other. The second channel is for business related topics. Then, I send out a “Sunrise Update” twice a week on how the company is doing and thanking people for their amazing efforts.  I meet with my leadership team 3 mornings a week via Meet to check in on how their teams are doing. We still hold our regular monthly company meetings, now instead of having 5% of the company on Meet, we have 100% on Meet. 

Medical device development is a highly regulated industry, and project documentation continues to be a key component of our quality management system. We have been using a robust set of cloud based project management tools for years, including Huddle and JIRA.  This made moving to remote work much easier than it otherwise might have been.  

 

nick_with_baby_sylvi_maria.jpgHow is Sunrise Labs addressing the Health and Wellbeing of employees during this difficult time?

We are also responding to the unique health and wellbeing challenges that Covid-19 presents.  Many of our families are struggling with the stay-at-home situation.  This is not unique to Sunrise.  Kids are home from school and back from college, daycare facilities are either shut down or not deemed safe, grandparents that may have helped with child care have to stay isolated, spouses and older children are furloughed or lost their jobs, and the list goes on.  Sunrise is being very flexible on when work can be done and on providing leave options where necessary that preserve benefits and provide a pay check, though not always full-pay.  To help deal with the stress we offered a conference and a webinar that present tools, practices, and tips to maintain our mental health throughout this crisis and beyond.

Some of our regular health/wellness initiatives have also continued, although the onsite yoga has moved to Meet, and chair massages have been on hold. We have kept our after-hours meditation group going virtually as well as our bi-weekly 'lunch & learn' nutrition class.  The Green Team's first newsletter went out recently to educate and encourage people to continue composting and instructions on how to build a simple 'keyhole' garden.

From a marketing standpoint, all the events that we were planning on have either gone virtual or were postponed to September. September is going to be a very busy month!  Instead of speaking engagements, we've been doing podcasts and webinars to share thought leadership with our audience.

 

Thank you, Eric, for taking the time to talk about some of Sunrise Lab’s efforts and initiatives. We are looking forward to getting to the other end of this and are so appreciative of how members like you are so willing to share your experiences and knowledge!

Photo Credits: Sunrise Labs

Picture 1: Eric Soederberg, President and CEO of Sunrise Labs

Picture 2: Tony, Work From Home Mascot, on Slack

Picture 3: Nick Lesniewski-Laas, Director of Electrical Engineering of Sunrise Labs, on Zoom with his newborn daughter Sylvi Maria

By: Lisa Drake, Director of Sustainability Innovation at Stonyfield and NHBSR Board Co-chair

0_0.pngNHBSR’s Advocacy Committee is ramping up our efforts in 2020 and we invite all businesses to join us.

Starting in 2017, our committee first took on the issue of clean energy. Partnering up with non-profit partners engaged in this topic, including CERES, Clean Energy NH, the Nature Conservancy and others – we supported our members in finding opportunities to share their clean energy stories and be a business voice in support of clean energy. Most notably, we authored the NH Clean Energy Principles that now has over 120 businesses as signatories and has been shared with legislators, the Governor and others to show business support for clean energy policy in New Hampshire. If your business hasn’t yet become a signatory, you can do so here.

More recently, we’ve been exploring other issues which impact businesses, our workforce and the well-being of our state and its residents. Rising to the top is the critical housing shortage. With availability and affordability challenges, housing issues can impact businesses’ ability to hire and people’s access to good paying jobs, childcare, healthcare and more. As communities often struggle with how to balance housing needs with development, land use and zoning issues, the business perspective can help broaden the conversation. More to come on this topic.

Additionally, the climate crisis is bringing new issues into the State House such as how to set our state on a path toward climate neutrality and how agriculture can be part of the solution to climate change.

We hope you and your businesses are interested in getting informed and engaged in these topics. Our committee will be regular contributors to the NHBSR newsletter with educational information and ways to get involved, so stay tuned!

By: Colleen Vien, Sustainability Director of Timberland and NHBSR Board Member

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Did you know that voter turnout in the U.S. is one of the lowest in the developed world?  Shocking!!!  Voting is the lifeblood of a democracy. It’s a hard-won right, a weighty responsibility and an incredible privilege that too often goes unclaimed in America. The more people who feel empowered to use their voice, the stronger this country will be.  One of the most common reasons people give for not voting is that they’re too busy with the demands of work and life.   Workers shouldn’t have to choose between earning a paycheck and voting. 

  • To address this barrier and increase voter participation, a diverse coalition of companies came together in the summer of 2018 to launch Time to Vote.  Timberland was one of those companies.  The companies signing on made a commitment to ensure their employees had a work schedule that allowed them time to vote in that year's midterm elections.  In 2018, more than half of U.S. eligible voters cast a ballot, the highest turnout rate for a midterm election in four decades, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  Today, we are reigniting the efforts of Time to Vote, building on our past results and working to engage even more employers in the lead-up to the 2020 elections.

Time to Vote is a nonpartisan effort that demonstrates the power of what the business community can achieve when it works to address one of the most significant issues of our time. Together, we can have an even greater impact.

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Time to Vote Charter Statement:

Time to Vote is a business-led initiative that ensures employees across America don't have to choose between voting and earning a paycheck. It is:

  • Not consumer facing (this is a business-to-business initiative)
  • Nonpartisan 
  • Unaffiliated with any one specific NGO or other independent party
  • Non-prescriptive (no “one approach fits all”)
  • Not policy driven, but meant to shift the culture
  • Business-led
  • Non-issue specific

The only commitment asked is for CEO’s to commit that they will make the time for employees to vote – how you do that is up to your organization.  This can include providing voting information to employees; access to early voting or vote-by-mail options; declaring voting days as “no-meetings days”; and/or offering paid time off on Election Day – from a full day to a few hours, or a flex day.  There is no “one approach fits all” here.  We recognize that employers have their own restrictions and company guidelines that may dictate how they implement Time to Vote. Participants have the flexibility to implement the initiative as they best see fit for their employees – the key is making the time for employees, communicating it broadly, and encouraging them to take the Time to Vote!  

Time to Vote is for companies that want to contribute to the culture shift needed to increase voter participation in our country’s elections.   I call on all NHBSR member companies to consider joining this important movement.  Currently there are 400+ companies that have signed on to this commitment.  Our goal is to have more than 1,000 companies commit to Time to Vote. To learn more and sign up, visit www.maketimetovote.org.

You can also join the Time to Vote Webinar on February 6 to learn more and find out how to get involved.

Innovative students and community members are front and center at University of New Hampshire's Social Venture Innovation Challenge (SVIC), which asks participants to imagine creative new business solutions to our most pressing environmental and social challenges. Since 2013, the SVIC has equipped UNH students and community members alike with a wealth of knowledge, resources and mentorship to make their business ideas a reality.

NHBSR supports these emerging leaders by providing a one year membership allowing them to connect with our programming and you!

 

Please welcome 2019’s SVIC Winners to the NHBSR network...

-click pictures to play linked videos-

 

Community Track   Student Track    

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First Place: V’ice Haiti empowers Haitians to make and sell affordable vitaminized products as self-employed micro-franchisees. This model addresses two critical social issues in Haiti: unemployment and vitamin deficiency. V’ice, in its first year, has provided over 80,000 vitamin enriched V’ice shaved ice cones. Furthermore, the social venture has employed 10 manufacturing employees, 3 micro-franchisee managers and 2 micro-franchisees. V’ice is now looking to scale up to 40 hubs throughout Haiti, which is estimated to provide jobs to over 50 Haitian youth and mothers.

 

“It is crucial that we continue to build, grow and foster a community of people who are all working towards a greater cause! So much of our ability to help and empower others comes from having a strong support group of socially minded businesses and organizations. We are leading the change that we want to see in the world, and the best ideas always come from the synergy of many people's creativity coming together!” – Haley Burns, Social Ventures Investment Administrator, V’ice Haiti at Social Ventures Foundation

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First Place: Kikori is an easy-to-use app that helps educators improve their students' social, emotional and academic outcomes. The app offers teachers an experiential activity platform that is aligned with curriculum, training and impact measurement tools. With Kikori as a tool at their fingertips, teachers can transform their classrooms to help ensure student succeed across the board.

 

“Within every asset of Kikori, we believe that we are stronger together.  As this is the approach we live by, we can only dream of what types of opportunities there are if we are able to connect with a network of New Hampshire socially minded businesses and organizations through NHBSR.”Kendra Bostick and Bryn Lottig, Co-Founders, Kikori

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Second Place: Community Toy Chest offers toy rental membership, community play spaces and enriching STEAM activities. This alternative model to traditional toy consumption decreases resource use and landfill waste, while creating kid-friendly spaces for families to connect in and enjoy. Community Toy Chest ultimately encourages the growth of ecologically-minded children who recognize the importance of sharing and caring for the earth.

 

“We are excited to join NHBSR so we can learn what other New Hampshire businesses are doing in the area of sustainability, as well as share our own knowledge.  We are excited to be part of a motivated and like-minded group with similar sustainability goals.” – Jessica Forrest and Hannah MacBride, Co-Founders, Community Toy Chest

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Second Place: Ambrosia Fabrics is developing nontoxic performance fabric made from some of the most sustainable fibers on the planet: hemp and bamboo. These fibers both come from carbon-absorbing plants that do not need chemically-intensive treatments to be suitable for upholstery. Use of these natural materials helps combat poor indoor air quality in homes and uses less resources with significantly lower carbon emmissions than traditional textile production.

 

“I look forward to joining NHBSR and connecting with like-minded individuals and businesses who are focused on sustainability and improving the environment we live in; I look forward to connecting and helping out in any way I can!"Chris Hollis, Founder, Ambrosia Fabrics

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Third Place: Wildcats Willing addresses food security in New Hampshire. This social venture was designed with UNH Dining to repurpose edible and unused food. Currently, food unused from UNH Dining is composted. Wildcats Willing, however, would be able to safely deliver this food to a local non-profit organization that serves the hungry. By implementing Wildcats Unwilling, this local nonprofit could serve an estimated 400 extra meals a day. Moreover, Wildcats Willing would provide a successful food system model for all types of institutions that serve high quantities of food throughout the day.

 

“NHBSR provides us the opportunity to expand our own interests concerning social change via business models and initiatives. We hope to find connections and potentially collaborate on our existing idea or work with organizations on new projects and ideas. A community of socially minded businesses and organizations will support our goals and ambitions of implementing Wildcats Willing. Connecting with the network at NHBSR will hopefully provide the both of us with professional connections to work with for years to come.”John DeAngelis and Brennan Williams, Co-Founders, Wildcats Willing: A UNH Food Re-Purposing Initiative

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Third Place: New Hampshire Toy Library Network increases equity, decreases waste, fosters fun and provides opportunities for recent graduates within the state. The spark for this social venture came from UNH students noticing the steep costs of adapted toys for children and how even conventional toys could be cost prohibitive. Student-run NH Toy Libraries would provide greater access to toys and helpful services to both libraries and families, while giving college students a chance to network in the Granite State by running and managing the Toy Libraries.

 

It would be amazing to learn from NHBSR members and see so much of the inspiring work people in the Granite State are doing. We are honored to have been given this opportunity.” – Marisa Rafal, Founder, New Hampshire Toy Library Network

 

 

 

 

FEATURING:  Anne Richardson, Principal + Media Director at Richardson Media Group

(Photo Credits: Raya on Assignment)

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Richardson Media Group is a strategic media planning and buying agency with expertise in content development, lead fulfillment, and search engine optimization (SEO). Based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the agency works with a wide variety of clients, particularly those in the education, technology, and professional services sectors. 

 Anne Richardson founded Richardson Media Group in 2014 after planning and buying media at full-service advertising agencies from Portland, Maine, to Boston, Massachusetts. Over the past five years, her firm has expanded its list of service offerings and added to its marketing staff to match the growing needs of a diverse client roster. 

Today, Anne is joined at Richardson Media Group by three colleagues. Erica Holthausen oversees business operations along with content development, lead fulfillment, and SEO. Brenda Brooks deftly handles project management and Marco Mottola serves as the agency’s digital media buying specialist.

Together, the team has a proven track record of developing, executing, and optimizing multi-layered paid media campaigns that are shaped by client goals, informed by user engagement, and driven by campaign data and website analytics. Client objectives are met with targeted lead fulfillment, smart content development, and robust SEO. 

And they don’t do it alone.

Richardson Media Group is by nature a collaborative agency. “We’re energized by and benefit from partnering with creative agencies, including graphic designers, branding companies and web developers,” says Anne. “Managing an effective advertising campaign requires strong communication skills and reciprocal sharing of ideas. The very best projects allow us to create long-lasting partnerships with others in our industry.”

Anne sees NHBSR as fitting right into her agency’s values and is excited to connect with other companies committed to raising their consciousness around social responsibility and sustainability. “As a small firm, we are aware of the little things we can do on a daily basis to be more socially responsible,” says Anne. “It’s one of the reasons we choose to operate within a community, like Portsmouth, one that is walkable, near the ocean and offers an easy commute. It’s also why we have sought to house our business in historic buildings that have been adapted for reuse.”

Anne recognizes that there will always be more work to do and hopes to share her personal journey towards sustainability and social responsibility with NHBSR in a future blog post. 

Stay tuned!

Learn more about Richardson Media Group at www.richardsonmediagroup.com. You can also email Anne at anne@richardsonmediagroup.com or call (603) 373-8866.

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(Photo Credits: Stacy Milbouer)

By: Tom Long, Fiddlehead Magazine Contributing Editor

Our commitment to buy local doesn’t have to end at the farm stand or farmers’ market, there are other options like Hannaford Supermarkets. The grocery chain provides produce and other products from more than 800 local farms and companies, including White Mountain Kettle Corn in Henniker, Moonlight Meadery in Londonderry, Broadview Farm in Sanbornton, Brookdale Farm in Hollis, Contoocook Creamery and North Country Smokehouse in Claremont.

“I think it’s fabulous,” said Lisa Guidi of Nashua, who recently picked up some locally grown onions and corn at the Hannaford in Hudson. “It’s one-stop shopping. It means I don’t have to make a second trip to a farm stand, but I’m still getting locally grown vegetables.”

The supermarket chain is committed to buying local.

“Hannaford places a high priority on carrying locally made and locally grown products in all of our stores, because we know that it’s important to our customers, and it’s good for our communities,” said Hannaford spokesperson Ericka Dodge. “Giving customers the opportunity to buy a variety of local products in our stores helps to preserve local farmland, local traditions and local jobs. We’re aware of the positive impact that we can have on local businesses and we celebrate the opportunity to share in their success,”

In fact, each year Hannaford adds more locally sourced food and other items. Her remark echoes those on the company’s website: “We love local, and we know you do, too. Our local farmers and producers make life better for our communities and help preserve thousands of acres of farmland.” Each Hannaford store handpicks local items from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and New York. They also encourage customers to talk to the store manager if they have a favorite local product they’d like to see in the store.

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It should not be a surprise. The company was founded in 1883 by Arthur Hannaford, who sold fresh produce from a cart in Portland, Maine. The chain now has more than 180 stores, but it has not forgotten its local roots.

“Hannaford has been doing local since 1883 when it started, and we continue our strong focus on our local communities, businesses, and schools today,” Dodge said. “Throughout the Northeast, Hannaford works with over 900 local producers and growers representing over 7,000 varieties. That’s equivalent to 4 percent of our overall sales. In New Hampshire, that is 118 local farmers and producers, with just under 900 products.”

The supermarket is also a good neighbor in a number of other ways. One hundred percent of its seafood comes from sustainable sources; 78 percent of the chain’s waste is recycled; and its store brand coffee is certified fair trade. The company has donated more than 23 million pounds of food to the New Hampshire Food Bank and other hunger-relief organizations.

Hannaford has donated thousands of dollars to local groups, including $40,000 to the New Hampshire Farm Bureau (NHFB) Young Farmers Committee Harvest for All program and $30,000 to the Organization for Refugee and Immigrant Success (ORIS). That donation will help ORIS expand the production and distribution of food from its farm in Dunbarton to low-income families and allow 15 low-income young people from Manchester and Concord to learn about farming.

“ORIS epitomizes the ways in which food brings people and communities together — and we are so fortunate to have them as a part of our community,” said John Fifield, director of operations for Hannaford. “Their commitment for getting more locally grown produce onto the dinner table is a value that Hannaford shares. And because of that, we are proud to support the farmers and staff at ORIS.”

“We are all linked by a shared concern for our earth and a desire to care for the diverse bounty it provides,” according to the Hannaford website.

That works for Guidi, who said the more her local Hannaford offers local produce the more she’ll buy.

 

Originally published in Fiddlehead Magazine.

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(Photo Credits: Raya Al-Hashmi)

By: Anne Richardson, Principal + Media Director at Richardson Media Group

Richardson Media Group has embarked upon a journey to become a more sustainable, socially responsible business. We recently joined New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility. Our team has regular conversations about how to apply what we are learning about social responsibility to our professional services business. Now that we are shining a brighter light onto our collective purpose, we realize that our sustainability story began years ago.  

As a strategic media planning and buying agency, we deliver targeted media campaigns, smart content, and SEO services to clients across a wide range of industries. Like many small businesses, we couldn’t afford to be too restrictive when we were starting. We always sought customers and partners who mirrored our values-based approach and modeled social responsibility. However, it wasn’t a deal-breaker if they didn’t adhere to those tenants. A few years ago, we began to see our selection criteria becoming more defined.

The loss of a dear friend leads to a new symbol and meaningful action.

In October 2017, three years after launching Richardson Media Group, my closest childhood friend lost her battle with a rare and aggressive form of cancer. She had been someone I relied on during the most pivotal moments in my life. Over 35 years of friendship, we navigated the ups and downs of marriage and motherhood, built our careers, and shared our dreams.

A few weeks before she passed, my friend challenged me to pick a symbol that would remind me of her when she was gone. I remembered when we were kids we used to laugh about how little we knew about the birds and bees. So, for me, the answer was easy. Our symbol would be the bee.

Since then, I can’t tell you how much more aware I am of bees and their environmental impact. I seek out all types of bee images and enjoy exploring a newfound interest in beekeeping. But the greatest surprise is how much I’ve learned from the bees and how directly my interest in bees ties into our desire to build a sustainable and socially responsible business. 

A bee colony is an aspirational model for our business.

Within a hive, bees hold a myriad of roles and carry out a range of tasks to keep the nest safe, sound, and well-provisioned to ensure the future of new offspring colonies. Scientists have discovered that worker bees of all ages can perform any of these tasks, from scouting for new forage sources to protecting the hive from invaders. Productivity mainly depends on the amount of nutritional sustenance available to the colony. Communication takes the form of dancing, especially when it comes to foraging operations. Bees swarm when their nest gets too dense to support more than one queen. Swarming is a natural progression that allows the hive to stay healthy.

Looking at the bee colony as an organizational and functional model, we can easily detect a metaphor for healthy and productive human societies, including businesses. 

To use the advertising industry as an example, agencies like ours rely on the work of coordinated teams performing tasks in tandem with one another every day. Successful projects result when individuals on these teams complete their assignments according to agency expectations and preset protocol. Fortunately, inter-agency communication doesn’t have to happen through interpretive dance. Rest assured, however, that there’s no shortage of creative expression around the office. Finally, as is true of the bees, we won’t hesitate to move to a new space in order to meet the needs of our team.

Implementing the lessons we've learned from the bees.

Our team continues to grow, and our business continues to mature. Today, we regularly meet to share ideas about how we can become more sustainable and socially responsible — both as a business and in our personal lives. We’ve brought bee symbolism into the office to remind us of our goals. We’ve redoubled our efforts to become more sustainable and socially responsible while partnering with clients and creative agencies that also embrace a socially-responsible business model. We especially enjoy working with independent schools, colleges, and universities and feel gratified when we learn how they, too, are on the path to sustainability.  

Long-term change is hard, and adapting a socially-responsible business model designed for large companies to our smaller agency can be overwhelming. But if we acknowledge that even small steps have a significant impact in the aggregate, the effort we are putting into this initiative becomes more manageable and fulfilling. 

Donating to bee conservation organizations, reducing waste, recycling, and printing on both sides of the paper sometimes feel like small, inconsequential actions. But taken together with the efforts of like-minded businesses, these simple steps make a tangible difference

As we continue our journey, my team and I will map out our progress as we pivot towards sustainability. We’ll share stories about what we learn on social media and our blog. We hope this conversation will give us the opportunity to forge new agency partnerships and work with more clients who share our conscientious view of the world. We’re also determined to do our part to use our voice to impact how the marketing industry communicates about critical environmental issues.  

What started with love for a dear friend has expanded into a deep respect for one of nature’s most beautiful organisms. In turn, it has opened the door to changing how we do business, hopefully leading all of us towards a more sustainable future.


Throughout the year New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility collects "Just One Thing" stories of sustainability initiatives from across the state, in the areas of community, environment and workplace. These leading efforts are then showcased as part of NHBSR's Sustainability Slam in the fall. Last year MegaFood won NHBSR's 2018 Sustainability Slam for its innovative workplace initiatives.


MegaFood is a wholefood supplement company that was founded in New Hampshire in 1973. MegaFood's motto of Nutrition with Ambition™ is especially apt for a company that leads with world changing models, creating healthy wholefood supplements through processes that regenerate both the land and our local communities. As a certified B Corp, MegaFood is considered a world leader in sustainable business practices. Moreover, the company strives to amplify their positive impact year after year.1922283611.jpg

B Corp certification is granted to companies that uphold the highest standards for social and environmental impact and accountability and was always a very natural fit for MegaFood. As part of the process of completing the B Corp Business Impact Assessment, MegaFood evaluated its employee payment structure through a living wage lens. Calculated based on geography, living wage is a standard metric published each year by research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It incorporates the cost of living in an area with the wage an employee would need to make to cover basic needs. MegaFood's Just One Thing story at NHBSR's Sustainability Slam last fall shared how the company raised wages for employees to ensure all were making a good living wage.

Through reviewing its employee compensation structure, MegaFood initially discovered that, compared to other similarly sized manufacturers, they ranked highly in the percentage of employees paid a single living wage. But the wholefood supplement manufacturer didn't stop there. Wanting to do even better for their employees, MegaFood made a commitment to pay all of its employees an even better living wage, a model they continue to evaluate and strive to improve. Just recently, the wholefood supplement manufacturer committed to paying all employees at least 25% above the single living wage to a thriving wage.

Such a sweeping, company-wide effort might sound daunting and complicated, but Ashley LaRochelle, MegaFood’s Director of Vision Activation, says, “Our amazing People team crunched the numbers, explained the shared value, and made final recommendations to our Executive team. We were able to implement changes within a year! The jump to living wage and then to thriving wage was only a bit of a challenge the first year. After that, these people processes for assessing employee compensation and making sure it continues to be the best that we can do each year just became standard.” 

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The impact on the lives of employees was immense. MegaFood employees themselves proudly took to the stage at NHBSR's Sustainability Slam, and spoke about not only being better able to afford things like childcare, continued education, healthcare, and home ownership, but also be able to build up a savings and for retirement. Paying employees well is characteristic of MegaFood's broader compensation package, which includes 12 weeks of primary and 6 weeks of secondary caregiver leave, paid medical family leave, extensive healthcare coverage, and paid volunteer hours. Raising wages for employees had the indirect benefit of helping MegaFood with recruitment and retention in a highly competitive manufacturing field, a win-win all around that shows just how much a company thrives when its people do.

Connect with Ashley and learn more about MegaFood at the NHBSR Sustainability Slam on November 7, 2019. You can register now at nhbsr.org/JOT.

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Watch Megafood's winning Just One Thing story video here.

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Register for the Sustainabilty Slam here.

Photo Credits: John Benford Photography

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