Organic and natural online marketplace Thrive Market on Monday announced its B Corp certification, signifying the retailer’s commitment to balancing purpose and profit. Thrive Market is the first major grocer and largest non-GMO food retailer to be B Corp certified.
The certification comes largely as a result of Thrive Market’s Zero Waste fulfillment centers effort; new, curated packaging; and its commitment to organic and regenerative organic agriculture. Additionally, Thrive’s supply-chain poverty alleviation efforts were recognized as the retailer recently enacted trade terms, positive labor conditions and support for underserved suppliers to reduce poverty.
“Thrive Market is trying to build a company and an infrastructure that could last 100 years,” said co-founder and CEO Nick Green. “Being a B Corp enables mission-driven companies like ours to stay mission-driven through capital raises, changes in ownership or leadership by cementing the values and pillars we put in place.”
With a pre-assessment completed in May 2019 leading to an October 2020 verification, the milestone signals to customers, employees and the industry that Thrive Market has met the highest independent standards for social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability. By demonstrating a commitment that extends beyond shareholders, being a B Corp certified entity ensures all stakeholders — environment, suppliers and more — are considered when Thrive Market is acting as a force for good — “where people and planet are just as important as profit,” the company said.
B Corp certified corporations are verified by the nonprofit B-Lab, certifying companies based on how they create value for their employees, community and the environment and their non-shareholding stakeholders.
“Ingraining values into an essential business is imperative to a sustainable future,” said Lindsey Wilson, business development manager, B-Lab. The certification recognizes “Thrive Market’s commitment to be the leader in the grocer community,” she added, “especially as online grocers like Thrive Market have become increasingly important and valuable amid the pandemic, serving as captains and catalysts of social change. Thrive Market is the model for all grocers and is among the most environmentally responsible grocer in the United States.”
Thrive Market was founded in 2014 with a mission to make healthy living easy and affordable for everyone. As an online, membership-based marketplace, Thrive Market delivers the highest-quality, healthy and sustainable products at member-only prices, while matching every paid membership with a free one for someone in need.
The retailer carries over 5,000 organic and non-GMO products, and offers more than 70 filters and values, allowing members to shop by diet and lifestyle. Over the last four years, its charitable initiative Thrive Gives has raised over $3.6 million to fund food access and environmental sustainability causes. In March 2020, Thrive Market launched its COVID-19 Relief Fund, which to date has raised over $1 million in support of more than 30,000 families affected by the pandemic.
During an SN Off the Shelf podcast earlier this year, Jeremiah McElwee, its senior vice president of merchandising & product development, talked about Thrive Market’s clean and sustainable business model and how that carries over into its logistics as an e-commerce retailer.
“As we were growing and scaling,” he said, “we weren't just focused on how quickly can we grow, how quickly can we serve with all these members. We were also doing it as we were journeying into a zero waste environment. We either reuse, recycle or find a way to repurpose everything that comes into our warehouses. We try to put our money where our mouth is and we try to really commit to making sure we're living up to that feeling.”