February 13, 2013
3 Long-Lasting Sustainable Companies Teach How To Both Thrive And Give Back (Jay Coen Gilbert and Katie Kerr, 2/07/13, Co.Exist)
Posted by Orrin Judd at February 13, 2013 9:19 PMAfter nearly 225 years in business, King Arthur Flour knows a thing or two about success. The company's secret: focusing on employees. Based in Norwich, Vermont, this Rockstar (and America's oldest flour company) began as a family-owned business before transitioning towards an employee-ownership model in 1996 and finally becoming 100% employee owned and thriving. The Employee Stock Ownership Plan provides each employee with a stake in the company and therefore a bigger incentive to make it a success--a fact reflected in the company's growth. Revenue and their workforce have been steadily increasing over the last 10 years, both doubling in the years since converting to 100% employee ownership. Last year, KAF had gross sales of over $97 million and an employee count of 283--a huge increase from the six employees in 1990.As an employee-owned B Corp, KAF has the freedom to emphasize values beyond profit, like environmental responsibility, community engagement, and the wellness and satisfaction of employees. More than 80% of health care premiums are paid for families and both full- and part-time employees receive a living wage. Providing employees with high-quality jobs and a great work environment also enables them to give back. With 40 hours of paid time to volunteer and company-wide service outings, KAF employees donated 1,524 hours of volunteer time in 2011. The company also donates both cash and products to local nonprofit organizations focusing on nutrition education, hunger relief, and environmental sustainability.The ability to live their values at work is the secret to King Arthur Flour's longevity and success. Thriving for more than 200 years in a competitive and often unpredictable economy is an achievement in itself. Doing so while consistently contributing to a better world is what makes King Arthur Flour a Lifetime Rockstar.