Tell Us More About B Corp: A Q&A with JBM’s Senior Leadership Team
Since we announced our B Corp Certification last month, people have had a lot of questions. Why did we do it? What do we hope to achieve?
This is a new journey for us! While we have a long way to go, obtaining B Corp helped us realize the importance of setting a strategy and a plan—true impact can’t happen with one-off initiatives. Each day we learn something new, and we’re excited to share those learnings with other leaders who want to transform their businesses with purpose.
To answer some of the questions, we talked to various leaders throughout JBM to get their thoughts about B Corp. From operations to sales, human resources to marketing, we’ve included their responses below to see how B Corp is already transforming our business.
Q: What does becoming a B Corp mean to you?
Marcus Sheanshang, JBM President and CEO: We’ve been operating according to many of the B-Corp principles for several years now, but it ultimately demonstrates that our purpose isn’t merely words on a poster somewhere but is central to our business approach. From our employees to suppliers, customers to the communities in which we operate, having B Corp Certification signals to others that we mean business about making a positive impact with our company.
By engaging in this movement, we also want to strengthen our communities and environment at a macro level. Sitting alongside fellow B Corp organizations, our collective actions will ultimately help raise the bar for what is expected of businesses today.
David Warren, VP of Sales and Marketing: I’m proud to work for a company with B-Corp Certification. I see B Corp certification as an external verification of an inward state. JBM is a purpose-driven company, and it is guided by using business as a force for greater good. We have always believed in this, and gaining the B Corp certification allows for a independent third party to validate what we have always been humbly trying to live on a daily basis. It also shows our leadership—we’re one of the first paper packaging manufacturers in our space to achieve this designation, allowing us to help others along their journeys.
On a personal level, it aligns with my passion for the outdoors. By limiting plastic packaging waste and the environmental impact of our business operations, we’re starting to do our part in helping protect the earth.
Tom McDonald, Chief Operations Officer: With this Certification, we’re opening the curtains to our business operations. This level of transparency will hold our vendors, team members, and customers accountable while pushing us to improve. And that’s always a good thing.
Q: What other B Corps do JBM looks up to, and why?
David: The local B-Corp community in Cincinnati, including Ingage Partners, a long-standing B Corp, has welcomed us with open arms. We’re excited about the synergies we can achieve by working with like-minded businesses that share our values. Within the U.S., we’ve always looked at recognizable brands, like Patagonia, Toms, and Cotopaxi, to set examples of how businesses should operate.
Q: How does B Corp fit into JBM’s sustainability strategy?
Marcus: Our purpose is to create better solutions, better lives and a better world. Our commitment to sustainability is woven into each aspect of this, but primarily in creating a better world. Our experience in achieving B Corp Certification has shown us how much further we must go in our sustainability journey. But we are committed to leading with a strong sustainability strategy and investing the resources we need to execute that strategy.
Q: What do JBM team members think about the Certification?
Valerie Plis, Director of Human Capital and Culture: We recently held a company-wide celebration, and people working in our packaging production, filling, and office areas expressed their excitement about earning B Corp. We’ve received other awards, like our Top Workplace Award last year, but this has a larger meaning and connection with our core culture here at JBM. Many people on our team have kids or grandchildren, and they shared that they were happy we were doing something to make the world a better place for them.
Q: What environmental improvements has JBM made since starting the certification process?
Tom: Before we could start improving, we first needed to get a detailed picture of our current environmental impact. How much energy and water do we use? How much waste do we generate? We brought in consultants to help us identify improvement pathways and set goals. From there, we’ve continued working on setting goals and will work with our suppliers, team and customers to meet them.
Q: How does B Corp elevate JBM’s brand?
Ashley Finkes, Director of Marketing: When people see the B Corp logo, they know immediately that we are committed to environmental and social responsibility. The Certification gives us a launching pad to discuss how we do business differently, differentiating us from competitors and attracting like-minded customers and employees. This is important when you sell eco-packaging—it shows that we’re walking the talk.
Q: JBM’s B Corp Assessment notes that 64% of JBM’s management is from under-represented populations. What does that mean?
Valerie: Underrepresented populations have historically faced economic and social opportunity barriers. These groups might include women, racial and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, etc.
Diversity, equity and inclusion is a key focus for our company, as evidenced by our Fair Chance Program, which looks to provide career opportunities for people who have experienced incarceration. In addition, we continually look to promote from within, which leads to management opportunities for our Fair Chance Team members. We also have several women on our senior leadership team who contribute to this percentage.
Q: How will this help differentiate JBM in the marketplace?
Jessica Black, Director of Sales: B Corp is a movement that sets a standard for other businesses to follow. That’s one of the most exciting things about it. Increasing our transparency and commitment to social responsibility increases our trustworthiness and customer loyalty. Still, it also helps encourage other companies to consider what they’re doing. We want to help lead others by being a role model for a purpose-driven business, so this is a great first step.
As we look to grow our eco-packaging solutions, having B Corp will set us apart as it provides an easily identifiable set of metrics around our environmental commitment. Anyone can look at our score (93.1!) at any time, whether they are a vendor, customer or potential employee, and see exactly where we stand in each area of governance, workers, community, environment and customers. Only a few other companies in our market offer this level of transparency, showing our leadership.
Creating a Better World, Together
As we look ahead to our next fiscal year, we’re excited to kick off new programs and initiatives internally, alongside our supplier and partner network and within Cincinnati and the broader packaging community. Open dialogue and stronger collaboration will help us set the stage so we can align resources with other-like minded organizations both within the B Corp community and beyond. These synergies will help us reach our goals more quickly while working to create a better world for everyone.
“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.” Helen Keller