On Tuesday 3rd March, Berwick Partners was delighted to be joined by Mark Cuddigan, Chief Executive of Ella’s Kitchen, as guest host for our Consumer Leadership Dinner at our London office on Cannon Street.
The evening brought together CEOs and Managing Directors from a broad range of consumer goods businesses to discuss and debate, ”how, as leaders, do we achieve progress on sustainability and environmental issues?” At a time when this is a topic that is high on the agenda for the majority of consumer goods businesses, the evening provided an excellent forum to share experience, learnings and advice.
Mark spoke passionately about businesses being a force for good as well as what he has learned through certifying Ella’s Kitchen as a B Corporation, by heading sustainability for The Hain Celestial Group, and by being a member of the Board of Trustees at B Lab. Having been acquired by The Hain Celestial Group in 2013, Ella’s Kitchen’s journey to becoming a B Corp in 2016 was not as smooth as it originally may seem. Mark shared his valuable advice on how to get the support of your board when their priority is ultimately profit.
The benefits of B Corp
Since becoming B Corp certified and experiencing the value first-hand, Mark and his team have promoted the benefits amongst their supply base and worked collaboratively with them towards certification. Mark shared some powerful stories about how the changes that companies had made whilst working towards B Corp assessment made a significant difference to their employees, and at no extra cost to the organisation. He explained that CEOs need to be aware of the responsibility that they have beyond their own business; when companies start looking more widely at the full length of their supply chain, the whole effect has much greater power.
Mark’s insight inspired an engaging discussion and sharing of experiences on the topic of sustainability, which is only becoming more relevant for business leaders as the realisation hits that it’s for businesses and not government to lead the change.
People at the core
Whatever the certification that a business decides to sign up to, Mark explained that engaging the team at the start of the accreditation journey, explaining the reasons why and what it means for them, will be much more meaningful and impactful on the company culture. At the core of everything mentioned was people – how B Corp can change people’s lives and how a strong sense of purpose attracts talent to an organisation and drives a more engaged, loyal and empowered workforce.
We would like to thank Mark again for his time and thank all our guests for contributing to a thought-provoking conversation. Guests left feeling enthused and re-energised to pursue change and make a difference within their organisations – so watch this space.
Katie Hart is Consultant in our Consumer Practice and specialises in appointing leadership positions across technical, product development and supply chain functions.