Bigelow Tea achieves benefit corporation status
Bigelow Tea’s pursuit of benefit corporation status has proven successful, but president Cindi Bigelow said the work is just beginning.
The Fairfield-based tea manufacture announced recently it has joined a select number of companies in the state to be certified as following a commitment of benefiting the environment and the greater good.
“I think it really was a designation that did the best job possible of letting everybody know inside and outside of the organization that this is the kind of company that we are. That our purpose is higher than just making a quality tea bag. That our purpose is making a difference every day,” said Bigelow.
Designation as a Benefit Corporation according to nonprofit B Labs highlight is a recognition of companies that benefit the public and as well as social and environmental issues that matter to surrounding communities.
Bigelow Tea touts several such initiatives, including the Bigelow Tea Community Challenge, which has raised $1.5 million to donate to charity since its inception 31 years ago.
“Being a benefit corporation means that our mission and our shareholders are not just focusing on profit; they’re focusing on the larger environment, where it’s ensuring that our mission is taking care of the environment, taking care of the citizens around us and taking care of the employees,” Bigelow said.
The company has also worked to maintain its zero-waste-to-landfill effort, which ensures that no more than 4 percent of the Bigelow Tea’s waste ends up in landfills.
Bigelow said the company is also considering increasing solar panel use. The Fairfield headquarters has roughly 900 panels on top of the facility, and the company is looking to incorporate the same efforts at its Louisville, Ky., location.
Bigelow Tea was created by Ruth Campbell Bigelow, who moved to Wilton from New York City with her husband David and created R.C. Bigelow in Norwalk in the early 1960s to sell tea under the Constant Comment brand.
Under granddaughter Cindi Bigelow, the company’s Bigelow Tea is among the best known of Connecticut’s homegrown consumer products brands.
She said certification as a B Corp is the next step for her family’s business. The designation is issued to for-profit companies that meet rigorous standards of social and environmental impact and transparency.
There are more than 2,000 companies nationwide that have obtained that certification.
“It’s not just about receiving the designation, it’s about making sure that you are doing all the right things day in and day out,” Bigelow said. “That designation should not change your actions. Those should be your actions and the designation should be supporting them.”