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Innovation for Good: Lotus Foods and B Corp

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Innovation for Good: Lotus Foods and B Corp
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Lotus Foods

“This is a moral imperative for social and environmental reasons.”

Rice is a staple food for more than half of the people in the world.  But did you know that traditional rice production consumes more than one quarter of the planet’s renewable fresh water, subjects millions of women to difficult labor in unsanitary conditions, and contributes to global warming?

For over 25 years, Caryl Levine and Ken Lee, co-founders of Lotus Foods, have sought to mitigate those negatives and create positive change in the world of rice.

But that is only the beginning. “We’re a small company with an audacious goal. We want to change how rice is grown and, in the process, contribute to the transformation we so urgently need in the food and agriculture sector,” Levine says. “This is a moral imperative for social and environmental reasons.”

Options in purchasing rice have come a long way since there was little to find on grocery shelves beyond Uncle Ben's and Rice-A-Roni, and much of that is due to pioneers like Lee and Levine; they discover and bring to market previously unavailable varieties, as well as products derived from them.

Lotus Foods is a proud certified member of B Corp, whose website notes that the company is “a small company with a big mission.” Bottom line for the co-founders, “We are committed to delivering to consumers healthier, more sustainably grown rice products so they can participate in being part of the solution.”

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B Corp

“To succeed, we must change the rules of the game.”

B Corp is a vast non-profit network with a wildly ambitious goal: “to transform the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet.”

Their “Theory of Change” postulates that it is possible to “transform the economic system into a more inclusive, equitable, and regenerative global economy.” To that end, they identify negative impacts across societies and cultures, and propose global strategies for solutions.

From small businesses to multinational corporations, from local councils to world governments, B Corp strives to “share knowledge and resources, develop transformative initiatives, and drive economic systems change.”

Ever wondered if a company carries certification from B Corp? You can use their “Find a B Corp” search tool on their website to ensure you’re supporting businesses that meet their criteria.

In short, B Corp’s less than modest goal is to “shift the behavior, culture, and underpinnings of capitalism; to succeed, we must change the rules of the game.”

Their B Lab network aims to harness the power of business to help companies around the world balance profit with purpose. And central to their operations is insisting on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.  Their ultimate goal? “We won’t stop until allbusiness is a force for good.”

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