All Market Brands, Owner of Vita Coco Announces Public Utility Company Status
All Market Brands, a leading platform of high-growth, better-for-you brands including Vita Coco, today announced its conversion to a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC), making it the one of the largest independent beverage companies to do so.
As PBC, and with a growing portfolio of natural products, All Market Brands has identified its public policy objective as harnessing, while protecting, nature’s resources for the betterment of the world and its people. by creating ethical, sustainable and better products for you. beverages and consumer products that not only uplift our communities, but are good for the planet.
This commitment is in line with AMB’s sustainable development and social impact strategy for long-term, responsible and fair growth. I caught up with Vita Coco CEO and Co-Founder Mike Kirban to learn more about this bold and commendable leap.
Afdhel Aziz: Mike, welcome. We’ve already had the pleasure of covering Vita Coco’s inspirational work in the Social Impact Space in this column, so I know how passionate you are personally about the topic. What made you decide to become a Benefit Corp?
Michael Kirban: Since we created the brand, Vita Coco has always believed in democratizing health and wellness while protecting nature’s resources. We believe we can create ethical, sustainable and better products for you for consumers while uplifting our communities and doing what’s right for our planet.
The decision to become a Public Benefit Corp (PBC) allows us to live out our purpose as a mission-driven company while delivering profitable growth for stakeholders. We are evolving our responsible business model to take into account the new “ROI” – in which the return on IMPACT is as critical as the return on investment.
Aziz: How did the board take it? What was the discussion around this topic?
Kirban: The board was generally aligned with the new PBC conversion proposal. There were of course questions about the impact of this on day-to-day business operations and how we balance profits and goals.
Ultimately, we were able to agree that leading with impact will ultimately bring a wealth of business value, such as building a closer connection with our consumers, retaining our employees, achieving corporate goals. our supply chain and of course the profitable growth of our business.
Aziz: People might not be aware of the good work you do in the local communities in the Philippines and Sri Lanka where you grow your produce – can you tell us the latest updates on what’s going on?
Kirban: We believe we can continue to empower and support the communities from which we source our ingredients! Through our Vita Coco project, which started in 2014, our goal is to have a positive impact on the lives of a million people in these communities.
Our program helps farming communities address the most pressing sustainability challenges for our coconut producers. We have focused primarily on responsible farming practices as well as on the education and economic prosperity of these localized communities.
So far we have achieved excellent results:
- We have invested in thousands of small farms;
- We have facilitated responsible farming practices for over 800 training programs;
- 30 classrooms were built and 80 four-year scholarships awarded; and
- 30,000 people in coconut farming communities have been positively impacted, including 8,000 farmers.
As a PBC, this designation will help us accelerate and scale around the world.
Aziz: How do you balance the need to help people and to help the planet?
Kirban: The support of our communities (people) and the planet is not mutually exclusive. In fact, they are interconnected and intersectional. We recognize as a business that different communities are affected differently from environmental action.
Ultimately, by educating others first, we can help accelerate the urgent need to save the planet as well. Without education, we cannot build a movement to solve the world’s most urgent need. We create a movement, not a moment.
Aziz: It’s great to see you also extending your attention to the communities where you sell the product, and not just the communities where you grow. How is it going ?
Kirban: Yes, we continue to evolve and develop beyond our farming communities. Our ambition is to create a thriving community throughout our value chain, which includes our supply chain partners, our employees and the communities in which we sell our products.
We are proud to continue our partnerships with organizations like No Kid Hungry. At the height of the American pandemic in 2020, Covid-19 only exacerbated the critical need to support community organizations fighting food insecurity. Our philosophy of democratizing access to health and well-being will always be at the heart of everything we do.
In 2021, we’re on track to deliver up to 1.5 million meals through No Kid Hungry during our fall programming.
Aziz: Finally, what advice would you give to other leaders who are considering making this transition?
Kirban: It really is a balance between purpose and profit. However, the cost of inaction today far exceeds the cost of taking action tomorrow. As business leaders, we have a duty to help redefine how business should be done and what value means to us. Shareholders, consumers and society rely on us to be a force for good in the world.