Bakers Journal

B.C.’s Portofino Bakery achieves B Corp status

June 21, 2023
By Bakers Journal

Victoria – Vancouver Island-based artisanal bread and bun company Portofino Bakery has been certified as a B Corporation, continuing on its journey of demonstrating that business can be a force for good. Portofino is the largest bakery in British Columbia to receive this certification, joining more than 6,000 companies worldwide.

The B Corporation process is a vigorous, detailed analysis of a company’s social and environmental performance and impact on its workers, communities, and the environment. Organizations that achieve a B Corp certification must meet a minimum standard on the assessment and commit to continuous improvement in these areas.

“At Portofino Bakery our mission is to enable people to have world-class bakery products in their homes everyday,” said Matt Cimon, president, Portofino Bakery. “But our mission does not stop there. We are also committed to sustainable growth, where we make explicit decisions that do better for our communities, our employees, and the world around us.”

Portofino Bakery’s B Corp certification comes on the heels of their announcement that the company became Radicle Climate Smart certified in 2021. A process where Portofino measured its scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions and developed a detailed plan for further emissions reductions. Carbon-reducing initiatives Portofino undertook include installing a bulk flour silo system. Moving from bagged flour to bulk has saved over 60,000 flour bags from landfills and has significantly reduced transportation emissions from bagged flour.

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And by reducing the thickness of its poly bread bags, the bakery saved thousands of kilograms of plastic each year and reducing emissions from both production and disposal of single use plastics.

The bakery also partners with community groups and food banks across Canada to donate funds and fresh product, donating over 5,000 loaves of bread annually to various community groups.

“At the end of the day, we want to make sure that our products are accessible to everyone, whether it be in the grocery aisle or through one of our local food bank partners,” said Cimon, who spoke on a panel at the Baking Association of Canada’s Bakery Showcase in May.

During the session “What Does a Sustainable Bakery Business Look Like – and How Do You Get There?” alongside Michelle Reid, community engagement and activation lead for B Corp, Cimon said:

“Over the past couple years, we’ve done a number of things that you could call sustainable and ecoconscious and better for the environment. We’ve reduced our waste in our product returns, which was a massive area of focus for us, we’ve cut it by over half in the past 18 months, we’ve reduced our reliance on on poly, we’ve reduced our poly that we’re using in our packaging, we’ve started monitoring, what are things that we think are important like waste, and greenhouse emissions information that wasn’t even on our radar years ago. So there’s been some tangible stuff that we’ve done, the laundry list goes on. But I think the biggest change that we’ve done is actually how we approach it. We feel as though we’re still very much early days in this but the approach was probably the biggest change and is going to be lasting within this whole sustainability initiative at our company. We recognized that we don’t know what we don’t know. There’s a lot of information out there. You can do a lot of selfstudy. There are a lot of great resources out there. There are a lot of implications. So, similar to what we do for our food safety programs and some other initiatives, we brought in experts.”

 


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