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Our B Corps have a Plan B: 3 concrete examples

In spring 2023, we at B Lab Switzerland launched our first national campaign to raise awareness about the B Corp Movement in Switzerland. The objective was to demonstrate that swiss B Corps have a #PlanB for the people and the planet. This means finding a way to do business not only to maximize profits, but to have a positive impact on the environment and our society, and to contribute to creating a more sustainable world. But a plan is only a plan. The most important thing is to put it into action. Our over 100 Swiss B Corps have developed concrete best practices that they apply in their everyday work to put those Plan B’s into practice. In this article you will get to know three examples.

Example 1: The Glass Project – a unique circular model by Opaline to transform the economy, one bottle at a time

In 2020, Opaline found itself faced with a daunting reality: despite a strong belief in glass as the ideal container for their natural drinks, a carbon assessment revealed that glass bottles accounted for a staggering 49% of the company's CO2 emissions, namely 163.2 tons, which are an equivalent to the annual emissions of eleven Swiss citizens. Determined to achieve circularity and carbon neutrality by 2030, they decided to develop a circular model with the ambitious mission to transform the economy, one bottle at a time.

To do so, Opaline developed “The Glass Project”, which aims to revolutionize their glass bottle system, extending their lifespan through a circular loop of up to seven cycles. They will work closely with beverage distributors, the HORECA industry and consumers. Establishments such as cafes, restaurants, and grocery shops will collect and return bottles directly to distributors, seamlessly reintegrating them into the system for refilling them once again with the Opaline’s drinks. The first trials with distributors of the pilot project will start in September this year.

Opaline’s production line - Source: Opaline

Starting from August 2023, all bottle labels will convert to water-soluble materials, streamlining the washing process and promoting efficiency. Opaline will test and refine the system through integration with the Ça Vaud l'Retour and J'la Ramène projects, focusing on logistics and bottle quality. While washing will initially rely on traditional boxes, they plan to establish a larger-scale project at Univerre — Swiss market leader in industrial bottle cleaning, in the future.

Although not all distributors will initially participate, half, particularly smaller ones, have already stated their support for Opaline’s vision. Ten grocery shops in Geneva and Vaud will offer the natural juices with a deposit system starting in September 2023. Through The Glass Project, Opaline aims to rewrite the story of glass bottles, forging a sustainable world where each bottle embarks on a transformative journey, contributing to a brighter future.

Example 2: Weleda’s new sustainable logistic campus

Those who grow need space. But at Weleda, they believe that growth must not come at the expense of the environment. This is why they decided to design their new logistic center in harmony with people and nature in the Gügling Nord IV industrial estate in Schwäbisch Gmünd in Germany.

You can also build in harmony with people and nature. The Weleda logistics center in Schwäbisch Gmünd sets new standards for this, and we are very proud of them.

Alois Mayer, Member of the Executive Board

The natural cosmetics company is centralizing its international and national distribution and parts of its production logistics with this new building, which they call “logistics campus”. High sustainability standards characterize the newly constructed buildings. The building project has already received the preliminary certificate for the DGNB Platinum Standard. This award is the highest rating level of the German Sustainable Building Council.

Weleda’s new logistic campus - Source: Weleda

To ensure that their new logistic campus is as sustainable as possible, Weleda has taken many aspects into account. Firstly, the structure will be built with natural materials such as wood and rammed earth. If necessary, they can be returned to the material cycle.

Secondly, a large variety of local plants ranging from wild fruits, a herb strip, flowers and roses will be planted in the outdoor areas of the logistic center. Regional plants withstand the local climate and require hardly any irrigation. Overall, the site is to be completely transformed - from an intensively used agricultural monoculture to a landscape with high biodiversity.

Thirdly, the new logistic center will manage without the fossil fuel gas and thus be climate neutral. The heating and cooling capacity of the three new buildings in the Gügling industrial estate can be covered 100 per cent by geothermal energy and solar power. Because only renewable energies are used, 207 tonnes of carbon dioxide can be saved annually.

Our consistent decision in favor of renewable energies is proving to be correct and forward-looking - also in view of the currently tense supply situation.

Daniela Trah, Project Manager Logistics, and Karl-Heinz Türk, Division Manager Infrastructure

Example 3: Alpro – a pioneer in plant-based nutrition

Alpro is a pioneer in developing and producing tasty, nutritious, and sustainable plant-based foods and beverages. The company started as a niche product for people with lactose intolerance or vegans and, exclusively, with soy products. Today, a much larger part of the population is interested in consuming more plant-based products. Alpro’s mission is to encourage as many people as possible to switch to a flexitarian diet, which is positive for people’s health and protects the planet.

Alpro’s plant-based products - Source: Alpro

Alpro is committed to reducing their CO2 and water footprint, and that is reflected in the raw materials they use for their products. They source European oats, Mediterranean almonds and soy from Europe and partly from Canada. In addition, they are continuously working to make the manufacturing process more resource-efficient and to develop packaging from plant-based or recycled materials.

Alpro is also constantly improving the nutritional profile and composition of their products, for example, by reducing the sugar content and increasing the fiber content. Since 2019, the Nutri-Score, which provides information about the nutritional value of a product, has been clearly visible on the packaging.

Do you want to learn more about our #myplanB campaign and the different Plan Bs of our Swiss B Corps? Then check out our website.


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