Milwaukee-based Stone Creek Coffee recently became a Certified B Corporation. It’s a status achieved by nearly 5,000 for-profit companies that have committed to upholding verified standards for social, environmental and governance practices. The certification process began in the fall of 2019 and included multiple audits and verifications by global nonprofit B Lab. Reporter Maredithe Meyer recently caught up with Eric Resch, managing director and co-owner of Stone Creek, on certifying as a B Corp and weathering the pandemic.
Why become a B Corp?
“Since the founding of Stone Creek Coffee, our corporate name has been ‘Giri,’ which comes from a Japanese code of honor called ‘Bushido.’ In brief, it means that we all live with an obligation to those around us. Joining the B Corp community aligns with that idea and gives us accountability, community and a forward-looking framework as we continue to be a force for good in our communities, both local and global.”
B Corp status in action
“Certified B Corporations amend their governance so that, by law, they make decisions and implement practices that consider not just shareholder value, but the impact on all stakeholders — employees, customers, society and the environment.
“While we’ve worked to increase the take-home pay for all of our employees, we’re also aware of the burden health-related expenses can be. We’ve built a benefit structure to prioritize employee health and rest, and over the past three years, we’ve lowered the proportionate share of employee health insurance costs by 13.6%. We continue to adopt new policies to promote an even more accommodating and empowering work environment, including accommodations for breastfeeding mothers, local-hire policies and additional compensation for changing your schedule or filling a shift.”
“We also have a policy to purchase local whenever possible. Currently, 47% of our purchasing is from partners within 100 miles of our headquarters, stretching north to Green Bay and west beyond Madison. As for sales, 88.3% of our revenue comes from local customers. Over the past two years, we’ve decided to adjust our strategy and invest our growth efforts to serve our home communities in southeastern Wisconsin.
“The majority of Stone Creek’s total energy use comes from renewable energy. All of Stone Creek’s electrical energy is renewable through We Energies’ Energy for Tomorrow program. In 2021, 92% of that energy came from local wind farms.”
“During the pandemic we changed our growth strategy to focus more intentionally on our Milwaukee cafes and customers. As we worked to guide the company through the pandemic, we closed our Chicago cafe, along with our 88Nine Radio Milwaukee and Whitefish Bay cafes. We also recently closed our Bay View cafe due to a disagreement over building safety with our landlord. We simply decided the safety of our staff and customers came first.
“As we look to the future, we are excited about spring here in Milwaukee as we welcome warm weather and the chance to be outside more. We see the rest of 2022 as being very busy, and we are excited to be running our factory tours and coffee classes again full time.”