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Better Know a B: Cotswold Fayre

Cotswold Fayre are a fine food wholesaler supplying independent retailers with quality fine food and gourmet food products sourced from the best producers from the UK and across the globe. They shared their views on what it means to be a B Corp.

Tell us a bit about the history of your company?

The company started as a means to subsidise charity work in inner-city London by its founder, Paul Hargreaves.  Small artisan brands were given access to retailers they were finding it difficult to penetrate within the independent retail sector.  At the same time independent retailers struggling against the onslaught of supermarket growth in the late nineties wanted better quality products not available in the multiples.

Why did you become a B Corp?

One of our key accounts, COOK, were already a B Corp, and having worked with them since they were founded, I was interested to find out more. It turned out that the B Corp values matched many of our own and we passed certification based on our current business model.  Clearly now we want to improve our score!

What excites you about being part of the global B Corporation movement?

Being part of a movement that can genuinely change the world is exciting, as with B Corps all over the planet this is a achievable goal, not just a theoretical one.

Can you tell us about the impact that your company is having in the world?

As a result of Cotswold Fayre's activities, more people in the UK are eating food and drink made with genuine ingredients by producers who care about their craft. In addition, our project in Western Kenya has seen many children, fed, housed and educated.

What benefits have you seen since certification?

It has been interesting and challenging to meet and hear about other B Corps.  I imagine benefits will increase once the business community in the UK know what "B Corps" are - they don't yet, on the whole.

How did your other staff react to the certification?

The staff that have been to events are impressed, but there is a need to bring B Corps to Cotswold Fayre in a more real way.

What has changed in your organisation as a result of taking the B Impact Assessment?

Nothing yet, but we are working on an exciting project with another B Corps to demonstrate to retailers that using a wholesaler like us vastly reduces their carbon footprint.

What does the year ahead hold in store for your company?

We have just changed our business model from a logistics company to a sales and marketing company, so growth is very much the focus, and we have just launched a new chilled range, which is new to us, and very exciting!

Who is your B Corp crush?

I am only aware of two other B Corp food companies within the UK and we are working or have worked with both of them, so more food and drink companies certifying would be a good start.  There is a need for more manufacturing companies to become B Corps as most B Corps at present in the UK are service companies.

It’s 2020, 5 years since you certified as a B Corp, what does the movement look like?

I see a business world where it would be unusual for businesses not to championing the values of B Corps even if they are not certified themselves, and I see nationally known companies becoming B Corps which would, of course, have a great knock-on effect.

What is inspiring you at the moment?

Owen Jones; The Establishment and How They Get Away with It. - very current for today's political scene. As part of my role as a mentor to young food entrepreneurs I am inspired by the energy coming through from young business people, who continually challenge and inspire me.

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