Better Know a B: Lily’s Kitchen
At Lily's Kitchen it all comes down to one simple belief: that our pets have the right to proper food, made from real quality ingredients, that reflects their natural diet. Founder and Lily's owner Henrietta sat down to answer our questions and shared how that belief drives her business forward.
SD | Tell us a bit about the history of your company?
Lily's Kitchen was named after and created for my adorable border terrier, Lily. She's at the heart of my family and her battle with itchy skin became the inspiration for this healthy pet food.
Once I discovered what regular pet food was made from, I decided to cook Lily’s meals from scratch using proper, natural ingredients. The transformation in her health was so remarkable I knew I had to share my recipes with other pet owners who, like me, are looking for a truly nutritious meal they can trust to be the best for their pet.
Every recipe we make is filled with the best ingredients we can find without including any of the nasty additives and derivatives usually lurking in pet food.
...we hope your dog loves our recipes as much as Lily does!
Founder & Lily’s owner
SD | Why did you become a B Corp?
Richard Branson first told me about B Corp in the USA and their intention to launch in the United Kingdom. My business was born out of making the world a better place for Lily, and all pets, therefore joining a movement that aligned so naturally with this purpose was a great opportunity.
For me, being ethically, environmentally and socially driven is intrinsic to Lily’s Kitchen. The chance to help drive business as a force for good, and ensure that doing good is defined into our very DNA of doing business were the two main factors that led us to pursue certification.
SD | What excites you about being part of the global B Corporation movement?
The B Corp movement really feels like something that can have a genuine impact on the world, it is great to be a part of that. Being a part of the wider B Corp community also gives you access to so many amazing businesses that might not be related to your day to day job but that you can learn so much from.
SD | Can you tell us about the impact that your company is having in the world?
We are on a mission to make the lives of people and pets better. We aim to do this by making the best food for animals, whilst treading lightly on the planet. Pet by pet, and person by person we are transforming lives.
We hope that through education and the availability of our recipes, more pet owners can discover the benefits of a natural diet and that the overall standards of nutrition across all pet foods are raised.
Here are just some of our proudest, measurable impacts on the environment:
- Lily’s Kitchen recipes only ever contain freshly prepared meat and offal, fruit and vegetables, with no unnecessary additives.
- Nearly all of Lily’s Kitchen packaging is recyclable or compostable.
- Only water or vegetable based inks are used for printing packaging and brochures, to help minimise environmental impact from waste and toxicity. - Lily’s Kitchen does not produce its food in foil pouches, despite many requests from retailers, as these do not breakdown and go straight into landfill. An average cat will go through 20,000 pouches in their life. Instead, Lily’s Kitchen use aluminium trays which can be recycled once the stickers are removed.
- Lily’s Kitchen measure their carbon footprint using measurement platform Carbon Analytics. Our carbon footprint is estimated at 9,910 tCO2e, which means our carbon intensity is around 40% lower than the industry average.
- Lily’s Kitchen give lots of nutritious meals to cats and dogs in need. In 2016 we gave away 653,488 meals to over 100 animal rescue centers as part of our Dinner’s On Us Campaign. We’ve also partnered with St Mungos, PDSA and Crack and Cider to support their causes.
- 100% of Lily’s Kitchen’s significant suppliers (including packaging suppliers) take part in their annual sustainability survey where they gain information on their measurement of energy and water usage, emissions, waste and recycling.
SD | What benefits have you seen since certification?
The BIA along with our accreditation have allowed our staff to really understand and own all our environmental, social and community achievements. Our B Corp status has made it easy for everyone to contribute and understand the full impact we have on the world around us. Our staff are proud as punch with our achievements to date and importantly, feel like they have a strong voice in our decisions moving forward.
Being a B Corp also helps us recruit the right type of people, quickly. We are growing extremely fast and the certification gives us a clear identity, which sends a message to potential new team members helping them understand what we believe in and what it’s going to be like working here. This has made a positive impact on our recruitment process and helps us build our likeminded mission based team quickly.
The other major benefit has been collaboration within the community. For example we’ve worked with COOK and have been lucky enough to get inspired by some of the amazing work they are doing to further their B Corp status. We use the B Hive to connect with other B Corps, gain ideas and suggestions to overcome day-to-day business challenges and to share best practice.
SD | How did your other staff react to the certification?
Whilst it made perfect sense for us to be certified, recognising the hard work everyone does, it was an honour to receive the certification and our staff felt very proud to know that their work contributes to something bigger.
The team were really involved in the process so were cheering for B Corp all the way. The team was really excited and proud when we became certified and many new joiners say that our B Corp certification is one of the things that they liked about us when hunting for jobs. B Corp has become an adjective around the office and members of the team will often make suggestions about things that we could do that would be really ‘B Corp’.
SD | What has changed in your organisation as a result of taking the B Impact Assessment?
For everyone, our sustainability and ethical practices are top of mind, and the first thing we ask after what is best for our animals. This includes everyone, from the Finance team when they consider printing out documents right through to our Marketing team picking partners to work with on campaigns.
It gives everyone something tangible to rally around and provides a common ground on issues. It is also something great for new employees to understand and get behind, ensuring we never veer off our ethical agenda.
The process of taking the BIA helped us formalise a few of our practices that hadn’t yet been fully established. The BIA proved to be a really useful framework and checklist for best practices, which was helpful at the time, and also for the future.
Some other ways Lily’s Kitchen has changed since taking the BIA include:
- Introduction of quarterly financial updates for the entire team
- Annual social and environmental survey for our suppliers
- Switched energy suppliers to 100% renewable in 2/3 of our sites
- Switched office supply company (all eco-friendly sourcing)
- Switched cleaners to one who uses eco-friendly products and pays living wage
- Volunteer scheme with one paid volunteer day a year for each employee
SD | What does the year ahead hold in store for your company?
We have many exciting projects across the business as we move from being a small high growth brand to a larger one, while retaining everything we love about being a small, nimble, caring company.
From a B Corp perspective, being part of the wider movement and helping consumers understand that there are better choices out there will be a big part of our next steps.
SD | Who is your B Corp crush?
I’ve always looked at Ben & Jerry’s as an inspirational brand, and their commitment to social and environmental causes is just one aspect. I’d love to understand the journey from going from a small company to a major one, and now owned by Unilever how they have managed to stay true to their ethical agenda.
SD | It’s 2020, 5 years since you certified as a B Corp, what does the movement look like?
Consumers understand what a B Corp company is, and understand what it stands for. There is a move to seek out B Corp certified products and services. We have created a new paradigm for entrepreneur led businesses where it is about both profit and change – doing well financially and making a difference in the world. A marriage of integrity, responsibility and success.