Purpose-Led Vanilla Company Becomes B Corp Certified

Heilala Vanilla, New Zealand’s leading grower, producer and manufacturer of premium vanilla products for baking, announced that it has been certified as a B Corporation. 

This milestone underscores the brand's commitment to sustainability, transparency, and accountability, with Heilala being the first vanilla company in the world to receive this prestigious certification, finishing the process with an impressive 104.7 points. 

B Corp Certification further demonstrates the company’s purpose-led mission by becoming the latest Kiwi company to be recognised for demonstrating its commitment to making the world a better place.

The company’s purpose is to empower and improve the livelihoods of agricultural communities in Tonga. This purpose is incredibly important to the Heilala business and acts as the company’s ‘north star’.

"Since day one, we've had a mission to be ‘the good vanilla’, from how we source our beans, to the way we communicate with our team and customers, and how we're improving futures within our grower communities," says Jennifer Boggiss, Heilala Vanilla CEO. “We are immensely proud to have achieved this certification, however, we see this as just part of our journey to achieving our goals across our team, our Tongan community and the environment,” concludes Boggiss.

B Corp is a global movement of companies that have made it their mission to do business responsibly, balancing the interest of people, profit and purpose. It ensures all company decisions create a positive impact on its teams, clients, suppliers, community and the environment.

Heilala already had in place several measures required for B Corp certification such as independent governance, a shareholder's agreement that is aligned around purpose, a globally unique zero-waste process that has recently been registered as a patent, living wage employer with a very diverse team across Tauranga and Tonga, and impact projects in Tonga spanning over the last decade.

The certification shines a light on every aspect of the company and is based on five pillars; Governance, Workers, Community, Environment and Customers. The below descriptions outline how Heilala Vanilla meets each of its targets:

Community

Heilala has always paid their Tongan growers above market price as they are focused on building an industry of vanilla excellence in Tonga, supporting not only growers with training but also the wider grower communities with many Impact projects from education (classrooms supplies, sporting equipment, support for school fees), through to emergency crisis support. The recent January 15 natural disaster saw Heilala Vanilla raise more than $180,000 through its Foundation to support communities in Tonga.

From April 1, 2022, five cents from the purchase of every Heilala Vanilla product will be donated to the Heilala Vanilla Foundation, delivering sustainable projects in agriculture and education to empower Tongan families and rural communities.

Governance 

The company’s purpose of empowering Tongan rural communities is embedded in its shareholders' agreement and all stakeholders are aligned around being a purpose-driven business. It has independent directors and diversity on its Board of Directors with more than 50 per cent being women.

Employees 

  • An engagement score of over 90 per cent
  • A Living Wage employer in both NZ and Tonga
  • A very diverse and loyal team 
  • Providing employment within Tongan communities with a particular focus on Women

Environment

Outside of the unique zero waste process, Heilala recognises there is a continual piece of work to reduce the impact of its packaging on the environment alongside working towards a goal of being carbon neutral by 2025.

Customer

Heilala holds itself to the highest third-party auditing and certification standards and has recently been awarded AA rating in the BRC food safety audit, a globally recognised certification. The customer pillar also measures customer engagement, satisfaction, and ethical marketing practices.

The B Corp assessment and verification process measures a company’s entire performance, from supply chains to community work to employee benefits. It is widely considered to be the gold standard of environmental and social certification, ensuring customers and stakeholders have confidence in a company’s impact story and purpose-led initiatives.