Sir, I enjoyed the Goodness Issue and the piece on the B Corp movement was a welcome insight into this initiative. However I was disappointed there was not wider mention of the power of employee ownership as a model for responsible business practice.
Since Parfetts transitioned to employee ownership in 2008, the sector has grown by a factor of five times (based on membership of the Employee Ownership Association). Within the grocery sector, as well as the obvious example of Waitrose, there’s Riverford Organic, Wilkins Tiptree and Cambridge Weight Plan, all of which are employee-owned. It would also be remiss of me to not mention the Co-operative Group and regional Co-ops, as well as the fantastic Suma Foods.
Each in their different way are trying to provide sustainable and ethical alternatives to the traditional limited company or PLC driven by the profit needs of shareholders. In my opinion, whilst not suitable for all, they offer an alternative and arguably better model for business.
Steve Parfett, director, Employee Ownership Association