illycaffè Earns B Corp Certification

illycaffè is the first Italian Coffee Company to Obtain B Corp Status, Awarded to Companies that Meet Highest Standards for Social and Environmental Performance

April 14, 2021 11:20 AM EDT

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TRIESTE, Italy, April 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- illycaffè has become the first Italian coffee company to obtain the B Corp certification, awarded to companies that meet the highest standards for social and environmental performance, transparency, and responsibility. B-Corp certified companies operate to optimize their positive impact on employees, their communities, and the environment.

While many corporations are making it a priority to be a positive force in the world, B Corps are leaders in translating this concept into practice, based on their adherence to strict overall measurement protocols for the value they create and their commitment to continuous improvement.

Ethics and sustainability are part of illycaffè's DNA: since its founding in 1933, it has set itself the goal of improving people's quality of life. In 2019, illy strengthened its commitment to operating as a stakeholder company when it adopted Benefit Company status. In doing so, illycaffè reaffirmed its choice to seek continued growth by operating in a sustainable way for the communities with which it interacts, formally integrating this commitment within company bylaws.

Sustainability has always been an operating principle at illycaffè. It is applied to the company's entire supply chain, which is built on a system of direct relations with suppliers on the basis of four pillars: selecting and working directly with the best Arabica growers; transferring knowledge and expertise to the growers, training them at illycaffè's University of Coffee (UdC); and through direct, hands-on work in coffee fields with specialized agronomists to achieve sustained, high-quality production while also respecting the environment. 

illycaffè combines these actions with rewarding growers for the quality they achieve by paying premium prices, higher than the market average, while fostering continuous improvement to create sustainable coffee and a community of growers: a community in every sense, capable of meeting not only in-person but virtually thanks to the platform created by illy known as Circolo illy. These, and numerous other initiatives, contributed to illy's B Corp certification.

"We work every day to implement our principles and reconcile economics with ethics" said Massimiliano Pogliani, illycaffè CEO. "We launched the B Corp certification procedure to underline our commitment to keep generating a positive impact on society and on the planet, joining a network of like-minded companies that promote business models based on a strategy to create sustainable value in the long term."

illy achieved its B Corp certification with the support of Nativa – Regenerative Innovation Company, who supports businesses in their evolution toward a regenerative and sustainable economic paradigm.

With its new status, illy confirms its commitment to reaching its established targets for sustainability to create a durable and shared value. Overall, this is a noteworthy achievement for the company, considering that to date, only 3% of the 100,000 companies that have applied for B Corp certification have met the excellence criteria established by B Lab, the international certifying entity for B Corp status.

"This outstanding achievement by illycaffè shows that in the coffee sector too we can act generatively," said Eric Ezechieli, co-founder of Nativa, Regenerative Innovation Company, and country partner for Italy of B Lab. "Today all companies must necessarily evolve in this direction, and we believe that illy's success will inspire many others, in Italy and globally, to accelerate along this path."

illycaffèillycaffè is an Italian family-owned company, founded in Trieste in 1933. Its mission has always been to offer the best coffee to the world. illycaffè produces a unique 100% Arabica blend, combining 9 of the best varieties in the world, selected by illycaffè: every day 8 million cups of illy coffee are served in over 140 countries around the globe, in the best cafés, restaurants and hotels, in single-brand cafés and shops, at home. As a result of its innovations, illycaffè contributes to the coffee technology progress at global level. In 1991, the "Ernesto Illy Award" was launched in Brazil for quality espresso coffee. illycaffè has contributed to the sharing of the know-how, paying growers a premium price for the best quality selected by illycaffè. Since 2016, with the "Ernesto Illy Award for quality espresso coffee", the company has celebrated coffee growers all over the world that, according to illy, have produced the best sustainable coffee. Since 2013, the company has been in the list of the World Most Ethical Companies. In 2019, it enhanced its commitment to pursue a sustainable business model integrating the interest of people with the environment, adopting the status of Società Benefit (Benefit Company) and adding this commitment into its own bylaw. In 2021, illycaffè was the first Italian company in the coffee sector to obtain the international certification as B Corp as a result of its commitment to comply with the highest standards of social and environmental performance. The company also founded the University of Coffee, which has the objective of sharing culture at all levels, offering a comprehensive and practical training to growers, baristas and coffee lovers. Everything that is "made in illy" is about beauty and art, the founding principles of the brand, starting from its logo, designed by artist James Rosenquist, up to illy Art Collection cups, decorated by over 100 international artists. In 2019, the company had 1405 employees and a turnover of € 520,5 million. There are 269 illy single-brand shops in over 40 countries all over the world. In 2021, Rhone Capital became a shareholder of illycaffè with a minority share to support the company in its international growth.

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SOURCE illy



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