Durham, North Carolina
About Eastern Carolina Organics
ECO is a farmer-owned, staff-owned, and woman-owned wholesale distributor based in Durham, North Carolina, connecting local and national retailers and food businesses with organic produce from family farms. By pooling diverse harvests from several growing regions around the state, ECO supplies a steady stream of high-quality, seasonal food choices throughout the year. The company started in 2004 with the goal of helping transition tobacco farmers into organic vegetable production to meet an increasing need for local and organic produce in the marketplace. Since then, ECO has put more than $20 million dollars in the pockets of farmers.
ECO works with more than 100 farms from across the North Carolina, as well as a few in Virginia and South Carolina. ECO’s shipping capabilities run throughout the entire eastern half of the US. Most of its growers are certified organic or are in the process of transitioning to certification. Established as an LLC, ECO’s cooperative ownership structure which involves farmer-owners in corporate governance is a key component to ensuring that its operation will always stay true to its core mission and values.
In 2012, ECO purchased a warehouse and launched the ECO-HUB in order to provide affordable commercial rent to a tenant community of like-minded, values-based businesses making radical impacts. With a fervent belief that a sustainable food system includes equitable access to fresh and healthy food, ECO is committed to addressing problems like food waste and food insecurity in partnership with the community.
The triple bottom line has always been integral to ECO’s values, and we’ll always lean on this as the secret to our success. The process of becoming a certified B Corp helped us formalize many of the policies and practices that have been inherent in our decision-making since our formation in 2004.
The Change We Seek®
By providing a viable production and distribution network to customers and farmers, ECO’s mission is to cultivate a sustainable food system that is economically viable, socially just, and environmentally safe.
To ECO, economically viable means:
- Utilizing research, education & transparency to provide fair prices for farmers and customers
- Providing inclusive and fair wages and benefits for employees
- Maintaining financial stability for ECO’s long-term viability
To ECO, socially just means:
- Acting with integrity and strong social values to build open, honest relationships with our farmers, customers, employees and owners
- Modeling a unique ownership structure based on a cooperative partnership between employees and growers
- Making decisions in consideration of our core values and overall long-term food system viability
- Fostering a company culture that treats employees with dignity and understanding of their individuality, by creating opportunities to pursue their personal and social goals while representing ECO’s mission.
To ECO, environmentally sound means:
- Representing products grown under organic and environmental production systems
- Reducing exposure to environmental toxins by assisting conventional farms in the transition to organic production Influencing land stewardship and preservation through organic farm viability
- Incorporating environmental stewardship into all operations and facilities from farm to table
- Integrating environmental and organic education into our company culture to empower growers, customers and employees to be eco-conscious stewards in their communities
What makes us a better company?
B Impact Report
The Environment section of the Assessment evaluates a company's environmental performance through its facilities; materials, resource, and energy use; and emissions. Where applicable, it also considers a company's transportation/distribution channels and environmental impact of its supply chain. This section also measures whether a company's products or services are designed to solve an environmental issue, including products that aid in the provision of renewable energy, conserve resources, reduce waste, promote land/wildlife conservation, prevent toxic/hazardous substance or pollution, or educate, measure, or consult to solve environmental problems.
The Worker section of the survey assesses the company's relationship with its workforce. This section measures how the company treats its workers through compensation, benefits, training, and ownership opportunities provided to workers. It also focuses on the overall work environment within the company through management/worker communication, job flexibility and corporate culture, and worker health and safety practices.
The Customers section of the Assessment measures the impact a company has on its customers. The section focuses on whether a company sells products or services that promote public benefit, and if those products/services are targeted towards serving underserved populations. Questions in this section will measure whether a company's product or service is designed to solve a social or environmental issue (e.g. improves health, preserves environment or creates economic opportunity to individuals or communities, promotes the arts/sciences, or increases the flow of capital to purpose-driven enterprises).
The Community section of the survey assesses a company's impact on its community. The Community section evaluates a company's supplier relations, diversity, and involvement in the local community. The section also measures the company's practices and policies around community service and charitable giving. In addition, this section includes if a company's product or service is designed to solve a social issue, including access to basic services, health, education, economic opportunity, arts, and increasing the flow of capital to purpose-driven enterprises.
The Governance section of the Assessment evaluates a company's accountability and transparency. The section focuses on the company's mission, stakeholder engagement, and overall transparency of the company's practices and policies.
|Overall B Score||55|
80 out of 200 is eligible for certification
*Of all businesses that have completed the B Impact Assessment
*Median scores will not add up to overall
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