We are B Corp Certified
We're proud to announce we're officially the first rice company in the UK to be B Corp certified.
Our journey in achieving this prestigious certificate has been challenging, but also incredibly rewarding. Tilda has met the high standards of social and environmental performance certifying such as an official B Corp organisation.
Becoming a B Corp is a huge success that is going to bring greater transparency and an even bigger positive impact to our work. We think this is what’s needed to drive sustainability across the whole of the rice industry.
Tilda started out as a family-run business in 1970 and today we employ some 280 people in the UK, partnering with over 2,500 rice farmers, and sell our products in over 50 countries. We may be small, but we want to be the market leader and one of the most responsible rice producers in the world. Read below for more information on our journey:
A key reason we wanted to apply was to adopt the structured framework B Corp provides for delivering our roadmap on sustainability. Tilda has had a strong focus on sustainable impact in certain areas for many years – like our work with rice farmers in India to protect the environment – but we have opportunities to increase our positive impact in other parts of our company and value chain.
One of the most important benefits is that B Corp demands continuous improvement and transparent reporting. It will cement our commitment to having a positive impact on people and the planet as something we embrace and live up to every day and as a formal part of our company structure. It will also drive our engagement with employees, suppliers and our shareholders to ensure they are happy and help us to deliver our commitments.
We started to focus on the environment in earnest back 1990 when we established our Foster Farm to test sustainable growing techniques for rice. What we didn’t know then, but what we know now, is that rice has a large carbon footprint compared with some other crops, driven by methane emissions due to the way it is grown. We see this challenge as an opportunity.
Rice is one of the world’s main food staples and anything we can do to reduce emissions could have a global impact. That’s why we’ve been working with over 600 of our most progressive farmers to test a technique called Alternate Wet Drying which can reduce methane emissions by up to 50%, and energy and water use by 20%.
Our farmers have also been testing ways to promote biodiversity on their farms – again with encouraging results. Our next challenge is to work with others to scientifically validate the results so that these techniques can be more widely adopted across the global rice supply chain.
As well as the livelihoods we support here in the UK and in India, we’re very aware of the impact the cost of living crisis is having on communities. This is where our long-standing flagship partnership with The Felix Project, London’s leading food redistribution charity, has come into its own. We have added to our monthly donations, with rice being one of the most sought-after items among communities supported by the project, donating over 104,000 meals worth of rice.
We’ve also launched a volunteering programme to enable our employees to volunteer their time in The Felix Project kitchen. You can read more about this and other projects we deliver to support communities in our latest Impact Report.
One of the challenges and benefits of the B Impact assessment is how robust it is. We had to dig deep into our data and question what we thought we knew from the ground up, uncovering some valuable insights. For example, we now know our farmers even better – including the size and economic profile of the farms on which our rice is grown. This is going to be useful going forward as we measure the impact we’re having on the climate impacts of growing our rice.
Another thing that we saw was the need to embed sustainability in all parts of the business. You need a strong foundation in terms of your sustainability strategy and then you need to invite your employees to willingly come on board. Tilda is a small company and we rely on a few sustainability experts who are supported by many people who must learn and adopt sustainability into their jobs. We plan to build on their passion as B Ambassadors to ensure that listen to their views and ideas. We’ve also started a project to redefine Tilda’s purpose and values for today, especially in light of our commitment to be the most responsible rice company in the world and with the responsibilities that come with being a certified B Corp.