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King Arthur Flour vice president to speak at Sustainable Business Conference

Steve Cochran describes the impact of sustainable, ESOP, B Corp and triple-bottom line business practices.
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Steve Cochran will speak at the Sustainable Business Conference as the keynote speaker. See full list of speakers, conference schedule and ticket information on Local First's website.

Steve Cochran

Steve Cochran /courtesy of Local First

King Arthur Flour is the United State’s oldest flour company. As a B Corporation and ESOP business, King Arthur Flour continues an active role within the innovative business community.

Sharing these intentional sustainable business practices, King Arthur Vice President of Infrastructure Steve Cochran will speak at Local First’s Sustainable Business Conference on March 27.

“At the highest level, sustainable means being around in the future. King Arthur has been in operation [for] more than 200 years and we want to be around in another 200,” says Cochran.

King Arthur Flour embraces the triple bottom line approach towards business.

“The company needs to be profitable- we are a business after all. We need to be able to sell our products, which in our case is food. Food requires environment, so we have a responsibility to support a sustainable environment. A business also relies on people, and their ability to sustain their lives. So we believe that we need to pay a livable wage,” says Cochran. 

Cochran has been a significant member in organizing King Arthur’s ESOP.

“ESOP stands for Employee Stock Ownership Plan. Since 2004, King Arthur Flour is 100% employee owned, meaning that the only stock holders in the company are the current employees,” says Cochran.

“The employees that are here every day are working for themselves and the person next to them. They share in the benefits and the risks together, not [with] distant stock holders with no active participation in the company,” say Cochran.

 ESOP, says Cochran, creates a sense of communal connection between employees within the business.

“We believe that this creates an unparalleled sense of teamwork and engagement in the goals of the company,” he says.

In addition to being an ESOP company, King Arthur was a founding B Corporation. B Corporation is a certification organization that measures the holistic impact of a business. 

“We choose to be a part of [B Corp] because we believe it measures us and other businesses on the whole range of ways we wanted to be measured,” says Cochran.

“For example, we believe our ESOP is a social benefit even though it has costs. The B Corp certification takes the social impact of ESOPs into consideration in the overall scoring. We are being measured on all the good things we do, not just a financial bottom line,” he says.

“Our CEO is a big believer in more than a financial bottom line, but also a believer in measurement –how can you judge progress or success if you don’t measure,” says Cochran. 

At the conference, Cochran intends to share and inspire businesses to embrace a sustainable approach to business.

“I’ll be talking about the history of B Corp and our involvement, as well as some of the key community benefits that we feel we provide, such as being a 100% employee owned business,” says Cochran.

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