In Conversation with B Corp Certified Business, Sawmill Brewery
Sawmill Brewery are an independent brewery based in Matakana, north of Auckland. They brew all their beer on site and have an eatery attached to the brewery. They have between 35-45 people in their team depending on the season and support sustainability measures at all stops.
We spoke with Sawmill Brewery owners Mike Sutherland and Kirsty McKay on what B-Corp Certification means to them and their business.
What are your core values that underpin your business?
We are independent, real and resourceful.
We are in business to be a force for good.
Independence means thinking for ourselves. Taking our own path.
We have often gone in a direction that is different to others in our industry and its served us really well.
We know what Sawmill is about. Pushing boundaries. Thinking laterally. Being brave.
Resourcefulness is being innovative and enterprising in how we think. Being always mindful of physical resources and efficiency – water, energy, raw ingredients. Always aiming to have a positive impact on our environment and communities. Solving problems using the resources we have.
Being real is always remembering we are from this place. We are the real deal. No bullshit. We’re all in. Its also a recognition that everyone needs to work hard and their work is important and valued. We have a responsibility to each other, to the end result, to our community, customers and consumers.
Sawmill Brewery was an early adopter of the B Corp certification in New Zealand.
Why did Sawmill Brewery decide to become certified?
Making the best possible beer is our top priority.
But its not our only one – we want to run the best business we can,
to make sure as a manufacturer we are having a positive impact on our
community and environment.
What was the process like to become certified? Did you use the B Impact Assessment (BIA) tool and what was your experience using this tool?
We went through the process ourselves without the support of any consultants or external advisors. It took about 18 months – very much part time as we all have other work to do. I think it was really worthwhile to do it ourselves.
I understand the process really well now and can see the opportunities to do more.
What benefits have you seen from being part of the global movement of people who use business as a force for good?
It gives us so much direction on how to keep improving the way we do business. Its really motivating for our team to measure the way we are doing better and also to know we are the industry leaders in environmental responsibility. We always put it out there that we are here to support other businesses who want to join this movement. We are the only certified brewery in New Zealand but ideally others will join us.
Do you have any advice for family businesses wanting to begin their sustainability roadmap?
Start with the B Corp questionnaire. Focus on what you know is going to make a meaningful difference to your business. And just keep working slowly towards certification.
Make time for it because it will improve your business.
Ready to start your sustainability roadmap? You can download the latest webinar hosted by FBANZ - B Corp Measure What Matters: Introduction to the B Impact Assessment for FREE here.