For Luke Holden, Founder and CEO of Luke’s Lobster Seafood Company, sustainability is part of his heritage and the only way he knows how to run a business.
“My grandfather was a lobsterman, my father was a lobsterman turned lobster dealer turned processor,” says Holden. “I found through that heritage and through friends in this industry who also have that lineage, you want to leave things better than you find them and be a good steward of the environment and the resource that your livelihood is dependent upon.”
While sustainability is ingrained in Holden’s’ DNA, co-founder Ben Coniff wanted their company to be able to measure exactly how their business was supporting that mission. In 2015, they began the rigorous process of becoming a B-Corp certified company. Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.
“I’m very quantitatively driven, and B Corp enables you to put a measuring stick in place to say these are areas where we are excelling, these are areas for improvement,” explains Holden.
Luke’s Lobster Seafood Company earned its B Corp certification in 2018. According to Holden, the certification allowed them to attract and retain high-performing team members and has gone from being an internal tool to a sales opportunity.
“It’s becoming a more substantial part of our positioning and how we market and sell because consumers want to vote with their dollars and align their own values with those of the companies they support,” says Holden.
That positioning is important in both the US market and internationally. Holden says they are seeing success with their branded products like lobster mac and cheese in higher end grocery stores in Singapore that appreciate the B Corp certification.
The B Corp logo is moving from the back of their packaging to the front, where consumers will see it as soon as they engage with the product.
“It’s a major shift in the last six months in how we have thought about it,” says Holden.
The next step in the company’s B Corp journey is to take a critical look at their carbon footprint. Holden sees a lot of opportunity for Luke’s Lobster to be more energy conscientious, allowing them to consume less and pay less. While investments in sustainability aren’t realized overnight, he says ultimately they do lead to real margin expansion.
“What I am most proud of is our dedication to transparency,” shares Holden. “We are a team that is oriented in long-term thinking and creating wins for all of our stakeholders — whether that’s the fishermen, our customers, teammates, or suppliers. When you put yourself in a position to take that broader perspective and look for true win-wins in how you make decisions, you create more fruitful long-term relationships and that creates stronger shareholder value.”