Woolf Enterprises, a third-generation Central Valley family-owned farm since 1974, earned its place in corporate responsibility by becoming a Certified B Corporation with support from Fresno State’s California Water Institute and Craig School of Business.

Through partial funding from the Agriculture Research Initiative, the California Water Institute and faculty, staff and students from the Craig School of Business provided data analytics and assistance in developing an Environmental Management System.

“We analyzed the company’s use of water, pesticides and fertilizers and compared industry baselines to the actual amounts,” said Alondra Salazar, a Fresno State data analytics student. “Additionally, we calculated greenhouse gas emissions and the reduction of items going to the landfill because of recycling or reduction processes.”

In order to achieve the certification, multiple items such as impacts of the business on the community are given a point value. A significant point value is given to companies that have created and adopted an Environment Management System (EMS).

“An EMS contains the environmental goals of the organization and works as a guide to assist in the consistent review, evaluation and improvement of environmental performances,” said Laura Ramos, California Water Institute programs manager.

The B Corp Certification is given to for-profit companies that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. Companies are evaluated on their overall impact on the community, employees, customers and the environment. Additionally, the B Corp Certification ensures each company is committed to positive stakeholder impact for the long-term through transparency and continued verification every three years.

“The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that there are about 81,000 growers in California, and only 20 have achieved the B Corp Certification, including Woolf Enterprises,” Ramos said. “With more than 3,500 Certified B Corporations in over 130 industries and 70 countries, this is a huge accomplishment.”

Woolf Enterprises, also known as Woolf Farming and Processing, grows conventional and organic crops, including almonds, pistachios, tomatoes, grapes, onions, garlic, wheat, hay and various row crops. In addition to its B Corp Certification, Woolf Enterprises’ commitment to sustainability includes solar energy and bee- and other pollinator-friendly practices. The company has also invested in advanced water technology and groundwater recharge to help conserve and use rainwater for its crops.

“Woolf Enterprises has really made great efforts toward becoming a sustainable organization. It’s been a wonderful experience helping them join the ranks of pioneers who are taking part in corporate responsibility, and we look forward to helping more companies meet this challenge,” Ramos said.

Ross Franson, the vice president for strategy at Woolf Farming and Processing and the grandson of founder Jack Woolf, said, “Our mission at Woolf Farming and Processing is to feed more people using less resources in a manner that allows us to pass the company on to the next generation in better shape than we received it. Becoming a certified B Corporation aligns with this mission by providing a measurable framework to examine how we can positively impact our workers, customers, community and the environment at large.”

For more information, contact Laura Ramos at lramos@mail.fresnostate.edu or 559.278.7001.