Founded in 1991, Sustainable Seattle has worked to build a thriving
future for our city through initiatives that deliver environmental, economic, and community benefits. Since then they have worked with community leaders to ensure that the sustainability initiatives they support effectively and equitably serve our region.
As a B-Corporation, we aim to use our business as a force for good, and that starts locally. This year we formed a partnership with Sustainable Seattle to further support their mission and to hold ourselves accountable to our own sustainable initiatives. It is the start of a beautiful friendship, and we are excited to share a piece from Sustainable Seattle and environmental writer, Jac Sussman, about how we are pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a purpose-driven business, and what exactly a radical take on ice cream has to do with sustainability.
“For Frankie & Jo’s, plant-based ice cream is a vehicle for radical change.
Practicing true sustainability requires a whole-systems approach to strengthening social, ecological, and economic vitality for current and future generations. Founded in 2016 by Autumn Martin and Kari Brunson, Frankie & Jo’s is a women-owned ice cream company that fully embodies this vision, setting ambitious goals to lower their carbon footprint, enhance the financial stability of their employees, and uplift those in the community who have been most impacted by environmental and social inequities.
Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet rigorous third-party standards for social and environmental contribution, public transparency, and legal accountability to align their profits with positive societal impact. Even before they became a B Corp company, Frankie & Jo’s was already demonstrating how small businesses can operate in ways that provide a net benefit to their community and the environment.
Conscious of the vast, rapidly growing economic disparities in Seattle, Frankie & Jo’s is making material changes to increase the financial stability of their team, through such policies as reimbursing employee bus passes and bicycle parts with their sustainable commuter benefits program, and providing a $20 per month allowance to spend on anything related to self-care. Team members are recognized and rewarded for their efforts, commonly being promoted from within to more advanced positions throughout the company. Kelsie Coker first joined Frankie & Jo’s as a part-time baker and was promoted to Administrative, Logistics, and Sustainability Lead, helping the company meet its many environmental and social goals. Natalie Vanhoever started scooping up the flavorful plant-based goodness for customers and is now Frankie & Jo’s Marketing Manager.
Frankie & Jo’s regularly promotes and partners with other women and BIPOC-led businesses, organizations, and artists across Seattle and the Puget Sound region. Those in leadership roles go through DEI training and are actively propelling a more inclusive and equity-focused workplace through both company culture and policies. “I think we just gravitate towards [partnering with women and BIPOC-led businesses], but it’s also part of the ethos of our company. It’s naturally a part of our culture,” says Natalie.
Holding an unwavering dedication to reducing their carbon emissions as swiftly as possible, Frankie & Jo’s has committed to reaching net zero by 2050, in accordance with the Paris Agreement. This goal requires them to find creative solutions to cut both upstream and downstream emissions as a business in the food industry, where food waste, global transportation, and excessive food packaging are pervasive setbacks to operating sustainably.”