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This Corporate Citizen’s New Year’s Resolutions

Businesses, present company included, like to set goals. We also like to give these goals fancy names…

We define success metrics (such as revenue targets), which we hope to exceed.

We watch key performance indicators (like costs of goods/sales), which we seek to improve.

We set these goals, because we’re taught that a business can’t manage what it doesn’t measure. However, not all that can be measured matters. Also, not everything that matters can be measured.

That was a mouthful, but is true. For example, consider the outsized impact that businesses as corporate citizens can have on our world. The hard thing is that this impact can be hard (or grossly inaccurate) to measure.

Reducing waste is less bad, but by how much? In what way? Also, consider the net ecological benefit created by a more sustainable supply chain — it requires both qualitative and quantitative reasoning. On the other hand, financial metrics are black and white.

We don’t have an answer to this challenge, but in the spirit of ushering in 2017, we thought we would share some of the things ReGrained is working on.

We’re calling them our New Year’s Resolutions. And we want to share them with you.

This year, ReGrained resolves to…

1. Let the People Eat More Beer:

Our two current ReGrained bars are only about 20% grain by volume. That means it takes about 50,000 bars to upcycle all of one small brewery’s single day. There are two ways for us to upcycle more grain. First, we must develop products that use a higher ratio of grain. Second, we must expand our distribution to sell more products.

Thus, this resolution is shared both by our Sales and R&D teams. How might we increase the upcycled grain ratio to the max as we develop new products? How can we grow our distribution such that more products make it into the hands of the people?

2. Be a Tastemaker for Other Byproducts and Surplus Ingredients:

We founded ReGrained to build a bridge between the craft beer industry and food systems, but we get even more excited about the ways in which our model can be applied more broadly. As we develop new recipes, how might we incorporate other underutilized ingredients? We resolve to be open and collaborative thought leaders as we pursue this objective of being a food-waste-fighting tastemaker.

3. Raise the Bar on Packaging Sustainability:

The paradox of food packaging is that it has a temporary use but a permanent life. The flexible films ubiquitous among bar wrappers end up in landfill, forever.

This year, we have an innovative improvement of a backyard compostable film. We are bringing this innovation to market in the next few weeks, and will continue to improve it as our distribution grows. This is a nonnegotiable value for us, and we resolve to provide the proof of concept for other larger players in the space to adopt more sustainable packaging.

4. Foster a Team with Founder-Mentality:

This year ReGrained has hired its first few employees. That means ReGrained 2017 is no longer just a founder-worked organization. We love this fact. It represents a defining milestone for our business.

To grow our organization sustainably, these first few team members need to have a founder-mentality. We must create a culture of implicit trust, where they can act like the owners they are. We’ve heard too many stories about founders being t0o unwilling to let go, to0 controlling and unwilling to decentralize decision making.

We resolve to keep this potential pitfall at the forefront of our awareness and foster a team of leaders.

5. Up the Transparency Ante:

As ReGrained grows, how might we share both our successes and shortcomings with our community? This blog post is a step in the right direction. What else can we do to involve as many people as possible in our development? It will be important to revisit this post mid-year and share how we are doing.


That’s it for now…Happy New Year, world. We’re rooting for you, and are looking forward to a sustainable and prosperous 2017.

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