Native American Natural Foods is based in the Pine Ridge Reservation village of Kyle. Since it created the buffalo-meat and cranberry health snack “Tanka Bar’ in 2007 it’s become a nationally recognized leader in the natural foods field.
Mark Tilsen is president and co-founder of the company. Tilsen says that “B Lab” was founded several years ago with a particular purpose in mind.
“With the idea of creating a criteria for the consumer to be able to tell the difference between a company that says it’s doing good for the community and one that really is,” explains Tilsen. “You know, we have certified organic. And now we have a corporation certification that’s best for the community and best for the world.”
B Lab judges companies in a variety of areas, says Tilsen.
“Both from how you treat your employees…how you treat the environment and,” adds Tilsen, “in our case because it’s agriculture…how you treat the animals and the environment that you work with.”
Tilsen says that “B Corporation” recognition involves companies across the board...not just those in the food industry. He adds that being able to identify themselves as a B Corp is a plus for consumer recognition of any company’s product as well as for possible investors.
Sandra Marker is coordinator of the Sustainability Program at Black Hills State University. She says businesses that are B Corporation certified are finding that it’s benefiting their sales…but it’s not just about money.
“If you want to make healthier communities, if you want people to be happy, if you want cultural relations to grow…human relationships to grow…then you have to focus on more than just the bottom line,” Marker observes.
Marker says she sees Native American Natural Foods as a beacon for what other companies across South Dakota can do with their businesses.
Native American Natural Foods http://www.tankabar.com/cgi-bin/nanf/public/main.cvw https://www.facebook.com/tankatalk/?fref=ts B Lab https://www.bcorporation.net/what-are-b-corps/about-b-lab