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The newly-certified Zurich B Corps: Leading a Plant-Based Revolution

B Lab Switzerland is excited to present to you four Zurich-based B Corps driving sustainable innovation into the Swiss business landscape. In this 5-minute read you will learn what makes them sustainability pioneers, the meaningful challenges these companies are aiming to solve, and what they have in common amongst themselves and the broader B Corp Movement.


Although first founded on the other side of the Atlantic, in the city of Pennsylvania in 2006, the B Corp movement, composed of more than 8250 certified companies, has been well-established in Europe since 2013, with just about 3610 B Corps headquartered in the old continent. When it arrived in Switzerland in 2018, the initial foothold of the movement was in Romandie, where the B Lab Switzerland Foundation was founded. Naturally, the movement gained traction in the western part of the country first, but after its introduction in the German-speaking side, we've seen a remarkable upsurge: last year alone, 26% of all Swiss certified companies are located east of the Sarine river, contributing to the current total of 120 B Corps in Switzerland. 


This momentum is even more prominent in Zurich, where we can't help but notice a common thread weaving through many of the newly certified companies: a dedication to plant-based business models. From revolutionizing agricultural practices to pioneering sustainable textile solutions, four new B Corps are at the forefront of the plant-based revolution, reshaping industries and inspiring others to rethink their way of doing business. The management of YASAI, Planted, QWSTION, and ViCAFE, had the goal of creating companies that had a purpose beyond a product, yet they achieved much more than that. Let's take a closer look at who the trailblazers leading sustainable and innovative businesses are:


YASAI: Growing more with vertical farming


Tzatziki is not the same without dill; a chilled glass of iced tea is not the same without fresh mint; and a pesto pasta is not the same without… you guessed it - basil! Herbs make a huge difference on the looks and taste of foods and drinks, and YASAI is providing Swiss consumers with herbs that are not only fresh and delicious, but are also sustainable and local! Leading the way in vertical farming, the company is redefining the way we think about urban agriculture. By taking advantage of AI, YASAI has created a closed-loop system that maximizes space efficiency while minimizing environmental impact. They grow their herbs vertically and locally, in the heart of Zurich, and are thus able to reduce emissions from transportation, benefit from 200x more yield per square meter, and use 95% less fresh water than traditional agriculture thanks to circular systems. 

"YASAI combines novel technologies with traditional agriculture knowledge to create more circular and resilient food systems. With innovations from seed to packaging, we are creating impact while offering the best taste experience possible, all year round. This is how we aim to lead a supply chain based on zero -  zero waste, zero pesticides and zero food miles.

Mark Zahran, Chief Executive Officer at YASAI




Thy why and vision of Yasai - Source: Yasai


And before you ask, you can experience their products at Coop, Jelmoli, and on farmy.ch


Planted: Revolutionizing the protein value chain


Planted is the Swiss FoodTech trailblazer for clean label plant-based meats. From mouthwatering chicken strips to savory sausages and now even steak, Planted offers a wide array of sustainable, healthy, and cruelty-free protein sources. By leveraging the power of plants, Planted is not just offering meat alternatives, but are also paving the way for a more sustainable food system when it comes to their production, by using, for example, 100% renewable energy in their production facilities and offices in Switzerland. In fact, Planted is using the heat generated during production to heat their offices and other parts of the building, proving that their commitment to sustainability goes far beyond a green-labeled product. 


"The projected growth of the world's population and their rising incomes are driving meat consumption enormously. However, the scale of the meat industry is already more than unsustainable, as animal meat production is one of the biggest contributors to the climate crisis. At Planted, we want to radically change the way meat is perceived, produced and consumed and inspire a shift from eating animal to eating plant proteins, enabling meat eaters to make a sustainable, healthy and tasty everyday choice. We are in business to make a positive impact on the world.

Vicky Kummer, Head of Corporate Communications at Planted.




Planted revolutionises Lyon charcuterie with a new product - Source: Planted


Find the closest Planted supplier to you here, or shop online. And don't forget to visit their recipe page for yummy inspirations! 


QWSTION: The answer to styling greener fashion


From work backpacks to travel bags, accessories and jackets, QWSTION is showing the fashion industry that style and sustainability can and should go hand-in-hand. Their commitment to sustainability is woven into their fabric - quite literally. With their unique Bananatex material, QWSTION is challenging the status quo of fashion by offering a fully circular and biodegradable textile. The fibers from the banana tree are extremely strong, allowing for the confection of a durable and functional textile, and the trees grow naturally in permaculture systems, requiring no pesticides, fertilizers and even irrigation. The Swiss company has created a material that is both eco-friendly and socially responsible, and works closely with their suppliers to ensure that high quality work conditions lie at the heart of their values. And they don't keep it for themselves! Qwstion also offers their Bananatex to other brands, as an alternative to conventional plastic-based textiles.

"Most everyday goods today have no end-of-life solution – at some point they become waste. This motivated us to start QWSTION in 2008 in Zürich, to question the norm of how things are designed, made and used. We decided to work with plant based, regenerative resources wherever possible – our Bananatex® material and everyday bags designed for circularity are the result."

Christian Kägi, Co-Founder and Designer, QWSTION. 



Qwstion development layers - Source: QWSTION


Do you need a new backpack and are in doubt of which brand to go for? Here you will find the answer to this qwstion.


VICAFE: Brewing change, one cup at a time


ViCAFE is on a mission to get to know all their coffee partners in person. Why? Because this way they manage to achieve a more transparent value chain and to provide better support to the farmers in light of challenges related to climate change. That being said, their dedication to coffee goes beyond just a great brew; it's a commitment to supporting farmers and collaborating towards more resilient agricultural systems. Besides, ViCAFE's roastery in Zurich, and their endeavor to co-create the Gutsch oat drink (with organic ingredients from Switzerland!) underscores their do-it-yourself attitude when sustainable alternatives cannot be found. 


"Coffee is a truly global product, but we try to keep our value chains as short as possible by building local sourcing ‘clusters’. We currently buy coffee from 16 farms that we regularly visit to discuss practices, processing protocols and logistics. When it comes to pricing, we take the time to ask each participant in the value chain – from farm to importer – about what price they would charge to cover costs, while making a profit, and this approach helps us to build trust and establish long-term relationships. In fact, in 2022, we initiated an independent foundation – ViFOUNDATION – to enable positive change within the different coffee communities through agro-ecology – from building composting facilities to leveraging technologies. We contribute CHF 0.50 ($0.57) per kg of roasted coffee to the foundation."  

Pascal Herzog, Head of Impact at ViCOLLECTIVE.





Vicafé people at work - Source: Vicafé


Find a ViCAFE close to you, or brew-it-yourself!  


They are all impressive, I know! But being plant-based is not their only common denominator. These Zurich B Corps are also recognized for their innovative spirit, which almost speaks for itself. I mean, let's be honest, most of us can barely keep a basil plant alive on the kitchen counter, let alone grow a farm indoors with the ambition to feed the world sustainably and healthily. And for those trying to eat less or no meat, your days of trying out the entire vegetarian aisle are gone, because Planted cracked the code of healthiness and deliciousness, without adding additives and sacrifice when it comes to your favorite meaty recipes. I won't even go deep into the fact that we can carry our laptops under the rain in a bag made out of banana trees, and then fully compost that bag at the end of its life, because that is bananas! And ViCAFE not only roasts their own coffee right in the city of Zurich, but they also manage to do that using 70% less energy than conventional roasting machines, thanks to their efficient machinery. Say less! Indeed, innovation is also something else they all have in common. 


And if these facts do not amaze you yet, we bring you yet another common value shared by these four B Corps: their swissness! At B Lab, we know for a fact that being innovative and pioneering a movement, while accommodating to highly ambitious sustainability goals is not an easy task, but let's face it: it is also not a cheap task. Still, that didn't make the teams of YASAI, Planted, QWSTION and ViCAFE shy away from their purpose. In fact, they found strength in their Swiss roots. As observed, and well tapped, by these Zurich B Corps, Swiss consumers value local production and consciously-sourced products, and understand that fair wages and sustainable production cost - well, fair prices. And while "fair prices" can sometimes mean above-average, an aspiring goal of our movement is to democratize sustainable practices, in order to make it accessible to the greatest number of people. These four B Corps are developing and pioneering business models and technologies that contribute to the scaling up of sustainable production and consumption. 


As we celebrate the remarkable achievements of these four Zurich-based B Corps during our international B Corp Month, we are reminded of the power of community to drive positive change. From sustainable agriculture to ethical fashion, these companies are proving that profitability and purpose can go hand in hand, and that there is a growing market for it! So here's to these, and every other, B Corps - the trailblazers, the innovators, and the front-runners of a greener, more equitable future.


Is your company ready to embrace the B Corp journey? Check-in with our team to address your questions.








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