Episode #22 - Meet Cook, the frozen food business employing ex-offenders

Show notes

One of more than 80 Cook stores across the UK

One of more than 80 Cook stores across the UK

Getting the right balance between work and play is something we all think about a lot. And it is tricky.

It is also a subject that is occupying the minds of HR teams everywhere; how can we give employees the best environment and conditions to make them healthier and happier in the workplace so that they thrive and are as productive as possible?

As such, more and more companies are paying a keen interest in how their staff live their lives – from where they live, to the sort of charity work they might do at the weekends.

There is an interesting debate going on right now about the role of business in and how much companies should get involved in people’s lives. Is it the role of companies to provide housing for staff, for example – a practice that has been going on for 100 hundred years.

We touch on some of these issues with this week's guest. Charlotte Sewell (right), the social impact manager at Cook, a company based on the South East of England that produces frozen food meals.

There’s no doubt about it: this is a company that is taking its social responsibility very seriously indeed – it has a hardship fund (in case staff need to borrow some cash to pay for a new washing machine), it helps people realise their dreams (they might want to start their own business, or build better relationships with their kids).

It even employs ex-offenders. In fact, 2% of its workforce is made up of people coming out of prison as Cook looks to give them a fresh start.

It certainly makes for an interesting story, as you’re about to find out. Enjoy the show and, as ever, let us know what you think of what you've heard (email or Tweet tomidle@narrativematters.co.uk, @TomIdle).

You can find out more about Cook's values here.

Here's some snaps I took during my visit to Cook's Sittingbourne kitchen.

Team assessments with a difference: Cook's 'Team Selfie'

Team assessments with a difference: Cook's 'Team Selfie'

Got a dream? Cook will help you achieve it

Got a dream? Cook will help you achieve it

Where dreams are made: The Sittingbourne Cook HQ

Where dreams are made: The Sittingbourne Cook HQ

Episode #20 - What does it mean to be a B Corporation?

Show notes

This week we caught up with Adam Garfunkel, managing director of Junxion. Adam is a man that has been around the block, working in the arena of corporate sustainability for many years, helping big companies and social enterprises formulate their plans to become better businesses, and communicate their values in a way that creates real value.

His work has taken him all over the world, not least in support the sportswear company adidas for many years in its sustainability endeavours.

He certainly knows his onions.

And he, like so many of our listeners out there, enjoys something that eludes many people in that his work and core personal ideals, values and traits are so interlocked and connected, that its an incredibly fine line between work and play.

So, as you can imagine, he was delighted for his company to become one of the UK’s first B Corp registered companies: a chance to practice what he has been preaching all these years – that companies should exist to create value for people and planet, rather than just shareholders.

As both Adam and I say during this week's show, the word ‘purpose’ is the most over-used word in sustainability circles right now.

But it’s a theme that we will, no doubt, keep coming back to as more and more of you find reasons to exist in the world and create real positive change.


This week's news round-up with Vikki Knowles features stories on:

- monkey dating with The Body Shop (#findreggielove)
- taking dogs to work with Purina and Mars
- the new vodka made from fog water
- the bricks made from old cigarette butts


Don't forget...

Next month, we will be producing a downloadable PDF document that will present all of the great insights, tips and advice that our guests have given since we launched on 1 February 2016.

We're calling it the Better Business Show Cheat Sheet.

If you’d like to get your hands on it, all you have to do is give us your email address and we will send it to you exclusively as a download.

Head to betterbusiness.show and fill in the form at the foot of the page.