A recent article in Forbes noted the dramatic shift toward increased corporate social responsibility that’s been happening over the past decade or so.
“Most companies are no longer satisfied with just writing checks to charities or sponsoring events,” writes author Thomas Bognanno. “Now, corporate leaders are aligning social impact and employee engagement with business objectives.”
One example of that is the relationship BCS has with the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association, which stretches back decades into the 1990s. In 2002, the company adopted a salmon-bearing stream near the waterfront for ongoing maintenance and restoration.
Whatever you want to call it – corporate social responsibility, corporate citizenship or simply giving back to the community – this mindset has been a part of the ethos at Bellingham Cold Storage for decades. It has long been among our core values that we serve and contribute to the communities in which we operate.
“As a company that helps people feed the world,” says Ian Bakke, “a majority of the staff, from top to bottom, carry the value of helping others far beyond punching our time clocks.”
Bakke, a business representative at Bellingham Cold Storage, coordinates the company’s community-building activities, and he’s also in the loop on many of the ways in which employees donate their time.
It’s easy to see, he says, how the values of BCS leadership is reflected in the actions of employees throughout the company.
A few small examples:
BCS runs a United Way Campaign each year, during which they match, dollar for dollar, contributions given by employees. In a typical year, Bellingham Cold Storage employees raises in excess of $16,000 with the company’s matching funds.
The company also works to keep the local environment clean, sponsoring and actively maintaining an area on the corner of Guide Meridian and Squalicum Way, near Cornwall Park. BCS volunteers remove garbage and invasive plant species from the area to help restore salmon habitat. BCS also promotes the work party schedules from the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association, and employees frequently help at NSEA work parties.
BCS was a sponsor of the 2018 Northwest Youth Services Light Their Path Gala, a fundraising event to support young people experiencing homelessness.
BCS also donates space each month for local organizations, including the local food banks, the Lighthouse Mission, and Wolf Hollow, a wildlife rescue organization, in order to store and preserve food resources.
BCS sponsors the Boys and Girls Clubs’ Positive Action program, which promotes interest in learning and encourages healthy communication, relationships and life choices among youth.
And then there are the many ways in which Bellingham Cold Storage employees give back to the Bellingham community on their own. Those individual service opportunities not only reflect the corporate mindset but also serve as a challenge to team members to contribute to the Bellingham and Whatcom County communities in meaningful ways.
As a family-run business invested since inception in the Whatcom County community, Bellingham Cold Storage aims not just to do business in Whatcom County, but to strive every day to help improve the lives of others who live here. Some of that work aligns with business objectives – which, the Forbes article notes, is a trend these days – but even more than that, the company finds ways to serve the local community.