Somewhere on our site you may have read the words "triple bottom line." As more people choose to build businesses that aspire to create positive change, triple bottom line is used more and more to describe the strategy and approach of their businesses. It means that a business applies a framework that positively impacts three parts: the environment, the economy, and the social development of an area or group of people. While its roots are in accounting (and originates from the term "bottom line") it is used deeply in the social impact community to measure the positive impact a business creates.
Our road into food production (and running a food business) came by accident. I wanted to tackle the rise in anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic hate crimes and speech that had jumped up after the 2016 election cycle began. I spent the next year hosting Shabbat Salaam interfaith dinners across the US before people requested that we sell our foods. Shortly after being accepted into the TED Residency for our "Interfaith Meat" and "Shabbat Salaam" events, I moved to New York City and founded Abe's Eats.
Despite being in a saturated market, there are characteristics that separate us from our competition in food. These characteristics also happen to be intertwined with our triple bottom line.
As a former public health practitioner, I knew that if I wanted to sell animal-based meat products, I wanted to make sure our carbon foot print was the least it could possibly be. So Abe's made a commitment to exclusively work with local farmers and ranchers, competing against ~80% of the "American" grass-fed products are in fact imported from South America. Our farmers and ranchers would have to also follow regenerative agriculture techniques to use their skills to help rebuild topsoil - one of the most important tools in our fight against climate change - and help Abe's create positive ecological impact. Therefore, sourcing locally and following regenerative agriculture became our environmental impact. Our commitment to the environment wasn't internal. We have joined the Climate Collaborative alongside other companies, are studying how to apply Sustainable Development Goal #12, and other ways to be better from an ecological standpoint.
As a business that began out of the need to help foster interfaith unity and inclusivity, our social impact was well-defined and intertwined within our organizational structure. Whether it is by organizing Shabbat Salaam dinners or Yalla Yalla! tours, our programs build on a mission to create a more inclusive world that foster interfaith unity and dialogue. It is part of our identity. It is also our social impact. Most recently, we have begun teaming up with other interfaith organizations to co-produce products and programs. We have also set aside a 5% fund to donate to organizations that are helping to promote this social impact across the United States and around the world. Our latest Community Partners include Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom and the United Nations.
Above all (of the triple bottom line measurements), I believe the most important thing we can build on is the economic impact a business can create. Offering someone a job gives the employee dignity and self worth. It can transform an entire family (and community!) and push people to become their best selves. Abe's is nowhere near where I want to be from an economic perspective, but I hope we can change the lives of many people for the better very soon. In the near future, I am incredibly excited to partner with a New York-based kitchen that employs people with disabilities. It is in this kitchen that we will produce our hummus products. From start to finish, I hope each of Abe's products can be locally sourced and produced. We made this commitment with our Interfaith Meat and we will continue to do so with every product after.
While some see applying a triple bottom line approach to their business as distracting from the bottom line/profit, Abe's believes it is necessary in today's world. Not only are we doing the right thing by helping the environment, the economy, and our consumers come together, but we are helping build true value that can impact generations to come. That is priceless.
Abe's Eats Founder