B12Give is Canada’s first on-demand delivery app that provides clients with a simple yet effective solution to eliminating surplus food waste within their business operations. Taking action to improve the world is at the core of their mission, vision, and goals. Currently, they are working towards eliminating all avoidable food waste across Canada and redistributing 100% of it to community members in need by 2030.
Tony Colley is the founder and CEO of B12Give. Since its launch in 2019, the company has had significant success in its ability to combine two key factors: innovation and sustainability. Tony’s initial aim was not to limit the behaviors of retailers, but rather to capture and track their issues. Through his user-friendly app, this can be achieved in an efficient and straightforward manner, consisting of:
Step 1: Downloading the ‘B12Give - Retailers’ app on the App Store or through Google-Play
Step 2: Creating a company account
Step 3: Placing orders for pickup when a surplus of food waste has been created
B12Give’s team will complete the remainder of the process, which involves picking up the food and redistributing it to local community shelters and food pantries. From the time of receipt, the process takes a maximum of two hours.
B12Give's inspiration came from Tony Colley's personal experience of finding himself food insecure in 2016. At this point, he had no stable job, no incoming revenues, and had $278 to his name. His interest in Canada's 31 billion dollar food waste issue was sparked by an article he stumbled upon in 2015. Tony was surprised to hear that such an issue was happening in Canada, as it had never been brought to his attention before. Six months later, he landed a job position with an event staffing agency. From here Tony was assigned to a catering company where he took on the position of an event manager. The first event he worked had over 100 boxed lunches leftover. He took it upon himself to take the leftover food and further redistribute it to a nearby homeless shelter. For over a year and a half, he continued this practice until one day he decided to purchase a food delivery bag to make rescuing the food easier. It was at this point that the idea dawned on him.
Tony’s business venture began to gain press from news outlets like CBC News and Global News, providing them with a national presence. A week later, the COVID-19 pandemic forced everything to be shut down which amplified food insecurity. During this time, Tony took the opportunity to build out an app and relaunch B12Give in February of 2021.
Canada has a 49 Billion dollar food waste issue which generates 56.5 million tonnes of methane gas. B12Give has created a new way for catering services, grocery stores, and restaurants to redistribute their food waste to food insecure individuals throughout the greater Toronto area.
Tony Colley and the B12Give team continue to stress the importance and the positive impact of for-profit social enterprises on societal issues, such as food insecurity and climate action. Through this method of allocating business, the company has been able to maximize profits to help their growth and expansion, ultimately reaching more people and helping them in more ways.
In spite of having been affected by the pandemic, B12Give has had a very positive impact on Toronto's food insecure communities. The initiative has so far been able to redistribute 25,000 lbs of food, feed more than 15,000 people, and divert more than 76,000 lbs of greenhouse gases all since its startup in 2019!
B12Give runs as a for-profit social enterprise, meaning they are in business to make a profit, but the service that they are offering is to minimize social issues. Specifically, they are targeting food insecurity, climate action, economic growth, and reduced inequalities.
With the popularity of for-profit social enterprises rising and the widespread success of this business model, the growth of B12Give is aiding in the success of this model. In the coming years, it is hopeful that more and more companies will adopt this type of business model to help work towards the SDGs. When talking about the benefits of his business model over being a non-profit, Tony said, “They are in business to raise money. I'm in business to raise money. The only difference is that I don't have a cap on how much money I can raise, where they do''. This business model enables unlimited growth potential for the company.
With the expansion of food delivery and the surplus of drivers who are already in the food delivery space, B12Give entered the market at the perfect time. B12Give directly reduces food insecurity with their service of delivering food that would have been wasted into accessible food for food insecure individuals.
With Tony Colley being an African Canadian male and a member of the LGBTQ+ community, he knows what discriminatory practices look like within businesses. This is why B12Give also focuses on hiring members of marginalized communities like Bipoc individuals, to allow them to grow and have a place in the company.
B12Give focuses on how its practices and operations can help create positive impacts on society and the environment. Since the startup, they have remained true to this vision, and strive to strengthen it each day. They begin by emphasizing the importance of helping the community and those within who are experiencing food insecurity. In Tony’s words, “surplus edible food should not be going anywhere except someone’s stomach”. Food insecurity affects one in seven Canadians, and 1.45 million individuals sought assistance through food banks last year! Tony feels the most fulfilled seeing the food he rescued land in the stomachs of these individuals, as he is helping to reduce the stats.
In addition to this great societal contribution, Tony also informed us of the environmental benefits. Currently, eight percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from food waste caused by humans. By taking part in a food rescue program, retailers are helping to bring greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere and lower this percentage. As retailers do so, they can cut their cost of waste up to 20%! Ultimately, communities, retailers, and the world will benefit greatly from taking measures to manage their food waste.
Tony Colley, CEO
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Toronto, Ontario, CA
Business Website: https://www.b12give.ca/
Year Founded: 2019
Number of Employees: 11 to 50
B12Give is Canada's first food redistribution app that helps retailers eliminate avoidable food waste in their operations. This food rescue program takes surplus food waste and distributes it to community members in need. Their ultimate goal is to close the gap between surplus food and food insecurity across Canada!