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Raising the Bar: Tanka Bar

Native American Natural Foods, creator of the Tanka Bar, ranks among companies creating the most positive social and environmental impact worldwide.
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Recently Native American Natural Foods, creator of the Tanka Bar, ranked among companies creating the most positive social and environmental impact worldwide, according to B Lab, a nonprofit organization with a mission to serve a global movement of people using business as a force for good.

B Lab is dedicated to building a global community of Certified B Corporations that meet the highest standards of verified, overall social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability. B Corp certification is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk. There are just more than 1,600 Certified B Corps from 42 countries, representing more than 120 industries.

Learn more about B Corps here:

Native American Natural Foods earned a B Score of 122, well surpassing the average score of 80 on B Lab's B Impact Assessment. The company’s total qualified it as a "B Corp Best for the World" honoree in late 2016. The comprehensive assessment evaluates a company's impact on its workers, community, and the environment.

"We are so honored to be named to this prestigious list," said Karlene Hunter, CEO of Native American Natural Foods. "As a triple bottom line business, it is sometimes a struggle to keep our mission and goals in the forefront. So an honor like this one is very gratifying."

Native American Natural Foods has been a Certified B Corporation since 2015. The "B Corp Best for the World" honor was announced at the Best for the World Gathering at the University of California, Berkeley's Haas School of Business, on September 8, and the full list of honorees was announced in B Magazine issue that month.

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To qualify as a B Corporation, B Lab evaluates companies on how they treat employees, Tilsen told Jim Kent with Lakota Country Times, “and in our case because it’s agriculture—how you treat the animals and the environment that you work with.”

Based on the traditional Lakota food wasna, a mix of dried buffalo meat and berries, Tanka Bars bring Native American culture alive with every bite. Native American Natural Foods, the company that makes Tanka Bars, was founded in 2005 on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota by Karlene Hunter, Oglala Sioux, and Mark Tilsen. “Our decision to create a buffalo-based product was no accident,” Hunter says on the tankabar.com website. “The history of the Buffalo Nation and the Lakota Nation is so intertwined as to almost be indistinguishable.” According to powwows.com, Hunter and her partner created the company to “positively impact our Oglala Lakota Nation. We have our company located on the Pine Ridge Reservation, employ Native American people, recirculate money on the reservation which is the 3rd-poorest county in the U.S. and buy as much Native American raw ingredients as we can find.”