Inside Impossible Foods: Our Shared Values
By Malaika Murphy-Sierra, Internal Communications Specialist at Impossible Foods
Impossible Foods has an ambitious mission(opens in a new tab): To drastically reduce humanity’s destructive impact on the global environment by completely replacing the use of animals as a food production technology. We plan to accomplish this mission by creating the world’s most delicious, nutritious, affordable and sustainable meat, fish and dairy foods from plants -- and then letting people around the world choose our products over Old Meat.
Today, our flagship product -- Impossible™ Burger -- is available in more than 11,000 grocery stores and 20,000 restaurants in the United States, Canada and key Asian markets. We’re rolling out new products, including Impossible™ Sausage Made from Plants, which is now available in more than 15,000 restaurants in the United States and Hong Kong. We’ve grown to a team of over 600 people, including about 150 scientists and engineers, who are working on prototypes including milk, steak, fish and chicken.
In order to accelerate the transition to a sustainable food system, we need to scale more quickly than any other company in history, working efficiently across departments, buildings, cultures and continents. But we don’t want to scale up at any cost. We want to achieve our mission while creating a new company ethos -- one where kindness, responsibility and curiosity reign. So in the same way we’re scaling up our manufacturing operations and opening offices around the world, we’re creating scalable systems within my team, internal communications. Most importantly, we’re making it as easy as possible for employees -- from the Old Guard who started in 2011 to thousands of employees who will join over the upcoming years -- to understand and practice our key values:
Lead with heart
Love what you do and care about the people around you. (Seriously!) Be kind and generous. Assume others have good intentions. Communicate with empathy and honesty, including when you are providing feedback. Share and welcome new information and ideas, particularly those that challenge convention. Kindness, empathy and honesty make the difference between a bunch of people who happen to work at the same corporation and a team coming together to tackle the world’s most formidable challenge.
Stand up for what’s right
Stand up against injustice, intolerance, and racism when you see it. Build and nurture diverse teams that reflect our global mission. Empower every single individual to fully harness their unique talents, personalities and perspectives. Be an ally, advocate, coach, mentor and sponsor. Recognize, mitigate and eradicate unconscious bias. We are a stronger company when we are informed by diverse backgrounds, experiences and points of view.
Think like scientists
Embrace your curiosity. Challenge assumptions. Recognize that there’s a lot we still need to discover and figure out to achieve our mission. Require evidence and reject dogma. Question the conventional wisdom in science, food and the business world -- until evidence proves otherwise. Discover the truth with a scientific approach to everything, across all departments.
Go for 10^12
We need to replace 10^12 lbs of animal products to achieve our mission. 10^11 lbs won’t save the world. Being a successful food company isn’t enough. Even being the most successful food company in history isn’t enough. We need to grow exponentially, doubling in scale every year for the next 15. That means not only growing the scale of our impact and our business every year, but scaling faster and faster every year. We need to keep investing in exponential growth, and betting on our success well before a return is guaranteed. What feels big now, in 5 years or even in 10 years will look tiny in our rearview mirror.
Go for the most ambitious goals. Find a way through, over or around the obstacles. Bias towards action. When in doubt, take initiative. Don’t let fear of failure or criticism stop you. Almost everything we need to do will be risky, hard and controversial -- but given the urgency of our mission, the opportunity cost of avoiding risk, delaying action or thinking small is the biggest risk of all. We won’t make 10^12 impact without repeatedly trying things that we know might fail -- and often they will. Creating crazy-ambitious experiments -- and learning when they fail -- is good science, good business and the only way we will succeed.
Our hope is that articulating our core values makes Impossible Foods the best place to work on Earth. Whether we are working at a social distance in the San Francisco Bay Area during COVID-19, opening satellite offices, or meeting new colleagues for the first time in our New Hire Orientation, we want to put our values first -- and while making Earth great again.