Behind the B: How B Corps Are Advocating for the Spread of Positive Impact
March 17, 2022
B Corps Collaborate to Enhance Their Communities, Build Inclusive Workforces, and Reduce Climate Impact
The companies in the Certified B Corporation community not only seek to change their internal business policies to increase their positive impact, they also reach out to develop partnerships and publicly advocate for broader adoption of practices that improve the lives of people and take better care of our planet. By creating community connections, enhancing worker development, and sharing best practices to better protect our environment, B Corps advocate to create the most value for their stakeholders — the workers and community around them, and the planet that we call home.
As the more than 4,700 B Corps worldwide demonstrate, it is possible to run a more compassionate, accountable, and impactful business while also creating a profit. During B Corp Month, they celebrate what sets them apart from other companies and share that the B Corp logo isn’t just for show. It’s a mark of a community that seeks to change the world by using business as a force for good — and publicly sharing how and why that should be the norm.
Earning and maintaining B Corp Certification includes a commitment to creating a ripple of change, by acting in line with their values, sharing with others, and advocating more broadly for others to join. This can look different at each company and in different parts of the world, but can include partnerships and activations that strengthen and give back to their communities, value the well-being, training and development of workers, and not only care for the planet but put the Earth first in processes and decisions. The examples that follow show how B Corps are acting every day to spread their impact and, in turn, benefit their community, workers, and environment while continually seeking to improve that work.
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A Partnership to Support Marginalized Youths and People Who Are Homeless
Get Lagos Now, a digital agency and B Corp, partners with fellow Portland, Oregon, business Strategic IT for a citywide e-recycling event to collect working laptops, tablets, and cellphones. Collected items are refurbished and donated to local nonprofits that help and support people who are homeless in the community, says Michelle Lagos, CEO and Founder of Get Lagos Now. Building on the community aspect, other Portland companies and organizations support the event, and some participate on-site at the collections with speakers and tables of information.
“Employees and contractors from both companies volunteer at the event,” says Lagos, who founded the agency in 2010 with a mission that incorporates community support, mentoring, and volunteerism for homeless youths and adults. “During the rest of the year, our company also is taking care of marketing, advertising, PR, and onsite meetings and the donations of the refurbished equipment to the local recipient nonprofits.”
Get Lagos Now donates 5% of its profits to local nonprofits each year. Beyond her company’s community involvement, Lagos serves on the Advisory Board for New Avenues for Youth, a Portland nonprofit that supports marginalized and homeless youths (between the ages of 15 to 23) with career training, housing, counseling, and other supports.
Lifting Challengers and Fueling Positive Hometown Impact
Over the past year, Toronto-based marketing agency 5&Vine started to treat itself as a client by investing in startups and incubating ideas, including The Challenger Brand: a new quarterly project that includes releasing a limited-design sustainable T-shirt, with profits used for no-strings grants that go to community organizations.
“We developed The Challenger Brand to scale the impact of hometown Toronto Challengers, motivate our community to embrace a Challenger mindset, and positively advance our world,” says 5&Vine Founder Rahul Raj. “From sustainability to accessibility, massive teams to solo endeavors, being a Challenger comes down to one thing: Identifying something that could be better, for people and planet, and doing something to change it.”
It’s an extension of the B Corp’s work to help socially minded clients market their products and services to reflect their values and beliefs, he says, and its commitment to supporting Toronto-based organizations that serve the community.
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Building a More Diverse and Knowledgeable Workforce and Community
Building a knowledgeable and diverse workforce is a part of the company culture at AMS Fulfillment, which provides fulfillment and distribution services to consumer products companies. The B Corp’s 600 employees — at sites in Los Angeles, Pennsylvania, and Delaware — have access to paid personal betterment and professional training during work hours.
“Long ago, we recognized that success in the workplace for many individuals requires ongoing training programs focused on areas where there are challenges,” CEO Jay Catlin says. “Offering paid courses during work hours allows all of our employees the opportunity for betterment. This has been a major step in equity at AMS.”
The B Corp also partners with community organizations that serve underserved communities and connects with job-seekers through that work. Partner organizations include the Sheriff’s Department Youth Activity League, which provides opportunities to adolescents; Five Keys Charter Schools and Programs, which serves the homeless; New Horizons, which serves individuals with special needs; and the Joint Venture Program, which operates the Prison Inmate Labor Initiative.
“It is the nature of our industry to be a great starting point for unskilled entry and re-entry level employees to quickly pick up the skills they need to be successful. This lends our recruiting efforts to attracting a very diverse population,” says Ken Wiseman, Chief Workforce Development Officer. “Our challenge is to look within our company at areas such as retention, promotional opportunities, and performance coaching to make sure we are creating and maintaining equity in all areas.”
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Providing Resources for Climate Action and Sustainability
With the knowledge that buildings play a large role in the climate crisis — generating almost 40% of the world’s annual CO2 emissions through operations, material, and construction — Moye White LLP helped develop a collaborative publication that looks to address climate change through changes to the built environment.
The Building Change Handbook came about through Moye White’s involvement with the Healthy Colorado Initiatives, a partnership between The Colorado Forum and The Nature Conservancy. As a Denver law firm and B Corp that specializes in commercial transactions, litigation, and real estate, Moye White tapped into that experience while collaborating on the handbook and partnering to build awareness and use of market-based solutions that reduce carbon impact, improve well-being for building occupants, and generate a return for building owners.
“The primary audiences here are smaller landlords, tenants, and developers who may have heard about electrification or net zero, but are unsure how to get there or what it may mean,” says Bobby Dishell, Associate Attorney at Moye White. “The handbook incorporates real-world examples of designing, constructing, and transitioning buildings to net zero with comments from developers and occupants.”
Dishell says the handbook can be a useful resource for B Corps and other businesses that can change their operations and act to address the climate crisis. “As businesses grow or on a larger portfolio scale, identifying a goal and working to implement it over time can make it easier to reach net zero,” he says, noting it’s helpful to set small, achievable goals that contribute to the broader mission of reducing carbon emissions and use.
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