4 Companies Making Positive Impacts Through Their Products and Services
As 2021 recipients of Best for the World™ for Customers, these companies are adding value to their customers’ lives while supporting the greater good. While it may seem like any product is adding value to the lives of those who choose to purchase it, these businesses have a model for how they operate that changes the game for those who are often left out. By increasing access to banking services or democratizing financial services, for example, these Certified B Corporations are offering a model for systems change through how they run their businesses.
Best for the World B Corps are companies that score in the top 5% in their corresponding size group in one of the five impact areas evaluated on the B Impact Assessment: community, customers, environment, governance, and workers.
Here’s how four B Corps in the U.S. and Canada are making positive impacts on their customers — and how other businesses can follow their leads.
Manitoba | Credit Union
As a financial cooperative collectively owned by over 125,000 Manitobans, Assiniboine Credit Union (ACU) keeps people at the heart of its purpose. Because members are the owners of the credit union, ACU is accountable to members for its performance, impact, and quality of advice and service it provides. With a vision of a sustainable future for all, this B Corp has embedded purpose into all aspects of governance, policy, and measures of success.
ACU actively removes barriers to banking for its member-owners as part of its commitment to financial empowerment and resilience. This includes:
- Branches in underserved communities and in a local high school
- Work with community partners to provide access to financial services for unbanked individuals
- A home-ownership program for Indigenous families
- Microloans for foreign-trained professionals to get their credentials recognized
- A faith-compliant mortgage in partnership with the Manitoba Islamic Association
- Financial literacy workshops
- Meaningful engagement in the journey of truth and reconciliation
- A Community Financial Centre that incorporates a specialized team providing advice and service to local nonprofits, social enterprises, co-operatives, and small businesses in support of their mission.
Placing customers and the communities they live in at the heart of its business purpose is foundational to ACU’s business model. ACU recommends all organizations ask themselves how they can center customers and make products and services more available and equitable to broader customer and community groups.
Engaging with its member-owners and community partners has helped ACU identify ways to enhance the well-being and resilience of its members, employees, communities, and the environment. Ensuring employees are informed and inspired champions of ACU’s purpose has meant full integration of the credit union’s values and helped achieve its measures of success as a values-based financial co-operative, and is a practice other organizations can model.
New Jersey | Independent Family-Wealth Management Practice
Common Interests is proud to have no investment minimum and an hourly fee that is tiered based on its clients’ ability to pay, and seeks high-impact investment opportunities with low minimums that are available to both affluent and non-affluent clients.
By partnering with new sustainable-investing data providers, Common Interests has been able to build new tools to increase the level of service it provides to its clients while customizing their investment portfolios to their values in a way that integrates with its investment management technology to streamline its business. The Common Interests Values Questionnaire is the starting point for these conversations, as it gives the team a way to connect clients’ investments directly with their values, and report back on how the investments are performing in relation to the values that matter most to them in addition to their accounts’ financial performance.
Since its last recertification, Common Interests changed its broker/dealer affiliation to align its entire supply chain with the B Corp methodology. Along with raising its scores, this also enhanced Common Interests’ ability to serve clients and build its business.
Meet the 2021 Best for the World B Corps
The B Corps named as 2021 Best for the World have B Impact Assessment scores that rank among the top 5% in their business size group for the five impact areas: community, customers, environment, governance, and workers. See who made the lists, which are viewable by impact area and then broken down by company size and home country.
Ontario | Boutique Strategic Advisory Firm
This B Corp works with tools designed to coach diverse cultures and learning styles. Halcyon Consulting Group excels in strategic sustainable business model innovation and believes in building businesses for economic and social good. Creating and growing businesses that will excel in the carbon neutral economy demands superior process and change management. The team develops tools designed to respect all abilities and learning styles. This approach shortens the learning curve and increases implementation success.
Other businesses can follow Halcyon’s lead by ensuring that their communication respects the individual learning needs of their client or customers. As many business systems have systemic ableism, businesses should champion everyone with visible and invisible challenges. For strategic advisors especially, this is crucial to ensuring clients’ success.
Texas | Youth Mental Health App
This Texas-based B Corp is providing tools to support the mental health and social-emotional well-being of children. OneSeventeen Media’s app, reThinkIt!, is a digital mental health platform using chatbot assistants, live chat counselors, and an evidence-based “early detection” assessment to help kids ages 10 to 15 better process difficult emotions, understand their own behaviors, and navigate the behaviors of others.
Over the past 20 years, this B Corp’s work has focused on youths that have been historically marginalized and unheard within school systems. The company’s results are positive: Students are accepting responsibility more frequently, communicating more about how they are feeling, and taking the time to share their side of the story. Then, the adults who support them can make sure students learn about the benefits of positive personal choices and behaviors, all through the app’s platform.
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