Kristin is the Programs Director for CABA, Climate XChange’s Boston-based business association with over 150 members that mobilizes local businesses to take targeted action on climate change. Join CABA Today
As Earth Day approaches, we want to celebrate businesses that are integrating societal and environmental priorities into their everyday sustainability practices. From CABA member businesses to large corporations, the private sector has become a leading force in climate action and incorporating climate pledges into their organization’s mission. B Corp certification standards are set by the nonprofit B Lab, and certification can be obtained by massive brands and small local businesses.
A number of businesses show their commitment to environmental pledges by certifying as a Benefit Corporation (B Corp). These businesses balance purpose and profit by making a commitment to “consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment.” By prioritizing these goals, B Corps are becoming local and global leaders, using business, “as a force for good.”
Businesses are rated on “how transparent its practices are for customers, how its decisions and practices affect the environment, and how actively the company works to improve the communities” they are a part of. With questions like, “Has the company worked to develop social and environmental standards for its industry?” to “What percent of energy used is from renewable on-site energy production?”
Here are some examples of B Corps Doing amazing work
Seventh Generation Cleaning Products are on our radar and they are widely available, easily found in CVS and Whole Foods. As a consumer, we know them as the leading brand of green household, and personal care products, delivering products that you can “feel good about.” But, what does that mean, exactly?
Their mission is to inspire a more conscious and sustainable world by being an authentic force for positive change. And as a B Corp, all of their efforts are tallied, recognized, recorded and available for consumers like us to see how they are implementing positive practices. We know they seek to inspire conscious consumption and also create a just and equitable world and we see how they are doing it. For example, Seventh Generation makes sure everyone involved in creating their products from the lavender farmers that provide scent to their laundry detergent to the distributors are treated with the highest levels of respect. They also have a series of sustainability goals, including making all of their products from 100% renewable plant and mineral sources, and reducing our overall Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) 80% by 2050 from a 2005 baseline.
As we just celebrated the first day of spring, we would be remiss to not mention an iconic ice cream company, Ben and Jerry’s. As we think about the mouth-watering Cherry Garcia or Chocolate Fudge Brownie, what also inspires us to pick up a pint is knowing they are a Certified B Corporation. Since its inception in 1988, Ben and Jerry’s was one of the first companies to place a “social mission in equal importance to its products and economic emissions.” They seek to use their company “to further the cause of Peace and Justice”, and to “Make ice cream that’s aligned with their values,” taking the lead on sustainable dairy practices, sourcing high-quality ingredients including milk and cream from family farmers who do not treat their cows with the synthetic hormone rBG.
With businesses of all sizes around the globe joining the B Corps movement, we wanted to speak with Anne at Staach. Anne classifies herself as a B Corps enthusiast.
Since its founding in 2006, Staach has made modern handcrafted furniture using only sustainable methods and materials. They have earned recognition as “Best for the Environment” in 2014 and 2015 for their exemplary practices.
We spoke with Anne Sherman, Designer and Director of Operations & Sustainability at Staach:
“Becoming a Certified B Corporation has been beneficial on so many levels. From an accountability standpoint, the B Impact Assessment is a powerful tool to review our practices and measure ourselves against globally recognized standards. The results show us areas of strength and weakness and build better business strategies. Meanwhile, plugging into the supportive and collaborative community of Certified B Corps gives the opportunity to share best practices and use our collective actions to bring meaningful impact to the communities in which we operate.”
While their products are sustainably sourced, giving us piece of mind, it doesn’t hurt that their work is beautiful. They show how being conscious to environmental impact does not have to come at the expense of quality, design and aesthetics.
Sustainability has grown from an issue of little concern to being a top priority for entrepreneurs, even beginning to impact day-to-day practices of small businesses. At a broad level, sustainability’s role within an organization is bigger than simply turning off the lights or recycling. Sustainability practices can often result in a positive financial outcome for the organization if methods are incorporated into strategic planning.
While the tactics taken by any industry, business, or individual owner may be unique to a given circumstance, investing in sustainable and ethical practices can have significant financial returns. Member Business, Teak Media is a purpose-driven, public relations agency dedicated to increasing recognition and revenue for nonprofit organizations and sustainable businesses. Some of their clients include the New England Aquarium, promoting their research and climate action lecture series, along with the Recycling Partnership, a national nonprofit transforming recycling in towns across America.
Jackie Herskovitz Russell, President and Founder of Teak said, “We used the B Corp certification as a validator. We were already engaged in ethical, sustainable practices. By certifying as a B Corp, you show that you are in business for the right reasons.”
BlueWave is more than just clean solar power. They are a mission-driven company committed to transparency, sustainability, and improving the lives of others. They involve local communities in their solar projects, educating them on the benefits of renewables.
We heard from Mark Sylvia, the Managing Director of People and Civic Engagement at BlueWave Solar:
“Our focus and our mission is to bring solar to every community, generate local clean energy, and generate savings for customers. As part of that, we feel very strongly about our commitment to the community, improving access, and supporting our environment. Our company has grown as a result of that. We want to make sure our values are reflected [in how we conduct ourselves], not only to the public, but also how we treat our employees, and how we conduct the business.”
Tech Networks of Boston is one of the founding members of CABA. They seek to create higher quality jobs and improve the quality of life in our communities.
“Tech Networks of Boston was founded with the goal of doing capitalism differently. We wanted to grow our local community and support local non-profits, all while being sustainable. As we started developing our business, we realized that there was a whole community out there also trying to put people and planet before profit. Once we knew about the B Corp community, it was an easy decision to get certified as a B Corp and operate as a Certified Benefit Corporation in Massachusetts.” – Tuan Pham, CEO of Tech Networks
Trillium Asset Management, the oldest investment advisor exclusively focused on sustainable and responsible investing is also a CABA member businesses and a B Corp.
CABA is Climate XChange’s Boston-based business association with over 150 members that mobilizes local businesses to take targeted action on climate change. We help member businesses with sustainability, resiliency, and advocacy, and welcome them into our community of shared values. If you want to begin the B Corp process, or want to sit down with our staff to discuss sustainable sourcing, energy efficiency, switching to renewables, carbon pricing, or composting, we encourage you to reach out. Let’s work together to build an inclusive and sustainable economy that benefits everyone.