When Benefit Corporation, or B Corp, was in the market to open its first regional office, Boulder was the natural first choice.
With 44 Colorado businesses officially inducted into B Corp, the state is a national leader in a movement once exclusive to a few stand-alone corporations (Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s come to mind). Official B Corp businesses are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their employees, suppliers, community, consumers, and environment.
“We wouldn’t consider ourselves a Boulder-based business,” says Matt Conforti of B Corp, “the businesses we work with benefit the world at large.”
This was the vision of the B Corp founders, who sold their internationally popular clothing company only to have the new management strip the company of its employees, mission, and good-doing. Among several missions, B Corp was founded on the idea that a company can maintain its mission over time; that a transition of leadership won’t wipe away goals that benefit social or environmental change.
As part of the initiation process, businesses take an online survey that evaluates their social and environmental impact as well as employee lifestyle. Score an 80 or above and you’re in (granted you’ve already met the legal and performance requirements). Any business can take the survey and receive a score; scores will only become public when the company becomes an official B Corp business.
“It’s part of the transparency that makes businesses accountable,” says Conforti, “what you can measure, you can manage.”
The goal of B Corp’s Boulder office is to make Colorado the leader in sustainable business as well as acting as the nonprofit’s guinea pig, Conforti admits. The Boulder office is an experiment, the work that comes out of it will pave the way for future regional offices across the country as B Corp grows.
B Corp businesses benefit from being part of a community that is creating a business model for all future businesses, engages in opportunities for members to improve business practices further (and not to mention a whole lot of positive PR). Here are a few of our hometown corporations taking a pledge to make sure their business practices are centered around making a positive impact on our world.
(Company, Impact Report score)
Namaste Solar, 145
Namaste Solar is an employee-owned company that designs, installs, and maintains solar electric systems. Since its debut in 2005, the company has installed more solar electric panels in Colorado than anyone else. In the office, compost and recycling is encouraged everywhere from the desks to the restrooms and the company recycles everything from scrap metal to the shrink wrap used in solar panel shipping–they’ve streamlined their waste to just 15% of incoming materials through their commitment. Workers are paid 25% above minimum wage, the business is 50% employee-owned, and employees are offered time off to volunteer. The LEED Gold recipient donates 20% of all post-tax revenue to nonprofits that directly impact Colorado.
Outdoor enthusiasts, Kim and Demetri (Coup) Coupounas , command their peers to “do more with less” and make it possible through their line of eco-friendly, lightweight (yet hearty) outdoor equipment. GoLite‘s philosophy is not only to create minimalist products that require less materials and encourage patrons to repair equipment rather than replace, but also to enable positive experiences in the outdoors. One positive experience leads to many and therefore, more time in nature. The more time you spend in a place, the more willing you are to protect it.
Bhakti Chai, 90
Besides producing delicious, ready-to-drink chai out of local ingredients, Bhakti is dedicated to creating social change focused on women, girls, and the environment. “At Bhakti Chai, we believe that it’s the job of a company to do more than focus solely on profit. We were built on the ideal of using our business as a force for change,” is written in the company’s mission statement. The tea producer sources Fair Trade ingredients and transforms them into product using zero waste manufacturing and donates 10% of profits to social causes.
Impact Hub, 87
Impact HUB harbors a unique opportunity to spread the B Corp mission to many local businesses, many of them start-ups. The Hub’s space “provides a productive workspace, effective programming, and a collaborative network to accelerate its members’ efforts towards creating positive impact in the world.” With so many businesses under one roof, Impact Hub’s B Corp certification inspires its own affiliates to base their businesses around social and environmental responsibility and ensure employees align with that mission. Impact Hub’s lowest paid employees still receive 50% above minimum wage, 80% of health insurance premiums are paid for, and 50% of the company is locally owned. Seventy-five perfect of office materials are made from recycled materials and their low-flow toilets and faucets reduce water waste.
Walden Hyde, 83
The Boulder-based brand strategy and design firm is dedicated to making sustainability the norm. Their powerful creative campaigns drive positive change in mainstream culture by highlighting sustainability in their clients’ products and services–in turn, driving their competitors to evaluate their own sustainability practices. Walden Hyde employees enjoy 26 paid personal days every year and the company offers reduced fees for low-income clients. They help other businesses brand themselves around sustainability while ensuring their own waste reduction programs.
Rally Software, 81
Rally’s cloud-based solutions help businesses align software development and strategic business objectives, facilitating collaboration, increasing transparency, and automating manual processes. Rally’s business is centered around the belief that for-profit business can – and should – be a force for social good. They give back, live their values, protect the planet by giving preference to local and sustainable suppliers, and donating over $1 million to charity. Seventy-percent of waste is recycled or composted. Employees are offered 20 paid hours off for community service, and Rally-paid EcoPasses,
Get your company’s Impact Report score and take the B Corp pledge.