GOOD

The B Corps that Make Social Impact a Priority Without Consumer Pressure

B Labs uses hard data to assess impact, rewarding results, not marketing. That's why so many B-2-B firms made the list.

B Lab released a list of the “best companies for the world” yesterday, drawn from the top 10 percent of the 513 certified B Corporations the social enterprise-focused nonprofit assesses every year. The list takes into account how a company does business as much as what their business is, studying firms' environmental impact, how they treat and compensate employees, and how they interact with and support their communities.


If you haven’t heard of all these companies, that’s not surprising, particularly because many are business-to-business firms that don’t market to the public. These businesses deserve twice the recognition because they don’t face the same public pressure to go green. Of the 19 companies that took the title “best for overall impact,” more than a third are business-to-business. Another third also provide some mix of consumer- and commercial-focused offerings.

While being better for the environment helps Method Home Products—also on the list—sell its soaps, New Resource Bank doesn’t have an obvious incentive to focus on funding better businesses. In fact, its commitment probably makes its business harder, but it does it anyway. NRB lends to businesses like most other banks do, but earned its slot on the B Corp “best” list because it uses financing to spur more sustainable practices in clients. “This means helping them to unlock the economic and social value of becoming a more sustainable company,” says CEO Vince Siciliano. “We do this through referrals to consultants and our own industry expertise,” which then lets NRB underwrite better loans while also playing the role of adviser. Siciliano and his team chose to take a sustainable tack because social impact is important to them individually. It also happens to give them a leg up as lender of choice to social enterprises.

Financial services companies like NRB did particularly well on the B Corp best list, with two other investment firms also getting the nod: Next Street and Partnership Capital Growth. Real estate services had a strong showing, too, because those B2B companies like Green Building Services and Re:Vision Architecture can thrive helping other companies clean up.

PREM Real Estate also made the cut. On it's face, it's a typical real estate firm, but the company builds in sustainable practices for itself and its clients while treating employees right. That kind of blended value is rewarded by the B Corp impact metrics.

There appears to be a trickle-up effect: More than ever, consumers want to buy from companies with lower carbon footprints. So those companies need to make their buildings greener, or reduce their products’ environmental footprints—and for that, they often turn to B2B B Corps. “More than 75 percent of U.S. GDP is business, so we can all make a big difference by choosing business partners that deliver better services to us and deliver better value to their employees, community and environment,” says Jay Coen Gilbert, a B Lab co-founder. “It’s a win-win-win.”

His list is worth perusing because, unlike other lists that reward flash and green rhetoric, B Lab measures results and brings us companies that toil away on principal even when nobody’s looking. You’ll also find plenty of companies that we’ve covered on GOOD before, so have a look at the list below or in full at B Lab’s site [PDF].

For Overall Impact: Better World Books, Global Green Energy Corp, Green Building Services, Larry’s Beans, Method Home Products, Moving Forward Education, Namaste Solar, New Resource Bank, Next Street, Partnership Capital Growth, Piedmont Biofuels, PREM Group, Re:Vision Architecture, RecycleBank, South Mountain Company, Southern Energy Management, SQA Pharmacy Services, The Redwoods Group, Virginia Community Capital.

For the Environment: Brightworks, Bullfrog Power, Ecovations, gDiapers, Global Green Energy Corp., GoLite, Green Building Services, Guayaki Sustainable Rainforest Products, IceStone, Larry’s Beans, Method Products, Namaste Solar, New Leaf Paper, Patagonia, Piedmont Biofuels, Preserve, Re:Vision Architecture, Salt Spring Coffee, Southern Energy Management, Sustainable Solutions Unlimited.

For the Community: Agora Management Corporation, Cap Global, Care2.com, Change.org, Ecovations, FMYI, Hershey Cause, Ideal Network, Mal Warwick Associates, Moving Forward Education, New Resource Bank, Next Street, PeaceWorks Technology Solutions, PREM Group, SQA Pharmacy Services, thedatabank, The Redwoods Group, Virginia Community Capital.

For Workers: Change.org, Exponent Partners, First Affirmative Financial Network, First Rate, Inc., Heller Consulting, King Arthur Flour Company, Namaste Solar, Partnership Capital Growth, PeaceWorks Technology Solutions, Rally Software, Re:Vision Architecture, Relevance, South Mountain Company, Sungevity, The Caprock Group, thedatabank, inc.

Photo courtesy of B Lab.

Articles
via Honor Africans / Twitter

The problem with American Sign Language (ASL) is that over 500,000 people in the U.S. use it, but the country has over 330 million people.

So for those with hearing loss, the chances of coming into contact with someone who uses the language are rare. Especially outside of the deaf community.

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Looking back, the year 1995 seems like such an innocent time. America was in the midst of its longest streak of peace and prosperity. September 11, 2001 was six years away, and the internet didn't seem like much more than a passing fad.

Twenty-four years ago, 18 million U.S. homes had modem-equipped computers, 7 million more than the year before. Most logged in through America Online where they got their email or communicated with random strangers in chat rooms.

According to a Pew Research study that year, only 32% of those who go online say they would miss it "a lot" if no longer available.

Imagine what those poll numbers would look like if the question was asked today.

RELATED: Bill and Melinda Gates had a surprising answer when asked about a 70 percent tax on the wealthiest Americans

"Few see online activities as essential to them, and no single online feature, with the exception of E-Mail, is used with any regularity," the Pew article said. "Consumers have yet to begin purchasing goods and services online, and there is little indication that online news features are changing traditional news consumption patterns."

"Late Night" host David Letterman had Microsoft founder and, at that time the richest man in the world, on his show for an interview in '95 to discuss the "the big new thing."

During the interview Letterman chided Gates about the usefulness of the new technology, comparing it to radio and tape recorders.

Gates seems excited by the internet because it will soon allow people to listen to a baseball game on their computer. To which Letterman smugly replies, "Does radio ring a bell?" to laughter from the crowd.

But Gates presses Letterman saying that the new technology allows you to listen to the game "whenever you want," to which Letterman responds, "Do tape recorders ring a bell?"

Gates then tells Letterman he can keep up with the latest in his favorite hobbies such as cigar smoking or race cars through the internet. Letterman shuts him down saying that he reads about his interests in magazines.

RELATED: Bill Gates has five books he thinks you should read this summer.

The discussion ends with the two laughing over meeting like-minded people in "troubled loner chat room on the internet."

The clip brings to mind a 1994 segment on "The Today Show" where host Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric have a similar discussion.

"What is internet anyway?" an exasperated Gumball asks. "What do you write to it like mail?"

"It's a computer billboard but it's nationwide and it's several universities all joined together and it's getting bigger and bigger all the time," a producer explains from off-stage.





Culture
Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

The future generations will have to live on this Earth for years to come, and, not surprisingly, they're very concerned about the fate of our planet. We've seen a rise in youth activists, such as Greta Thunberg, who are raising awareness for climate change. A recent survey indicates that those efforts are working, as more and more Americans (especially young Americans) feel concerned about climate change.

A new CBS News poll found that 70% of Americans between 18 and 29 feel climate change is a crisis or a serious problem, while 58% of Americans over the age of 65 share those beliefs. Additionally, younger generations are more likely to feel like it's their personal responsibility to address climate change, as well as think that transitioning to 100% renewable energy is viable. Overall, 25% of Americans feel that climate change is a "crisis," and 35% feel it is a "serious problem." 10% of Americans said they think climate change is a minor problem, and 16% of Americans feel it is not a problem that worries them.

The poll found that concern for the environment isn't a partisan issue – or at least when it comes to younger generations. Two-thirds of Republicans under the age of 45 feel that addressing climate change is their duty, sentiments shared by only 38% of Republicans over the age of 45.

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The Planet