2017 Annual Benefit Report
In May 2017, we joined a global community of businesses–including Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, Etsy, and Seventh Generation–as a Certified B Corporation.
B Corps are companies that have been certified to have met rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Worldwide, there are more than 2,200 Certified B Corporations across 120 industries and 50 countries working together toward one unifying goal: using business as a force for good. We have decided to become a B Corp for several reasons:
- Being Part of a Community of Leaders with Shared Values: The strength of the B Corp community—and the sense of being part of something bigger than our individual business—that is one of the most deeply fulfilling aspects of B Corp certification.
- Protecting Our Mission for the Long Term: Certified B Corporations, in addition to meeting rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, amend their governing documents to be more supportive of maintaining their social and environmental mission over time.
- Identifying Areas for Improvement: B Corp certification is an independent, rigorous, third-party standard that evaluates every aspect of our business—from how we treat our workers, to our community involvement, to our overall effect on the environment. We believe this will help us continue to create social, environmental, and financial value.
- Attracting and Retaining Top Talent: Many studies have shown that the best people want to work for a company with a larger purpose. B Corp certification helps us signal to prospective and existing employees that we are committed to using business as a force for good.
- Building Collective Voice: Many of the movements taking place around the globe—from clean tech, microfinance, and sustainable agriculture to the buy local and cooperative ownership movements—are manifestations of the same idea: how to use business for good. The B Corporation organizes and amplifies the voices of this diverse marketplace behind the power of a unifying brand.
We are proud of the work we have accomplished this year to improve our impact. Once we certify, we are also eager to learn from our peers in the B Corp community about how we can do even more. This is an essential contribution toward a vision of business that works for people, the planet, and the bottom line.
Benefit Report Narrative
We are a legally-incorporated benefit corporation in the state of California. A benefit corporation is a corporation that has voluntarily met the highest standards of corporate purpose, accountability, and transparency.
Benefit corporations have a corporate purpose to create a material positive impact on society and the environment, have expanded the fiduciary duty of their directors to include consideration of stakeholder interests, and are required to report on their overall social and environmental performance.
B Impact Report
The B Impact Report is a quantitative and qualitative summary of our overall social and environmental performance assessed against the B Impact Assessment (BIA), a third party standard created by the nonprofit B Lab. The BIA assess our performance in the areas of environment, workers, community, and governance. Here is our latest B Impact Report for 2017:
The following sections will describe what we already do well and identify some of our long-term goals for increasing our score by the time we recertify in 2019.
Here are some things we already do well:
- Our board of directors reviews our company’s social and environmental performance on an annual basis
- We have a representative from the local community on our board
- We track specific KPIs/metrics to determine if we are achieving our social and environmental objectives
- We reimburse employees for attending external professional development trainings
- Over 90% of employees are satisfied and engaged
- Majority of the company is owned by women and people of color
- Trainings on gender inclusiveness, the LGBT community, and ability / disability is provided to all employees
- Allow employees paid time off to volunteer
- Work with Beneficial State Bank, a Certified B Corp bank that is committed to serving the local community in Oakland
Here are some improvements we made in 2017:
- Created a written policy giving preference to suppliers owned by women or individuals from underrepresented populations
- Created a formal volunteering and community service policy
- Written preference to purchase from local suppliers
- Suppliers screened for negative or regulatory non-compliance
- Suppliers screened for positive practices beyond what is required by regulations
- Created a formal written ho that specifically holds the company’s suppliers accountable for social and environmental performance
- Provide independent contractors with feedback, and vice versa.
- Created formal policy for responsible disposal of company’s hazardous and non-hazardous waste
- We encourage good environmental stewardship in how employees manage their virtual offices:
There is a written policy encouraging environmentally preferred products and practices in employee virtual offices (recycling, etc.)
- Company shares resources with employees regarding environmental stewardship in home offices (i.e. energy efficiency, recycling, etc.)
- Policy in place for the safe disposal of e-waste and other hazardous materials purchased for employee home offices.
- Created a corporate travel policy to reduce our carbon footprint
We aim to make the following improvements by 2019:
- Integrating social / environmental mission-related responsibilities into all job descriptions
- Adding social / environmental goals into all employee performance evaluations
- Creating more opportunities for engagement with local community members and with social / environmental advocacy groups
- Share ownership with employees
- Increase number of participants who attend our camps from low-income communities
- Increase hours volunteered by 50%
- Increase the amount of renewable energy we consume by 10%
Benefit Report Narrative
We selected the B Impact Assessment (BIA) as the third party performance standard to prepare this benefit report because it is the most widely-used impact measurement and management tool in the world.
The BIA is used by more than 40,00 businesses to measure, compare, and improve their overall social and environmental performance, as well as by an increasing number of investors, business associations, and government entities serious about understanding and benchmarking the impact of the companies in which they invest and with which they do business.
The BIA is governed by the nonprofit B Lab and meets the statutory requirement that a third party standard must be comprehensive, credible, transparent, and independent. More information about the BIA and B Lab is available at bimpactassessment.net.