The B Corps Best For Communities List is out to model how companies can compete to "B" the best.
By Katie Kerr
With Thanksgiving and the holidays fast approaching, many companies will be encouraging volunteering or holding a food drive as part of their CSR programs. And while these are good first steps, there is so much more to being an active, engaged community member. From workforce diversity to local sourcing preferences to the product/service itself (e.g., education, healthcare, affordable housing), business can be a powerful agent of change and strengthen the communities around them.
B Corp Best for Communities List
This week, we honor those who are leading the way with the release of The B Corp Best for Communities List. These 61 companies, in over 35 industries and 13 countries, are importantly not just walking the talk, but measuring and managing their performance.
Each honoree has earned an overall score in the top 10% of all Certified B Corporations for their positive community impact, as determined by the nonprofit B Lab utilizing the B Impact Assessment, a comprehensive assessment used by more than 10,000 businesses to measure their impact on their workers, community, and the environment.
With metrics regarding the company’s product/service direct impact on social issues including health, education and economic opportunity, supplier and workforce diversity, local and fair trade supply chains, and volunteerism and charitable giving, each company has proven they are truly good neighbors.
Honorees include Greyston Bakery, as well known for its open-hiring policies as for supplying brownies to Ben & Jerry's, One PacificCoast Bank, an innovative, triple-bottom line, community development financial institution, and both Cooperative Home Care Associates (NY) and Home Care Associates (PA), two of the largest worker-owned cooperatives providing high-quality home care services to elders and individuals living with disabilities.
Outside the US, companies like Roshan, a telecommunications company in Afghanistan, CDI Ventures S/A, an internet cafe and job training company in Brazil, and Juhudi Kilimo, an investor in smallholder farmers in Kenya, are all contributing to the creation of shared, durable prosperity in the communities around them. (You can learn more about these leaders, and see the rest of the B Corp Best for Communities honorees at bestfortheworld.bcorporation.net).
Five Ways to Help Your Company Compete
Want to take your community involvement to the next level and help your company compete to not only be best in the world, but best for the world? Here are a few ways to get started.
1. Service: Organize Community Service Days with your employees and provide paid time off for volunteering. Your company can help those in need, while you build a more engaged workforce. Check out B Lab's Best Practice Guide for Community Service Programs to develop a program that works best for your business, employees and community.
2. Suppliers: Ask your supply chain partners about their social and environmental practices by conducting a Supplier Survey based on the questions in the B Impact Assessment (available free at bcorporation.net). Evaluation gives your company the power to make better informed decisions about vendors and allow them to improve as you improve. Consider using the Best Practice Guide for Supplier Codes of Conduct to ensure your suppliers are following standards that are inline with your company.
3. Diversity: Recruit and maintain a diverse workforce to ensure a variety of perspectives at your company. Also, consider contacting a local social service organization or local government agency with a workforce development program to connect with new employees. Finding employment from such sources will diversify your workforce, help people in need and allow you to employ reliable people who are receiving additional support from the partner organization.
4. Donate: Share a portion of your profits with a non-profit organization. Choose one that supports a cause important to your company or employees and be creative with your giving. For example, donate a meeting room for a non-profit’s quarterly board meeting.
Alternately, take it to the next level and create a formal written policy that sets a required annual commitment for charitable giving. With this commitment, you provide the non-profit organization with an added level of security regarding their revenue stream, allowing them to focus more on programs and less on fundraising.
5. Invest: Align your money with your values. Consider switching the majority of your company’s banking services to a local, independent bank, a Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI), or a Certified B Corp bank. Some resources to research these banks: Local Bank, CDFI, Global Alliance Banks and B Corp Banks.
And of course, check out the full B Corp Best for Communities List and start measuring your impact to see how you match up with the free, confidential B Impact Assessment.
About the Author:
Katie Kerr is the Director of PR for B Lab, a nonprofit organization that serves a global movement of entrepreneurs that use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. Her work has appeared in publications including the Harvard Business Review, Fast Company and Forbes. Please follow B Lab on Facebook or Twitter for all the latest news.
B Corp Best for the World honorees earned scores in the top 10% of all Certified B Corporations for their overall positive impact on their communities as measured by the B Impact Assessment – a free management tool used by more than 10,000 businesses to measure, compare and improve their social and environmental performance across more than 150 metrics.
Best for the World honorees have their performance certified by the nonprofit B Lab and have met the highest standards of legal accountability and public transparency. To learn more about the Best for the World honorees and more than 850 Certified B Corporations from more than 29 countries, check out www.bcorporation.net.