Getting listed as one of the world’s best sustainable companies, or a B Corporation, requires passing a rigorous assessment of how the company impacts people, communities, and environment.
B Corps are certified by a nonprofit called B Lab whose mission is to “serve a global movement of entrepreneurs using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems,” according to the B Corporation website.
The “B” stands for benefit. Entrepreneurs seeking certification must demonstrate “higher standards of corporate purpose, accountability, and transparency.” The entrepreneurs and investors behind the corporations must have a vision to use their businesses “as a force for good.”
There are over 1,200 certified B Corp companies from over 40 countries covering 120 industries.
Each year, B Corp publishes its “B Corp Best for the World” list of companies that had the greatest overall, environmental, community, and worker impact. To make the list, companies must score in the top 10 percent on the B Impact Assessment.
Out of 120 businesses that made the cut on the 2015 list, seven are located in New York: Cooperative Home Care Associates, Bronx; Down to Earth Markets, Ossining; Greyston Bakery Inc., Yonkers; Northeast Green Building Consulting LLC, Syracuse; Revivn, a recycling company in New York City; Sustainable Earth Solutions Inc. in Williamsville; and Veris Wealth Partners in New York City.
Here’s what the B Corp site says about how they are doing it:
Cooperative Home Care Associates
The Bronx-based, worker-owned Cooperative Home Care Associates (CHCA) started in 1985 with 12 home health care providers, dedicated to a mission of quality care through quality jobs. Today, the agency employs more than 2,050 staff, nearly all Latina and African-American women, and stands as the largest worker cooperative in the United States. By improving home care jobs, CHCA transforms challenges faced by unemployed women into sustainable opportunities for economic independence—and improves care for thousands of low-income city residents.
Down to Earth Markets
In 1991, Miriam Haas, Down to Earth Markets founder, started the company’s first farmers market in Ossining, New York. At the time, growers were routinely spraying apples with the chemical Alar. Out of concern for the unknown health effects, she set out to connect with clean, local food sources. Two Hudson Valley farmers answered her call. Together they began selling produce directly to shoppers at a weekly market at the town’s main intersection. Today, Down to Earth Markets curates and manages approximately 20 farmers markets in Westchester County, Rockland County, and four of the five boroughs of New York City.
Through its Open Hiring policy, Greyston Bakery hires men and women who have little or no credentialed work experience, many of whom have histories of homelessness, incarceration, substance abuse, welfare dependence, domestic violence, or illiteracy. All of its profits go to the Greyston Foundation, which operates several intensive self-sufficiency programs in Yonkers, New York, including affordable housing and support services for the formerly homeless, low-income working families; children and youth services, including childcare; a technology learning center; health and social services, including housing for individuals living with HIV/AIDS; and a community gardens project. Greyston’s staff of 130 serves almost 5,000 individuals annually.
Northeast Green Building Consulting
Northeast Green Building Consulting supports clients and projects inspired to go beyond the commercially practicable, to constructing proof of concept, funded research, and visionary designs. Here, peer-reviewed scientific ecological knowledge (SEK) and the adaptive memory and wisdom of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) inspire their work. NGBC’s homes and cities are part of nature.
Revivn is a social enterprise focused on the repurposing of used technology for social good and empowerment. Revivn uses outdated electronics from companies to build out various initiatives helping people gain computer access. By connecting companies to communities through social impact programs, Revivn helps raise awareness about the power of repurposing and the impact technology can have for good.
Sustainable Earth Solutions
Sustainable Earth Solutions seeks to empower its clients to discover novel and useful ways to save money and gain competitive advantages through sound sustainable practices. The need and value for social responsibility is part of the SES mission. The members of the SES team serve as an “uplifting agent” for businesses and organizations in our community through sustainability consulting.
Veris Wealth Partners
Veris Wealth Partners is a national sustainable wealth management firm with offices in New York, San Francisco, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire, dedicated to aligning families’ and foundations’ financial objectives with their mission and values. They structure fully diversified portfolios that aim to drive social and environmental change while bringing rigor and discipline to the investment process. They believe this approach represents today’s most sophisticated investment thinking.