The B-Corp Community in Boston

Happy 2016 Net Impact Boston members and other social impact all-stars in the Greater Boston area. I hope you’re all well-rested and excited to make a difference in our community in 2016.

I thought I’d kick the year off with a follow up to the blog NIB posted last year about why Emzingo became a B-Corp. Emzingo is challenging and equipping current and future leaders around the globe to lead responsibly. In our eyes, Emzingo is to individuals as the B-Corp movement is to companies. From that perspective, we are absolutely ecstatic to see so many great organizations in Boston – and New England in general – taking a proactive stance on running responsible businesses. Since becoming a certified B-Corp last summer, I have worked with several other great B-Corps in the Boston area to create a small community of local companies trying to use business as a force for good.

This past November, I had the privilege of moderating a panel of B-Corps from the area. And I would be remiss not to thank our venue host, TripAdvisor who is not a B-Corp, but does a lot of great community work, including the marshaling of resources to support the refugee crisis in 2015.

During this lively panel, each of the B-Corp panelists shared a different and interesting perspectives. John Lively of Preserve has a supply chain and operations background and highlighted how the B-Corp certification can provide insights and opportunities from a materials perspective. If you don’t know Preserve, this football playoff season – when lots of paper and plastic waste is generated – is a great time to buy the company’s 100% recyclable/made from 100% recycled plastic plates (among other great products).

To keep the shameless B-Corp promotion going, think of another panelist’s company, TripZero whenever you travel. Eric Zimmerman, Founder of TripZero, shared his experience with other members of the B-Corp family. The personal connections, alignment of values, and general helpfulness of the community stand out to Eric and were certainly recognized by the rest of the panel. I have to agree that it has been a great experience getting to know other B-Corps during the past 6+ months.

The third panelist, Emily Lee, is a Regional Sales Consultant from Trillium Asset Management. She described the firm as a “B-Corp before there were B-Corps”. As socially responsible investors, Trillium’s values and business model provide a great example of a financial services firm that has found success by embedding a long-term view and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors into itsinvestment strategies.

Last but not least, Staach. If you’ve ever been to Shake Shack, you’ve likely sat on a chair from StaachAnne Sherman is the Director of Sustainability at Staach. Among other things, Anne noted that in her role, having the B Corp certification helped the rest of the organization understand how sustainability fits within and is important to the business.

The panel proved to be a great way to highlight the similarities and differences between each of the organization’s B-Corp experience. All of the panelists and I agree that being part of the B-Corp community is beneficial for building community, creating opportunities for collaboration, and improving the positive impact our companies have in the world. The biggest differences surface when “the rubber meets the road.” Because of the diversity of industries, sizes, and business models represented, even within even this subset of B Corps, the details of how each of us leverages the assessment and community vary greatly.

Overall, it is safe to say that we are all proud to be B Corps. We’re excited to grow the community here in Boston and find ways to partner with Net Impact Boston on future events. If you’re interested in B Corp activity in the Boston area or learning more about Emzingo, feel free to reach me at drew@emzingo.com

 

Drew Bonfiglio

Co-Founder and Partner, Emzingo

Events Team Member, Net Impact Boston Leadership Team

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