In celebration of B Corp Month, we want to explain why we became a Certified B Corp and what the certification means to us.
We began our journey to certification in 2014, when we were looking for a way to show that we’re serious about sustainability. As financial advisors, we don’t produce a product that could be certified sustainable or organic, so we needed an independent third party to certify us, preferably one that’s a non-profit with open standards and communication about emerging issues.
This search led us to the B Lab, an organization committed to bringing together businesses that have a social mission at their core; firms that, like us, are committed to the highest highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.
Vote with your dollars
We often think about our spending as speech. We view investing as casting a vote, which is the reason we use Environmental, Social and Governance factors when selecting investments. We also believe in the power of using these votes in a more concrete sense, through the power of shareholder activism. By choosing to buy B Corp products and work with B Corps, you too can cast your vote for a more sustainable future.
What it means to us
Being a B Corp is about more than just saying we’re sustainable. The B Impact Assessment not only gave us a score, but showed us a road map with suggestions to improve our firm. In 2014, when we first applied for certification, we scored a 99.6 out of a possible 200 points. In 2016, when we re-certified for the first time (and were randomly selected for increased verification), we increased our score to 109.7. This year we hope to do even better.
Working with the B Corp community, we’ve changed our energy consumption to clean energy and installed LED lighting in our office, which dramatically lowered our energy use. The assessment caused us to look for ways to improve our score, so we focused on the areas where we scored 0 points. This led us to seek out opportunities, and we eventually partnered with the NJ Department of Labor to increase the number of Certified Financial Planners in the state. The goal is to increase access to financial services for under-served communities by lowering the barriers to entry. We even won an award for this work!
What can you do?
Be a conscious consumer! Look for the Certified B Corp logo on packaging, especially for brands that you think of as sustainable. Check out the B Impact Report of companies that are certified and let them know that you appreciate the work they put into the certification and how they can be better. And encourage your employer to take the certification. It’s free!