Ten Years of Going Beyond:
B Corp Month 2023
I was relatively new in my position at evolveEA when I learned about the emerging B Corp certification framework and the social movement to use business as a force for good. evolveEA teammates had been teaching me the basics on green building rating systems such as LEED and Energy Star, since my previous background as a graphic designer had been more focused on communications and data visualization than building science. Reading about B Corp, the potential to strengthen a holistic approach to sustainability and social responsibility, inspired me to advocate within our office to explore B Corp certification.
Now it has been a decade since we achieved our inaugural B Corp certification, and I’m impressed by the constant growth in our global presence as a movement and a business sector. Not only has the B Corp community gained numbers and recognition in 88 countries, the depth of impact that individual B Corporations and networked cohorts are having with each passing year is one of the few trends that gives me hope for a better future (or let’s face it, a future on planet earth at all). Certified B Corps meet rigorous standards for social and environmental responsibility, collectively employing over 500,000 workers with transformative opportunities, powering green economic growth, and continuing to raise the bar in over 150 industries so that positive change in the overall market may shift as well. We are essentially powering a new normal that has been a long time coming.
For B Corp Month this year, we are sharing what it means to Go Beyond. We are celebrating the B Corp community for exceeding the status quo that most companies still accept when it comes to benefiting communities, workers, and the environment. People everywhere are deciding that they want to support and work for companies that demonstrate humanity. For B Corps, the tracking and reporting that we all participate in through the renowned B Impact Assessment means that consumers, employees and other stakeholders can see documented proof of our actions. What we do in our operations and management supports what we say out in the world, and besides offering vital transparency, this framework provides evolveEA with a playbook for challenging ourselves to grow our impact (not just our profit) with every recertification.
We are so proud that thanks to the B Impact Assessment platform, we’ve gone beyond carbon neutral operations as a company (maintained since 2011), to implement comprehensive ESG (environmental, social & governance) reporting and analysis. Our 2022 B Corp recertification process helped us identify that more than three quarters of our place-based projects completed in the previous two years were located in low or moderate income areas, and more than half those projects are located in brownfield or infill sites, promoting environmental justice for disadvantaged populations. We also confirmed that 88% of the projects incorporated transit oriented development, and at least three-quarters of the projects that involved residential development included affordable or subsidized housing.
We understand that these benefits improve the lives of thousands of families in numerous ways, also making a positive contribution to the economy. But what’s most inspiring is the knowledge that in our industry alone—architecture, design & planning—there are 72 other Certified B Corps also tracking these data points and likely having a similar impact in other communities around the world!
All of us go beyond the normal expectations for business to ensure that we are providing services and products that benefit people and their communities, including our customers, our workers and those throughout our supply chains. As a cohort, we are starting to realize the vast potential for significant large-scale change. B Corp Month is a time for us to promote that anyone and everyone has the power to be part of the movement for a just economy by spreading the word about B Corp certification to your peers, supporting certified B Corporations when you shop, advocating within your workplace or government for adoption of the BIA, or considering certification for your own company. It is also a time to let go of complacency and pessimism, and push beyond our own apprehension to do things differently in pursuit of a better world. It’s ten years for us, and we are still finding new ways to grow!
B Corp Advocacy
We were proud to be invited to meet with the office of Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman in late March to explain the benefits of being a B Corp. Joined by a financial services firm, a mental health counseling center, a video producer, and wood designer, we spoke of our own journey and approach and restated the basic premise of B Corp—that business can do good and do well. There are 68 B Corps in Pennsylvania employing over 430 people and generating over $170 million in annual revenue. As a firm, we have found that being carbon neutral and being ILFI Just Certified are good compliments to our B Corp certification. We are proud to show the impact that our work creates, notably with carbon, water, and energy reductions, but also with our B Corp Assessment score. We hope to have more stories like this to share as we move forward.