Every two years, we have the opportunity to recertify and measure our progress as a Certified B Corp.
Back in 2016, when we went through the initial certification process, we scored a 99 out of 200; our strongest areas were our positive impact on customers and community. We’re excited that our preliminary 2018 score reflects our continued engagement with and improvement in those core values. This year we earned a score of 107.5 – a 9% improvement!
For those who don’t know much about Certified B Corps, a B Corp is to business what Fair Trade is to coffee or USDA organic is to milk. To become a Certified B Corp, a company has to go through a lengthy and thorough certification process to prove that its business model is not just built on profit, but also around purpose. Developed by the non-profit B Lab, it's the nation's most rigorous assessment of a company's positive social and environmental impact. To recertify, we answered over 160 questions and provided documentation to validate our claims.
The certification process evaluates us on the following five areas:
- Customers Do we apply key social and environmental performance indicators in our investment selection process? If so, what’s our process? What third-party assessment tools do we use?
- Workers What are our employee practices? Do we offer benefits? What is our leave policy?
- Community What’s our level of community engagement? Do we have targets for dollars given and pro bono services offered? Have we met those targets?
- Environmental What steps have we taken to reduce our environmental footprint?
- Governance Do we have an advisory board to help hold us accountable?
The biggest difference in our score this year was in the Workers category, primarily due to our awesome first full-time hire, Paige Harland. Since she joined in January 2017, Paige has been instrumental in helping us enhance our financial planning capabilities, improve our communications and marketing, and streamline our operational efficiency.
Other key areas of improvement included:
- Increased Focus on Socially Responsible Investing We now screen all ETFs used in our portfolios, with the goal of at least 90% having a moderate-to-high sustainability rating. We also launched two 100% sustainable portfolios – one U.S.-focused, and the other internationally-focused.
- Community Give-back In 2017, we gave approximately 2.4% of our gross revenues to mission-aligned non-profits (Chrysalis Institute, YWCA, and Junior Achievement), and provided 193 hours of pro bono planning and community service.
- Reduced Environmental Footprint We dramatically reduced our environmental footprint by moving to digital signature for many of our forms and moved to digital format for proposals and marketing materials.
Being a Certified B Corp provides a structure and an accountability model that forces us to think beyond our bottom line. The recertification process is a wonderful opportunity both to find additional ways to improve and to applaud the progress we’ve made so far.
We love being a part of the B Corp community. Being a B Corp means that we do not exist just to make a profit. Rather, every day, in everything we do, we work to support our clients in building a life around what matters most to them, while building a business that aligns with our values.
If you want to learn more or are interested in becoming a Certified B Corp, click here for more information.