During the pandemic, B Corps stepped up, Big Time

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Many companies around the world use business as a vehicle for good. In particular, Certified B Corps meet rigorous criteria in terms of social and environmental standards. Each year, B Lab honors the top performing B Corps across the world who use business to make a positive impact, and it recently released the List of the best for the world 2021.

This year, B Lab explored how businesses have responded to the global COVID-19 crisis to positively impact their communities, customers, governance, workers, and the environment. It has recognized 767 B Corps in 50 countries, with companies of widely varying sizes and industries. Let’s explore some of the best of the best and how they escalated in times of crisis.

A dozen roses for one of the main B Corps

Hoja Verde: Located on the equator, Ecuador has many hours of sunshine and the Andean highlands have warm days and cool nights, ideal for the production of roses. Hoja Verde, which means ‘green leaf’, grows over 120 varieties of roses (as in those pictured above) for export. The company sells its flowers in Europe and North America and is the main supplier to Whole Foods.

Although the rose is a popular symbol of love, commercial cultivation of roses can often lead to unsafe working conditions and environmental contamination from agricultural chemicals. In contrast, Hoja Verde is dedicated to the use of biological pest control systems and organic fertilizers. It even offers housing, tutoring, pediatric services and low-interest loans to its workers.

In Ecuador, food shortages have led to price increases. Since the lockdown, many Ecuadorians have struggled to ensure their food security and meet their basic nutritional needs, especially in remote villages. Hoja Verde applied his skills and knowledge to improve the local community in order to solve these problems. Its experts run community gardens and have self-reliance training programs, skills that could have been invaluable anywhere during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hoja Verde has been recognized as a “Best for the Community” recipient in 2019 and 2021. In addition, its roses are certified fair trade.

This Minnesota-based CDFI stands tall

Sunrise bank: Based in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Sunrise Bank defines itself as “the most socially responsible bank in the world”. It is certified by the US Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), a designation held by only about 100 banks in the United States. This means Sunrise is working to create opportunities for economic growth in some of the country’s most struggling communities.

The banking sector is often associated with social ills, such as the promotion of racial inequalities and the promotion of the concentration of wealth – while the practices of the sector are among the reasons many people of color have not been able to benefit. of the accumulation of intergenerational wealth. Additionally, the overwhelming economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis has had the hardest impact on communities of color.

Financial institutions can help promote equality and economic vitality by helping to eliminate racial disparities. As lenders, they can make capital available to clients, thereby promoting equality. As influencers, they can help hold companies accountable for fair business practices. Finally, as employers, they can help promote inclusion and diversity.

Sunrise is dedicated to transparent corporate governance and is a mission-driven organization. An example is TrueConnect, a free workplace loan program that seeks to avoid the cycle of debt by payday loans lenders who often resort to predatory or unfair practices. The TrueConnect program connects employees with affordable loans that are repaid through payroll deductions.

Sunrise has been recognized among the B Corps as a “The best for clients and the best for governance” winner in 2021 and winner of the “Best for the World” award since 2013.

Raise your glasses to see how well this company cared for its workers and communities

New Belgian brewing company: What started out in a small basement in Fort Collins, CO, has grown into the fourth largest craft brewing business in the United States. Before selling to Little Lion World Beverages in 2019, New Belgium was 100% employee-owned, which significantly shaped how the business was run. He has been a member of the certified B Corps since 2013.

Its flagship products include Fat Tire Amber Ale and Voodoo Ranger IPA, and they were the first brewery to join. 1% for the planet. To date, the brewer has donated over $ 29 million through grants and donation programs.

the New Belgian Fund for Employee Assistance is a non-profit organization that helps its workers in times of need after a catastrophic disaster or personal hardship. The fund was established after the High Park fire in 2012, when 14 employees were evacuated for long periods and two of them lost their homes. Funding is confidential and constitutes a gift; thus, it does not need to be reimbursed. Such initiatives help build employee resilience in times of need and can promote employee morale and retention.

the New Belgian relief fund for bars and restaurants was created to help the food and beverage communities of Ashville, North Carolina and Fort Collins, Colo. recover from the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. The brewing company provided seed money, matched donations, and ultimately helped 880 bar and restaurant workers. Working as a force for good in the community, he helped bring people together during a very difficult time.

One of the leading B Corps in the beverage industry, New Belgium has been recognized as a Better for workers and better for the environment winner in 2021 and winner of the Best for the World award since 2013.

Image credit: Hoja Verde


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