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Going Beyond ‘Green Travel’ to Create a Lasting Impact on the Hospitality Industry

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Legacy Vacation Resorts is dedicated to providing vacation experiences for families and friends to create their unique moments and lasting memories in a manner that respects our environment, employees and community. The company as a whole seeks to go beyond simple eco-friendly initiatives and use our business to make a legitimate positive impact in the communities we serve and the world at large.

In March of 2019, LVR became a Certified B Corporation, which are companies that voluntarily commit to transparency and legally dedicate themselves to a triple bottom line of serving people, the planet and profit. Since then, the company has used these principles as a guiding light for the future of our business and its stakeholders.

A Purpose Driven Mission For More

In late 2017, Legacy Vacation Resorts was working hard to deliver a great value on high quality vacation experiences for our guests and we were doing so successfully, at least by traditional metrics. We were profitable, reinvesting back into our operation, improving guest satisfaction and providing growth for our employees. Despite this success, it did not feel like we were driving a positive overall impact. In fact, it seemed we were, like many companies, seeking incremental improvement and allowing others to deal with our business’ negative externalities, many occurring without our knowledge because we did not measure them.

Legacy Vacation Club Indian Shores in Clearwater Beach, Florida

We struggled to see how we could make a net positive impact and felt that the word “sustainability” was being used by most businesses as part of a “green/purpose washing” campaign. Not wanting to do the same, we began educating ourselves on how we could use our resources and abilities most effectively and credibly. Through this process, we identified a few business movements and programs that enlightened us on how we could properly measure our impact, enhance what we were doing well, reduce or eliminate what we were not, and contribute to larger systematic change for a shared, inclusive, and durable prosperity for all.

We have since aligned with several of these organizations but were most enamored with Certified B Corporations. Administered by the non-profit, B Lab, Certified B Corps are businesses that voluntarily meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose through third-party verification. They adopt a higher purpose, stakeholder orientation, conscious practices, and offset their negative externalities.

These practices led them to thrive through strong profits, stability, and valuation. While some household names like Patagonia, Eileen Fisher, Ben & Jerry’s, and Seventh Generation were part of this movement, we were disheartened to learn that our home state of Florida (the 3rd most populous state), only had 17 B Corps, and the entire United States had no multi-state resort hospitality companies.

Finally, we had found a way that we could deliver a net positive societal impact and we were determined to not only become a certified B Corp, but to facilitate the growth of the B Corp movement in Florida and in the hospitality industry at large.

In early 2018, LVR began efforts toward securing B Corp Certification. This meant analyzing our operating procedures and efforts in five Impact Areas required by the certification process, including Governance, Workers, Community, Environment, and Customers. During what turned out to be a year-long process aligning every aspect of Legacy Vacation Resorts with B Lab’s requirements, the company rolled out multiple initiatives towards a more sustainable business model.

In addition to becoming a Certified B Corporation, LVR was among the first multi-state hotel companies to become a member of 1% For The Planet, a network of more than 1,500 member businesses, numerous individuals, and thousands of nonprofit partners in more than 40 countries. The organization is fostering a global movement, inspiring businesses to support environmental solutions by making a simple commitment to donate 1% of their sales revenue to various charities working in one of six core focus areas, including climate, food, land, pollution, water, and wildlife. LVR also became a proud partner of Conscious Capitalism International, an organization that maintains a philosophy based on a simple idea that when practiced consciously, business innately elevates humanity.

Building A Legacy

After certification became official in March of 2019, LVR became the first multi-state hospitality and vacation ownership company to offset the carbon footprint of guests booked through our website, offer to donate 5% of our guest’s reservation to a charity of their choice, donate 1% of our total revenue to environmental charities (as part of our 1% for the Planet commitment), sponsor Conscious Capitalism, and meet Certified B Corporation standards. The new sustainable business model includes 100% carbon footprint offsetting for guests that book directly with the LVR website, electric vehicle chargers at each property, waste reduction and enhanced recycling efforts, sustainable lifestyle awareness campaigns, green-focused renovation projects and a living wage initiative for employees in our eight locations across four states.

The company also implemented an internal “Day of Hope” campaign, which gives employees the opportunity to receive paid time off in pursuit of volunteer activities. Moving forward, LVR has adopted a reduction target to cut down all emissions by 25% by the year 2025.

LVR is also undergoing a process of changing the way we think as a company to a “Life-Cycle” approach. This means we are taking into account where our dollars go from manufacturing to distribution to consumption. Together with suppliers, we are working towards ensuring they enforce a responsible code of conduct in their own workplaces. We believe the companies, vendors and suppliers we work with should support their local economy and support purchases that do not sacrifice the environment or cause harm to human wellbeing and health.

While all of these changes will give our existing guests additional reasons to be proud to stay with us, they will also attract a new kind of traveler and customer – one that shares our values and places importance on social responsibility, environmental responsibility and sustainable travel. By incorporating these conscious values into our ethos rather than just creating a department for it, leadership sincerely believes we will achieve our mission better than ever before and experience revenue growth for the company.

Looking ahead, as we exhibit success by using our business as a force for good, we will share this information within the hospitality industry to help it attain sustainable economic development. Our desire is not to be the best in the world but the best for the world, and part of that is to inspire other companies to follow suit.

Our Impact in Action

An excellent place to see the implementation and execution of our new sustainable initiatives is at the company’s flagship location, Legacy Vacation Resorts Indian Shores, home to villa-style accommodations and beach access just a short walk away. Located on the picturesque Gulf Coast of Florida, the property recently underwent a full scale green renovation project and now boasts the smallest energy footprint of all locations in our portfolio.

The project introduced all new energy star appliances and fixtures as well as new operation and maintenance procedures to ensure that the building isn’t only built in a sustainable manner, but is also being managed efficiently as well. The remodel efforts used low VOC paints, and policies we have in place require the use of non-toxic cleaners, therefore reducing toxic output.

Water management products and systems are used to help conserve our water usage and reduce water waste, and guests are provided with in-room pitchers and signage detailing the safety of filtered water provided by the city to hopefully eliminate their need for single-use plastic water bottles. Furthermore, native and drought-resistant landscaping is used throughout the property to mitigate the need for heavy irrigation and use of fertilizers. The resort, along with all locations in the company, offers waste recycling services for guests as well as a partnership with Clean the World, a certified B Corp, based in Orlando, that recycles our used hygiene products and repurposes them back to vulnerable communities around the world.

The resort also seeks to do good for the local community, and we first look to utilize products and services from local and Certified B Corp suppliers and vendors whenever possible thus contributing to a circular economy. This supplier management is not just better business, but an effort to educate our guests about new responsible products that they can obtain back home.

We plan to implement similar projects and initiatives at all of our eight locations in four states, with some impressive programs having already been introduced. Currently, our Brigantine beach resort is powered by 100% renewable electricity. ‘Sustainability Champions’ have been appointed at each location that acts as a sustainability ambassador to communicate and promote corporate initiatives. All resorts with food and beverage operations offer plant-based food options and boxed water is available at Resort Markets. This year, we launched an annual scholarship program where we provided three $2,000.00 scholarships to employees or their dependents.

The company also began a matching campaign for employee contributions to approved charities which includes donations the employees give collectively throughout the company and during property activities up to $2,500.00. We have also established an employee energy rebate program at our headquarters, as well as the Orlando and Kissimmee properties, where employees can purchase LED lights at our company’s cost to help with reducing their personal carbon footprint at home. There is also a selection of socially responsible investing options available in employee retirement plans.

One of the most remarkable initiatives is our Employee Income Advance Program, currently available for Florida and New Jersey-based employees. This program offers bank assistance to employees in good standing (generally with a tenure of one year or greater) by providing loaned funds of $500 – $2,500 for emergency expenditures. Loans are repaid via automatic payroll deductions, thus building the borrower’s credit score. Once the loan is paid off, the payroll deduction is continued and rolled into a savings account. This program helps employees not only avoid predatory lending to take care of emergency financial needs, but also builds credit and savings, financial literacy and financial stability.

Looking ahead, each location will continue to find ways to reduce single use plastic items and unnecessary waste, individual amenities will be switched out for refillable dispensers, check-in documents will be streamlined to eliminate the need for printed collateral, and we will seek continued improvement.

Business For Good, For All

While using our business as a force for good, we will educate the hospitality industry on how to attain sustainable economic development. As part of the pursuit of this goal, we co-founded the Florida for Goodmovement to help create a better world by combining the power of business with accountability, transparency, and a stakeholder orientation. The For Good Movement is a connection between B Corps, Conscious Capitalism, 1% for the Planet, like minded organizations/networks, governments/chambers, academia, and the local For Good ecosystems. It promotes business responsibility & resiliency to all companies, whether they be considered irresponsible today or whether they are competing to be the best for the world.

Florida for Good funds free resources, an online business directory and events to facilitate the spread of conscious business and growth of the Certified B Corp community in Florida and beyond. Since the organization’s inception, Legacy Vacation Resorts has donated more than $50,000 to its charitable endeavors via cash and in-kind support. As part of our mission, LVR and Florida for Good encourage companies to take B Lab’s free impact assessment so they can learn how they measure up against other businesses and learn about the areas in which they can most improve.

In the time since it launched in 2018, Florida for Good has grown significantly and now boasts four local/regional chapters including Central Florida for Good, St. Pete for Good, Northeast Florida for Good and Boca for Good and more than 100 member businesses.

Our business is successful not in spite of our responsible practices but because of them. At Legacy Vacation Resorts, we feel strongly that business leaders will impact our future, so we need leaders that appreciate the interdependence of all things, and recognize that true success is predicated on the success of all stakeholders, not just shareholders.

Mr. MeyersJared Meyers is a hospitality veteran with more than 20 years in the industry. The University of Florida graduate is passionate about delivering a quality product through his company, Legacy Vacation Resorts, to help friends and families enjoy unforgettable vacations together. One of his other passions? Utilizing the power of his business as a force for good. Searching for a way to use his resources and abilities for positive change, Mr. Meyers learned about Certified B Corporations – companies that voluntarily meet the highest levels of social and environmental performance with transparency and accountability. Inspired by his findings, he immediately set out on a journey to transform his company into a Certified B Corp and also create a movement to help other hospitality and travel businesses to do the same. Always looking toward the bigger picture for his social and environmental impact goals, Mr. Meyers co-created the Florida for Good program. With its entrepreneurial spirit, Florida For Good is the connector between B Corps, Conscious Capitalism, 1% For The Planet, like minded organizations/networks, governments/chambers, academia, and the localized For Good ecosystems throughout the state. Jared Meyers can be contacted at 407-697-0388 or jared@legacyvacationclub.com Please visit http://www.legacyvacationresorts.com for more information.Extended Biography

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Travel Guide: 10 businesses that give back while you travel

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The human impact of travel and the tourism industry takes a huge toll on our environment each year. The United Nations Environment Program identified three significant environmental affects of tourism: depletion of natural resources, pollution and the degradation of the communities and ecosystems in the places we travel.

Our planet is beautiful and meant for exploring. We believe that traveling to new places, learning about other cultures and experiencing truly wild places holds the power to educate us all and encourage environmental change. So, we aren’t asking you to stop traveling—but rather, we hope you take the proper precautions when planning your next trip to ensure that your travels are environmentally cautious and cause as little harm as possible to the places you explore.

Sustainable travel can easily be put into practice—whether you’re working with an environmental nonprofit to help you travel responsibly or checking off your packing list of sustainable 1% for the Planet member products.

You can also reduce your travel footprint by choosing tourism businesses, lodging and travel agencies within the 1% for the Planet network. Understanding the environmental implications of human travel, these members joined 1% for the Planet to take responsibility for the impact their business has on the planet.


BUCKEYE TREE LODGE & SEQUOIA VILLAGE INN

📍Sequoia National Park – California

In recent years, our National Parks have seen a huge influx of tourists (thanks, Instagram). Due to underfunding and overcrowding, it’s becoming more and more important to ensure that tourists take steps to protect these public lands from pollution and degradation. While it’s no surprise that everyone wants to capture the natural beauty of these picturesque parks, travelers can reduce their impact by choosing sustainably responsible accommodations when booking their trip.

Buckeye Tree Lodge and Sequoia Village Inn are located just outside of Sequoia National Park in Three Rivers, California. Not only are these local businesses 1% for the Planet members, but they also implement many environmental and community initiatives into their business model. From solar powered systems and energy efficient appliances to eco-friendly products, your trip to Three Rivers is sure to be as fulfilling as it is environmentally friendly.

No matter what time of year you’re hoping to visit Sequoia National Park, these affordable lodges have activities for every season. So, be sure to put whitewater rafting, fly fishing, high-elevation hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, snow-shoeing, bear watching, and giving back on your bucket list.

Environmental Support:

Every stay at Buckeye Tree Lodge and Sequoia Village Inn contributes to their commitment to give back to their community and protect the National Parks they call home. Through their 1% for the Planet partnerships, Buckeye Tree Lodge and Sequoia Village Inn support the Sequoia Parks Conservancy and the Sierra Club.


DISCOVERY BICYCLE TOURS

📍Around the world

There’s no better way to tread lightly (do you get it?) on our world than by traveling by bicycle. Unless of course, it’s biking with a business that actively works to preserve and protect the environment they tread on. Discovery Bicycle Tours is family owned and joined the 1% for the Planet family in 2018 when Scott and Thistle Cone took the reins as co-owners.

Discovery Bicycle Tours offers inn-to-inn bicycle tours around the world. The company aims to provide outstanding bicycle tours, top-notch service and give back to the extraordinary places they love to bike.

With tour offerings in North America, South America, Europe and Asia, you could start your trip at Discovery Bicycle Tours headquarters in Vermont, explore Chile’s lakes and volcanoes, bike Key-to-Key in Florida, visit the world’s happiest country (and biking-mecca) Denmark, or even bask in in some of the most spectacular scenery in Southeast Asia as you adventure through Vietnam.

With Discovery Bicycle Tours, the possibilities are endless and the environmental impact is minimal.

Environmental Support:

In an effort to protect public lands and preserve the outdoor spaces we explore, Discovery Bicycle Tours supports the Nature Conservancy, the Vermont Land Trust, Local Motion, and BikeCentennial—Adventure Cycling Association.


EAGLE WING WHALE & WILDLIFE TOURS

📍Victoria BC, Canada

Eagle Wing Tours was our first whale-watching member and has been a true steward for the environment since day one. With the belief that wildlife viewing can provide educational merit and encourage environmental sustainability, the Eagle Wing Tours team goes to great lengths to ensure that their tours also have positive impact on their community.

Beyond their 1% for the Planet membership, Eagle Wing Tours is 100% carbon neutral and a founding member of the Victoria Sustainable Tourism Alliance. Their boats are energy efficient, clean and quiet to reduce water and air pollution. Oh, and they provide every customer with a whale sighting guarantee.

“The natural world has massive demands placed upon it every day. At Eagle Wing we believe that being a responsible steward means being active, positive contributors to the ecosystem we love and are able to make our living from.” – Brett Soberg, Eagle Wings Tour co-owner

Environmental Support:

Through 1% for the Planet, Eagle Wing Tours supports Cowichan Energy Alternatives, Shaw Center for the Salish Sea, Sierra Club BC, Goldstream Volunteer Salmonid Enhancement Society, Saturna Island Marine Research & Education Society (SIMRES), Center for Whale Research, Marine Education and Research Society (MERS) and Race Rocks to just name a few! We highly encourage you to take the time to learn more about their environmental stewardship and conservation efforts.


CONSCIOUS ADVENTURIST

📍Around the world

Conscious Adventurist is a global travel organization committed to ethical, sustainable and responsible travel. Conscious Adventurist aims to provide they best customized, mindful travel for any age or experience. From adventure trips for the adrenaline junky to a relaxed trek through a new country, every itinerary is customizable and can accommodate any travelers needs. Every trip is a combination of fulfilling a traveler’s desire to connect with a new place and the obligation to protect the environment for future adventurers.

With Conscious Adventurist, you can truly go anywhere in the world— get inspired by 7 Life-Changing Experiences Around the World and 23 Must-Visit American Cities for Outdoor Adventure Travel. Wherever you decide to go, you can travel knowing that your trip helps give back.

Want to learn more about how you too can be a more sustainable traveler? Learn from the experts at Conscious Adventurist about 5 Ways to Give Back When You Travel and 15 Ways to Reduce Waste When You Travel.

Environmental Support:

As a 1% for the Planet member, Conscious Adventurist strives to give back as much as possible by supporting nonprofit organizations like Protect Our Winters. They are an eco-conscious organization that works to build environmental initiatives into their business.

 

RUN THE ALPS

📍France, Italy & Switzerland

There’s no denying that the French, Italian and Swiss mountain ranges are some of the most stunning views in the world. Run The Alps provides the opportunity to explore these incredible mountains by foot. Run The Alps aims to provide the best trail running experience for runners of any level, with guided and self-guided tours.

Whether you’re exploring the Italian Dolomites or running through French, Italy and Switzerland on their most popular tour, Tour Mont-Blanc, Run The Alps always incorporates Leave No Trace principles into their trips. They are committed to responsible travel and work to reduce the impact of their travel, including purchasing carbon offsets and of course, their 1% for the Planet membership.

Environmental Support:

Through their 1% for the Planet membership, Run The Alps works to protect the wild places they run by supporting 1% for the Planet and research in the impact of climate change on high altitude environments through their partnership with The Research Center for Alpine Ecosystems.


ALASKA ALPINE ADVENTURES

📍Alaska

Alaska Alpine Adventures started in 1998 with sustainable roots as they worked to incorporate conservation ethics into every part of their company and travel itineraries since day one. In 2015, they took their commitment to protecting Alaska to the next level by joining 1% for the Planet.

Through Alaska Alpine Adventures, you can explore Alaska’s wildest places via backpacking, hiking, kayaking, rafting or a combination of adventure sports. The hard question isn’t how you’ll explore Alaska, but where will you go. With so many incredible options through Alaska’s national parks, it’s hard to decide on just one trip. We’d suggest starting with Alaska Alpine Adventures’ bread and butter: Lake Clark National Park. This extraordinary trip is where Alaska Alpine Adventures guided their first tour in 1998 and to this day is regarded as their favorite place to explore.

Environmental Support:

Alaska Alpine Adventures supports Alaska Center for the Environment and Trout Unlimited to protect their local environment with, Student Conservation Association to inspire future generations to to the same, and 1% for the Planet to strengthen and grow environmental philanthropy around the world. Additionally, Alaska Alpine Adventures is heavily involved in the ongoing battle to save Bristol Bay.


LVR- Indian Shores Sundeck.jpg

LEGACY VACATION RESORTS

📍Florida, California, Colorado, Nevada

Legacy Vacation Resorts provides experiences for families and friends to create unique moments and lasting memories in a manner that respects the environment, employees and community. As part of their mission, they hope to educate consumers on the importance of supporting conscious businesses as well as the hospitality industry on how to attain sustainable economic development. The company boasts eight locations across four states, delivering a variety of options for travelers of all ages including warm beaches, thrilling mountain adventures, natural settings, iconic attractions and more.

With a core passion for sustainability and using the power of business as a force for good, this 1% For The Planet Member and Certified B Corporation® offers carbon footprint offsetting, waste reduction initiatives, sustainable lifestyle awareness campaigns and green-focused renovation projects. Travelers to each location can not only enjoy their vacation but also know their trips are supporting causes to create positive impact for the environment and the communities in which they visit.

Environmental Support:

Stays at LVR properties contributes to a variety of charities such as the For Good Movement, an organization dedicated to inspiring the spread of conscious business in the State of Florida and beyond. Every single guest who books directly with the resort has their carbon footprint offset on behalf of the company via We are Neutral. Legacy also supports a wide variety of other environmental programs and organizations such as Solar United Neighbors, IDEAS for Us and the Social Impact & Sustainability Initiative at the University of Florida.


GLOBE + TRIBE

📍Around the world

Globe + Tribe is a boutique travel agency with a big goal: purposeful tourism. This company firmly believes that ‘intentional’ travel journeys hold the ability to encourage future environmental stewards and promote community development, sustainable development and conservation efforts in the world’s most wild places.

With these goals in mind, Globe + Tribe specializes in ‘emerging’ and ‘frontier’ destinations such as Andalusia, Cuba, Georgia, Iberia, Mongolia, and more. For the most adventurous travelers who enjoy life off-the beaten-path, they also offer Discovery Journeys where you can join Globe + Tribe on a test-run before they offer trips to the general public.

Already have a destination in mind or do you want expert advice on your next itinerary? Globe + Tribe also offers customizable Bespoke Journeys to fulfill your next travel bucket list.

Environmental Support:

Globe + Tribe is a new member to our network. While they currently support 1% for the Planet, they’re working closely with our membership team to choose their nonprofit partners that align with their mission.


WANDERWELL

📍Everywhere you travel

Okay, so you’ve reached this far in our blog and you may have already decided where you want to go next. Beyond incredible travel destinations, our network also offers incredible services that ensure your travel plan goes smoothly. Let us take this time to introduce you to Wanderwell.

Wanderwell is a social enterprise masquerading as a travel insurance company. Their tag line is “you go, we give” and they mean it. When they joined 1% for the Planet, they pledged to not only meet their 1% commitment but bumped it up to 10%—because as a member and BCorp Certified business, they’re serious about environmental conservation and sustainable business practices.

So, whether you’re looking for a single-trip protection, medical, corporate, study abroad, or even ex-pat plans, Wanderwell has coverage types for every traveler looking to give back.

“The more we travel the clearer our lenses become to view how interconnected the beings and elements of our planet are to each other. We discover the need to conserve, contribute, and sustain, and our responsibility to act in such a way expands. Traveling breeds environmental consciousness.” – Wanderwell

Environmental Support:

Wanderwell may donate directly to 1% for the Planet, but they’ve chosen to donate a little bit more—with 10% of their annual sales going back to the planet.


CARBON CREDIT CAPITAL

📍Anywhere you go

As we mentioned, travel can increase our negative environmental impact. Luckily, there are companies like Carbon Credit Capital that help off-set the carbon emissions we produce when we fly, drive, eat and basically do anything as humans.

Carbon Credit Capital aims to increase our understanding of carbon emissions and ways that businesses, organizations and individuals can work to reduce (and reverse) their impact. To start, we’d suggest reading through their Carbon Cutting Tips to better understand the ways your travel and everyday actions play a role in climate change. Then, consider how your travel plans can be mitigated and altered to decrease your impact. Finally, consider purchasing a carbon off-set plan from Carbon Credit Capital for your travels. With the carbon off-set credits, Carbon Credit Capital supports projects that reduce, avoid and destroy harmful greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.

Environmental Support:

Carbon Credit Capital understand the importance of strengthening the systems that grow environmental giving, which is why they chose to support 1% for the Planet as their primary nonprofit partner.

Delivering on the Promise of Purpose Beyond Profits

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August 19, 2019

Do you believe that companies should have a purpose beyond profits? If your answer is yes, you’re in the right place. Fortune’s fifth annual Change the World Listcelebrates those companies and leaders that embrace corporate purpose and recognize how it can add value to business and society.

Purpose beyond profits is being demanded from all corners including employees, investors, and the millennials and Gen Z who represent the next generation of leaders, so it’s not a surprise that business leaders are taking note. And the realities of the 21st century demand that companies act on their stated purpose, returning to a business environment that serves more than shareholders. The world has never been richer, but never more unequal, with the top 10% of adults holding 85% of the global wealth. The world is out of balance and we’re seeing this imbalance present itself in our public discourse, elections, and growing resentment and suspicion of those with power and resources who seem to be writing the rules of the game. With all the disparities in wealth, barriers to stability and prosperity for so many, and climate change testing the resilience of communities and governments, corporate purpose needs to take on a more substantive meaning that integrates societal benefits and helps meet the needs of our time.

A survey of global corporate executives shows that more than 80% believe shared purpose leads to greater employee satisfaction, customer loyalty, and higher-quality products and services. At the same time, less than half of the business leaders surveyed agree that their company’s stated purpose is well-aligned with its business strategy and operations.

So how does a company’s purpose statement grow into something more than words on a poster or in a marketing campaign? 

The bad news is that there’s no magic formula to becoming a purpose-led company. Most companies grounded in purpose have different policies, programs, and practices to support their efforts toward achieving their purpose potential.  The good news is there is a powerful practice that can be the economic engine in purpose-led companies.

‘Shared value’ as a guiding principle

Shared value, the business discipline coined by Michael E. Porter and Mark Kramer, aims to be that engine. As Porter and Kramer put it when they introduced the discipline in a Harvard Business Review article in 2011, shared value “enhances the competitiveness of a company while simultaneously advancing the economic and social conditions in the communities in which it operates. Shared value creation focuses on identifying and expanding the connections between societal and economic progress.” We believe shared value is the most powerful practice companies can leverage to fulfill their purpose aspirations because it uses the core business to drive societal change.  It can also be one of the most authentic because it relies on core business practices and know-how.

In looking at companies that have embedded purpose into their strategy and operations we’ve found that their stated purposes have four common attributes.

* They are significant and tie to some unmet need in society, such as those defined by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
* They are authentic with roots in the company’s history and playing out in the company’s operating culture.
* They are profitable and incentivize leaders to further invest, partner and scale their activities.
* And finally, they are serious, with leaders being held accountable for achieving their purpose.

We believe that companies at all stages in the purpose journey can aspire to do things better in service of delivering on the promise of purpose. We encourage you to look at your own work to identify where you can do things differently, finding new ways to drive shared value. And know that you can find fellow changemakers, idea generators, and committed leaders in the Shared Value Initiative community where you can exchange ideas, gain inspiration, and learn from each other.

As we look at this year’s list we applaud the pioneering individuals who are doing the hard, sometimes lonely and often complicated work of leading their companies to fully live into a corporate purpose. Now more than ever the world needs our collective energy and commitment to bend the arc of history towards a more equitable, just and sustainable society, and we hope that as companies drive to achieve their purpose potential, we will see much-needed progress.

Greg Hills is the co-CEO of FSG,  a nonprofit social-impact consulting firm. Bobbi Silten is the managing director of Shared Value Initiative, a platform for organizations seeking business solutions to social challenges.

B Corps Use Business to Improve Social and Environmental Factors that Have a Big Impact on Our Well-Being

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While many people equate health with traditional (and typically costly) medical care, the factors that most influence an individual’s well-being are where they live, work and play. Known as the social determinants of health, these issues overlap with what Certified B Corporations promise to consider when they sign the Declaration of Interdependence and shape how the companies Vote Every Day through their business practices to build a better world. B Corps that are leading performers on these practices—scoring in the top 10 percent of the B Impact Assessment administered by B Lab—are honored each year as Best For The World.

Among the community health-focused B Corp leaders is Northwest Permanente, a Portland, Oregon-based medical group with more than 1,300 physicians and clinicians. A 2019 Best For The World honoree in the Overall, Customers and Workers categories, Northwest Permanente recently released a climate action plan for its operations and region—a unique move in the health care industry. The Northwest Permanente plan includes steps to ensure that vulnerable populations in its communities have a leading voice in planning for climate interventions; minimize the B Corp’s greenhouse gas footprint and offset the carbon its core business creates; and make the case for climate-smart business as a strategy for financial solvency amid growing uncertainty.

“What we’re really trying to say is that health care goes way beyond the clinic, and we need to address social and environmental factors. Over 60% of health issues are around housing, security, education, and transportation,” says Carolyn Allison, interim director of communications at Northwest Permanente. “Addressing the climate crisis is imperative for the medical community. As physicians, our voices are among the most trusted resources when it comes to issues that will impact our health, yet the field of medicine has been slow to respond to this issue. We created a platform that other health systems can use, and we’re really excited about that.”

By stepping up to face our planet’s biggest social and environmental challenges with steps such as a climate action plan, B Corps like Northwest Permanente serve as a model for other businesses looking to build a better world and a healthy and strong future for themselves and others.

We talked with several other Best For The World honorees to learn more about how they strive to improve the health of their communities and build a better world through their everyday operations. In addition to Northwest Permanente (NWP), these B Corps include:

  • Community honoree Wakami, a handmade jewelry and fashion enterprise based in Guatemala that works with rural artisans;
  • Community honoree Hood to Coast, an Oregon-based event firm that puts on the world’s largest running and walking team relay;
  • Governance honoree Salt Palm Development, a Florida-based real estate development firm dedicated to the health of the people of its hometown St. Petersburg.

​Below we highlight how these B Corps Vote Every Day for stronger, healthier communities by addressing social and environmental factors through their work.

How does your B Corp build a better world by improving or enhance the health/well-being of your customers and others in your community?

Northwest Permanente: Volunteering for change is part of our DNA at NWP. Annually, NWP supports our physicians and clinicians who participate in caring for the unserved populations in our communities by staffing free clinics during Martin Luther King Day of Service and throughout the year. In the NWP Hippocrates Circle program, our physicians serve as mentors for middle school students interested in a health care career to ensure the medical workforce of the future represents the communities we serve. We know that patients do better when cared for by physicians who look like them, can speak their native language, and have similar experiences.

Hood to Coast: With the Hood and Portland To Coast Relay and HTC Race Series, we see a direct impact in improving health and well-being by creating more active lifestyle choices in the Portland community and around the world. People sign up to run or walk in the race and create friendships committed to training with one another throughout the year. We often hear stories from participants of how they met their partner, became more active, changed eating habits or rekindled connection with longtime friends and family, all through the bond shared in this incredible long-distance running/walking team relay adventure.

Many of the B Corp values align with social determinants of health. Please share an example of how your B Corp affects or improves these areas.

Northwest Permanente: As a part of NWP living our B Corp values, we have a growing and maturing corporate social responsibility program to address environmental leadership, food insecurity, and education with three community partners. The first is with Forest Park Conservancy, the largest park within the boundaries of a U.S. city. NWP provides funding and volunteer support for things like trail maintenance, restoration projects and removal of invasive species like ivy to preserve the park. Our partnership with Meals on Wheels People, which ensures that home-bound and transportation-challenged seniors can get proper nutrition every day, allows us to help address hunger while also breaking down the walls of social isolation. Reach Out and Read (ROR) is our educational partner. By providing complimentary books to our youngest members (6 months to 5 years) at their annual wellness exams, and prescribing books and reading aloud, ROR fosters the language-rich interactions between parents and their young children that stimulate early brain development. This early education can help reduce the achievement gap, providing a foundation for success and keeping children in school longer.

Wakami: In countries like Guatemala, with one of the biggest gender gaps in the world and the biggest in the American continent, once women are empowered they change reality for their children, their families, and their communities. We measure impact—including nutrition of children of Wakami workers, school attendance, and women empowerment—with a monitoring system. What we are seeing is that 60% of (Wakami workers’) children with chronic malnutrition are starting to recover and children of Wakami workers have 75% more school attendance than the national average. Also, 95% of the women who work with Wakami came out as more empowered by having a source of income for the first time. Check out Wakami’s GoFundMe pages.

Salt Palm Development: One of the best examples of how Salt Palm aligns with these determinants is the support and sponsorship for a local program called the IDEAS Hive in St. Petersburg. The Hive is run by IDEAS For Us, an Orlando-based nonprofit and accredited NGO of the United Nations, and provides a Think + Do Tank designed to educate members of the public about sustainability and develop their ideas into local action projects. Hives across various communities meet to grow stakeholders and educate them around the 17 Sustainable Development Goals through seminars, field trips, action projects, and film screenings. Salt Palm, via the St. Pete For Good program, provided the resources to bring the IDEAS Hive to St. Petersburg and foster this kind of social and environmental impact growth.

How does your B Corp, as a Best For The World honoree, Vote Every Day to build a better world? How do you help other businesses and customers do the same? 

Hood to Coast: The Hood and Portland To Coast Relays and HTC Race Series votes every day in choices we make, big or small, to create a better future and act as a model for others in the athletics industry by choosing to work with women-led or co-owned businesses and vendors, by creating more efficient ways to reduce waste and improve recycling on the 199-mile race course, and by reusing banners, water containers, table tarping and other equipment instead of throwing them away as others might. Additionally, we donate staff time and funds to help over 35 local nonprofit organizations.

Salt Palm Development: After becoming a B Corp in 2019, Salt Palm created the Florida For Good Movement. Salt Palm feels strongly that business leaders will help shape our future and should realize that their success is predicated on the success of their stakeholders and not just their shareholders. Salt Palm also is dedicated to the overall health and conscious development of St. Petersburg, with 95% of its expenses in 2018 going to benefit corporations, charities, and the Florida for Good program. Salt Palm also recently provided Florida for Good with the capital necessary to invest in DoneGood, a conscious online shopping platform, to help participating businesses grow and thrive so that consumers will vote with their dollars for a better future. In addition, Salt Palm uses several programs in the construction of its luxury townhomes that encourage homebuyers to lead more sustainable and mindful lives.

What does your business gain as a member of the B Corp community? Why would you encourage other businesses to join the B Corp community?  

Northwest Permanente: We all strive to continuously improve, and being a B Corp helps us do just that. By participating in B Lab’s annual Inclusive Economy Challenge (IEC), we are able to look at specific areas where we can improve in ways that makes a measurable impact in our organization and in our communities. The IEC helps us identify areas where we can still make improvements and do better for our members, employees, and society.

Hood to Coast: Since Hood to Coast became a B Corp, participants and the broader community tell us they feel validated and positive in voting with their dollars for a business that makes a multifaceted effort to constantly improve in sustainability, inclusion, and upholding high standards of coverage and morale for its employees. As a B Corp, Hood To Coast has gained an embracing and positive community of B Corps that genuinely want to collaborate. In speaking with B Corp leaders, we’ve brainstormed ideas and creative problem-solving, and continually find groups within this community that truly root one another on and want to collaborate with like-minded, mission-driven businesses.

Wakami: Wakami has been certified since 2013, because we loved the B Corp values and the concept and people speaking a language and a narrative that we fully believe in. For us, it would be great to be able to connect to other B Corps looking to distribute our products. Our goal is to find corporations interested in impact procurement around light manufacturing, agriculture, tourism, so we can train the communities, get the investments needed, and connect them to the market.

Salt Palm Development: One of the key benefits Salt Palm gained as a member of the B Corp community was know-how. The B Impact Assessment reveals more ways to use business for good, and B Corp certification brings credibility and trust. Salt Palm encourages businesses to join the B Corp community for two primary reasons. The first: The future will be purpose-based, as proven by multiple studies on millennial and Generation Z consumers. If a company does not adapt to a more purpose-driven and mindful model, it may not continue to be successful. The second: Society needs business to use its power and resources for good. If a business owner or leader values clean air, a safe environment for their family, transparency, accountability, and a general fairness to all things, they should then want businesses to care about the same issues and the first step in making that a reality is by doing it with their company.

Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, and 30 other companies tell the Business Roundtable CEOs to put up or shut up

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A week ago the Business Roundtable, a lobbying group composed of the nation’s leading CEOs, including Apple’s Tim Cook and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, announced a decision to change the definition of the “purpose of a corporation” from solely making money for its shareholders to having a commitment that its actions benefit all stakeholders, including its shareholders, of course, but also including its employees, communities, and the environment.

The Business Roundtable’s decision was huge news considering it proffered upending the decades-old capitalist goal of maximizing profits at any cost to a more holistic goal of looking out for the well-being of everything the company’s actions affects. However, the Business Roundtable’s decision to change the definition of the “purpose of a corporation” isn’t legally binding, which means right now it’s just really good PR.

The thing is, there’s already a group of thousands of companies that are already doing what the Business Roundtable has, so far, only paid lip service to. The B Corporation movement, as its cofounders explained in an op-ed in Fast Company last week, have not only committed to delivering value to all of their stakeholders, not just their shareholders—they’ve gotten legislation passed that legally requires them to do so:

To the cofounders of the B Corporation movement, this view of the role of business in society isn’t new. We created the B Corp certification to identify business leaders who demonstrate that their companies deliver value to all of their stakeholders, not just their shareholders—to maximize value, not just profits. Then we realized that we needed to go further to address the doctrine of shareholder primacy by passing benefit corporation legislation in 37 U.S. jurisdictions, including Delaware, that allows corporations to make themselves legally accountable to create value for their stakeholders. The B Corp movement is now comprised of over 10,000 Certified B Corps and benefit corporations combined across 150 industries and 60 countries, all of which represent the kind of action needed to put credible weight behind any public commitment to upend shareholder primacy and shift the cultural narrative of business in society.

B Corporation@BCorporation

are businesses that meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance. @BizRoundtable, we’d like to help you get there, too, to meet your newly announced stakeholder values. Let’s get to work—together.

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