Ask any team member about Southern Energy Management and you’ll likely hear us mention we’re a B Corp. B Corp you may ponder… Why not an A Corp? Or do you mean S Corp? If you’re not certain about what a B Corp is, we’re more than happy to clue you in!
In short, B Corporations are global leaders dedicated to using business as a force for good. Certified B Corps are evaluated to meet rigorous standards for sustainability revolving around social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. To receive a B Corp Certification, companies must complete the B Impact Assessment (BIA) which is administered by B Labs, an independent nonprofit.
Through the assessment, a company’s operations and business model are scored using a point based system on categories of Governance, Workers, Community, and Environment. The grades from each category are then combined into an overall B Impact score that reflects the company’s social and environmental performance. A minimum B Impact score of 80 is required to meet B Corp certification, and B Corps must complete recertification every two years. Recertification isn’t as simple as re-submitting the same paperwork or renewing a membership fee. B Labs is continually improving the assessment to establish more rigorous standards for B Corp certification while also performing random on-site audits for additional verification.
Ten years ago we decided that we needed to manifest our social and environmental values in a formalized manner. From that conclusion we decided to become involved in the B movement, receiving our first certification in 2009. Then, in 2017 and 2018 SEM was named “Best in the World for the Environment”. To achieve this our company had to score in the top 10 percent of over 2500 B Corps in the Environment category. We were thrilled to receive this honor and to know that our work truly matters in making the World and Environment a better place for all.
At SEM’s headquarters on Triangle Drive, in our “SHINE Junction” team lounge space, there is a long wall covered in blackboard paint. Right now along with a few doodles, some swirled chalk dust, and the scratchings of a 2-year-old, you’ll find a list for our Team Members to share their Resolutions & Intentions for 2019. As we’re considering our personal growth for the year, we as a company are also enthusiastic about our opportunities to improve. We’ve decided that as a part of our 10-year business goals we want to be “Best in the World Overall”. To achieve this, we will need to rank in the top 10 percent of all B Cops for all graded categories. Woah, we’ll admit that seems daunting, but we’re resolved to never settle by holding ourselves to a higher standard and becoming Best for the World!
We all know massive resolutions can’t be achieved overnight, or likely even over a year. So we’ve put together a plan of action. Every two years we are regraded and recertified. Our goal is that by 2020 we will become “Best” in another of the B Corp Categories along with Best for the Environment putting us on pace to become Best Overall by 2028. To facilitate this development we’ve organized a new Team to identify and enact the steps needed for progress. We’re calling this group the “B Corp Improvement Team” (and yes, we recognize that’s a bit self-explanatory of a name). Perhaps they should be the B Corp Betterment Bureau or B Corp Bongo Beaters for Benefit? We’re open to suggestions.
New changes will be coming to SEM as the B Corp Improvement Team sifts through the latest certification assessment to determine areas of improvement to earn more points and be our best. A few places we’ve already highlighted for development include adding metrics for holding our leadership team accountable for environmental and social performance, creating a more robust and defined code of ethics program, publicly sharing our social and environmental impact, and opening new lines of communication to evaluate team member satisfaction, with many other ideas to come.
January resolutions can be intimidating but this group is excited and ready to lead the change to become a better company. If you’re reading this and are curious to find out how to become a B Corp we’d like to invite you to our headquarters on March 7th to attend a dinner and drinks event where we’ll also be talking about the steps to become a B Corp. We really hope you make it out, and if you do you can add your resolutions to our list!