February is B Corp Month! That means we share, celebrate, and recognize companies taking their environmental and social impact seriously. There are over 2,000 Certified B Corp businesses. Together they directly employ 156,000 people and do over $39 million dollars in sales. One way we were able to support the movement was by donating a vacation package for two to one of their #BCorpMonth giveaways. Also, we had the pleasure of hosting the owners of another B Corp Company for not one, but two weeks this month. Bernie and Christie Geiss of Cove Continuity Advisors, Inc. out of Vancouver, B.C., did two back-to-back Bodhi Sessions and conquered their fears of the ocean, led multiple meditation classes, and made new, lifelong friends.
In honor of B Corp Month, I interviewed Bodhi Surf + Yoga co-owner Adrianne, as well as Bernie and Christie, about the importance of B Corps. This blog will highlight some of the key takeaways from that conversation. While these are not all direct quotes or an interview transcript, they succinctly highlight points from the Facebook Live interview we did on February 20th, 2018.
A conversation with Bernie and Christie of Cove Continuity Advisors Inc. and Adrianne of Bodhi Surf + Yoga about B Corporations and more! #BCorpMonth #BtheChange(Corrected version of Facebook Live video from February 20th, 2018)
Posted by Bodhi Surf + Yoga on Thursday, 22 February 2018
My first question aimed to get everyone on the same page about what a B Corp is. I figured there are still a lot of people who have never heard what it means to be a B Corp. So I asked the group:
What is a B Corp company?
Bernie: It is a process to certify companies who have made a commitment to improve their environmental and social impact.
Adrianne: It’s a completely voluntary process, businesses don’t have to do it it’s something that they take the initiative to do.
Christie: We think all businesses should become B Corps, and they should “B” the change. We want to leave an earth for the children to carry on, so B Corps make a pledge to do that… to use their business as a tool for change and a tool for good. It’s super important that every business become one.
Christie’s wonderful answer touched on my next question a bit which was:
Why are B Corps so important?
Adrianne: There isn’t a downside to becoming a B Corp, it’s a win-win. If you’re already doing the things that would qualify you as a B Corp, then it’s nice to have a third party to verify that you’re not just green washing — saying that you’re doing good for the environment when you’re not. If you’re not doing the things that would qualify you to become a B Corp, then you should be doing them!
“The fate of ourselves, our future generations, and our planet really do hinge on how we start acting now. It should have been yesterday, but now is what we have to work with. We all need to pull together to turn the tide a bit on the social and environmental issues that we collectively face.”
B Corp companies can come from many different industries. Bernie and Christie own an advisory firm so I asked them to share more information about their company.
Cove Continuity Advisors, Inc.
Bernie: Cove Continuity Advisors is a continuity advisory firm that works with business owners and families to ensure the continuity of their wealth or businesses in the event of change. We also have impact planning because in order to make anything last a long time there must be some purpose that drives the enterprise. We introduced impact planning services to help other companies discover what their unifying purpose is and to help them express that purpose. Part of how we do that is to explore how they stack up against other companies who are committed to social and environmental change and also those companies that have a defined purpose.
I then asked Adrianne more about their business as well.
Bodhi Surf + Yoga
Adrianne: Bodhi Surf + Yoga is a tourism business located in Bahia Ballena, Costa Rica. We do week long surf and yoga camp packages for adults or families. We make a positive impact by getting our guests them to think about the environment and our connection to it through a powerful activity such as surfing. We also want them to think about their mental connection to their body and the place they live through a spiritual practice such as yoga. We tie it all together. We notice people are very open and receptive to learning when they are on vacation. We get to see people in the best version of themselves when they are stress free. So it’s a really interesting time to share knowledge.
With so many options out there for consumers, I was interested in learning more about the following:
Why is it important for consumers to choose B Corp companies?
Bernie: Part of the reason why companies and business have to be the agents of change is because there’s lack of political will to take the actual steps to make the changes necessary to solve the planetary environmental crises… and also the social crises that are growing out of the environmental crises. Politicians don’t have the will to make the important changes. What’s been proven is when consumers use their dollars to “vote”, they can enact incredible change. So B Corps are an opportunity for consumers to make a choice for what they believe, assuming they believe in environmental and social justice.
There is some confusion around the idea that if you’re a company that has a purpose to do good then you’re more expensive than another company. But that’s not always the case. Ask questions about the company that’s supplying your product, what are they doing to the environment? What are they doing to do as little harm as possible? How are they treating the people who produce their goods? There’s a huge opportunity for consumers to cast their dollar votes.
I loved this concept of “dollar voting”, and wanted to raise the question that readers/watchers were sure to have:
Where can consumers find B Corps near them to support?
Bernie: There is a website [www.bcorporation.net] and you can use their search engine to find B Corps in your area. You can also search by industry or region.
Christie: There’s also a symbol on products that are B Corps. The community is working on raising awareness so people will actually understand the logo.
“I think a lot time these companies aren’t necessarily acting out of the goodness of their heart, I think businesses who are investing in the future are smart. They aren’t necessarily doing it to be altruistic. They are perhaps absorbing that cost and extending a benefit to the consumer. As responsible consumers we have to support companies that are doing their part, they are making the world a better place in their practices and I think that this movement is growing. We know that it’s growing.”
I was interested in learning about which B Corps were these guys’ favorites!
What is your favorite B Corp?
Christie: Patagonia, which is what we are wearing, it’s all we wear in fact it’s our corporate style. Our second one is Bodhi Surf + Yoga. You’ve all gotta come!
Adrianne: I think one of my favorites is Klean Kanteen. Here at Bodhi, we have put a lot of our focus behind eliminating single-use plastics. This company is making lots of metal bottles, cups, and straws. Each person who purchases one of these products is not purchasing single-use products that ultimately often end up in the ocean. So I really like Klean Kanteen. I really love Ben and Jerry’s too!
At Bodhi Surf + Yoga, we aren’t satisfied with simply being a Certified B Corp company. We want more companies to step up and assess their owns impact, and to constantly improve ourselves as well. This month, we went through our impact assessment so we could see ways to improve our score. We are also proud to be participating in the Inclusive Economy Challenge, (call to action for the community of Certified B Corporations to improve our collective impact and move toward an inclusive economy). For Bodhi, it’s not just about the numeric score but what the number represents; as we increase our number, we become better employers, better environmental stewards, and a catalyst for social change.
We encourage you to find a B Corp in your area and do your part by casting your dollar votes. Happy B Corp Month, everybody!
Written by Katie Jones