What percentage above living wage did your lowest-paid worker (excluding interns) receive during the last fiscal year? Is average compensation for men and women equal in comparable non-managerial roles in your company? What is the multiple of your company’s highest compensated individual (including bonus) compared to the lowest paid full-time worker? Does your company have a formal process to share financial information with its full-time employees?
These are some of the factors listed in the Inclusive Economy Metric Set, released today from B Labs, the global organization that certifies, promotes and strengthens the worldwide community of 1,600 Certified B Corporations. While designed with Certified B Corporations in mind, B Labs is inviting any company to use the metric set to make their operations, business model and supply chain more inclusive.
Certified B Corporations are for-profit companies certified by B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. Known as “B corps” for short, the companies are in a wide variety of sectors, from food to energy to media to manufacturing to waste management, even banking and finance.
There are 24 currently listed B corps in the “credit provider” category. Spring Bank is one of them, headquartered in the South Bronx, and NYC’s only B corp bank. As a federally certified community development financial institution (CDFI), it specializes in providing access to basic financial services and lending products tailored to the needs of low-to-moderate income communities. Using its credit builder loan product, one client went from no credit score to a score of 660 in six months.
There are also 23 real estate development companies that are B corps, and 50 investment advisory firms, such as Trillium Asset Management. Trillium was an early mover in the Divest/Invest movement to move capital out of companies doing business in South Africa during Apartheid and into more responsible investments. More recently, Trillium was also one of a group of investors representing $2.1 trillion in collective assets under management who are calling for a full repeal of North Carolina’s notorious House Bill 2, which overturned protections against discrimination for LGBT individuals in North Carolina.
Trillium was also one of 139 companies worldwide recognized by B Lab on its fourth annual ‘Best for the World Overall’ honoree list for generating positive social and environmental impact through business practices and performance.
At their annual B Corps Champions Retreat this week, B Labs challenged these and all B corps to to set goals and improve on three or more inclusion metrics for an inclusive economy, using the same metrics they’ve released broadly. In other words, B corps and all other companies of any size will be measuring themselves against a standard set of metrics for an inclusive economy.
In addition to inviting B corps as well as non-B corps to measure themselves against the same yardstick for inclusive economies, B Labs is also partnering with local cities to educate all companies about how to create high-quality jobs and strengthen communities using the full set of B corp metrics, known as the B Impact Assessment. It’s called the “Best For” initiative, starting with BestFor.NYC, with three more cities in the pipeline for expansion.
Oscar is a Next City 2015-2016 equitable cities fellow. A New York City-based journalist with a background in global development and social enterprise, he has written about impact investing, microfinance, fair trade, entrepreneurship and more for publications such as Fast Company and NextBillion.net. He has a B.A. in Economics from Villanova University.