New Tool Highlights Steps to Building an Inclusive Company – Next City

New Tool Highlights Steps to Building an Inclusive Company

The Spring Bank branch and headquarters on 167th Street in The Bronx, New York (Photo by Oscar Perry Abello)

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.

Other B corps include Bronx-based Cooperative Home Care Associates, the nation’s largest worker-owned company, and New Belgium Brewing Company, another worker-owned company.

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 contributing writer, and was 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.

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