2019: amplifying climate action
In 2019, we sought to deepen our impact across our clients, environment, community, employees, and governance.
2019 was an important year for climate action: September 20 was likely the largest climate protest in world history. And 3Degrees employees stood in solidarity with the global youth climate movement. Some used paid volunteer time to join local climate events, while others stayed in the office and continued our daily work of helping clients take climate action.
As I think about the legacy we will leave behind for the next generation, I am filled with both optimism and concern. We need more action to combat climate change – more urgent action – action that spans individuals, businesses, and government leaders.”Steve McDougal, CEO, 3Degrees
Impact on our clients
We make it possible for businesses and their customers to take urgent action on climate change.
We’re seeing an acceleration of companies willing to step up and take meaningful climate action. Over 500 B Corps – including 3Degrees – made a historic pledge to get to Net Zero by 2030 (20 years ahead of the targets set in the Paris Agreement), announced in December 2019 at the UN Climate Change Conference COP25. This urgency inspires our employees and is infused into our work with clients.
3Degrees supports organizations in developing their long-term renewable energy strategies, including organizations interested in aggregated corporate renewable energy transactions. The participants’ efforts demonstrate how corporate energy buyers of all sizes can successfully purchase renewable energy directly from new renewable projects and spur more development.
Since 3Degrees was founded, a core part of our business has been helping utilities design and manage renewable energy options for their customers. This work continues to expand with new utility partners, fueled by a growing interest in community solar and customized renewable energy programs that provide meaningful choice to electric utility customers. This year, the team expanded outreach efforts through a bilingual pilot program to reach utility customers who prefer Spanish language communications. We also ramped up our support of gas utilities’ efforts to offer climate-smart programs to their customers.
In 2019, 3Degrees continued to work with companies across the globe that are committed to reducing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. One particular highlight was our partnership with Etsy’s sustainability team, as we helped them address the company’s Scope 3, transportation-related emissions by investing in carbon offsets in the near-term (including verified emission projects within the transportation sector), while they continue to work on longer-term solutions.
3Degrees is also working with clients on broader transportation-related solutions, including fleet electrification strategies and leveraging incentive programs such as the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) in California, and similar programs in Oregon and British Columbia.
Impact on environment
The 3Degrees Sustainability Committee has continued its efforts to enhance how we do business. 3Degrees joined forces with more than 500 B Corps in pledging to achieve net zero emissions by 2030. We calculate our annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions footprint. We then match our electricity use with renewable energy credits (RECs), and match the emissions from our employee commuting and business travel with carbon offsets. This year we finalized an official 3Degrees sustainability purchasing policy, which incorporates diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our continuing ‘Talking Trash’ Lunch and Learn series has educated employees in all offices about waste, recycling, composting, and local resources available. And we continue to look for new opportunities to engage our employees.
IMPACT ON COMMUNITY
Employees are eligible (and encouraged) to apply paid hours each year to volunteer at an organization of their choosing. We made good progress towards our 2019 goal of engaging at least 75% of employees to volunteer: 58% of 3Degrees employees logged a total of 278 volunteer hours while also improving tracking and reporting of volunteer hours. Employees participated in a wide variety of projects with environmental non-profits, including ecological restoration in local parks, plastic debris collection on beaches, salmon habitat restoration, and construction of storm window inserts to help save on heating costs, as well as participation in the September Global Climate Action Strikes.
In addition, we expanded the 3DGives Donation Program in both funds and eligible organizations, with over $10,000 given to 23 organizations that employees nominated based on their impact in the community and alignment with 3Degrees’ mission. These donations helped support urban bikeways, bring solar to developing communities around the world, tackle plastic pollution, protect birds and their habitat, defend the rainforest, grow food in community spaces, protect and restore waterways, and support the development of sustainability curriculum for K-12 school children.
IMPACT ON EMPLOYEES
Employees are the heart and soul of 3Degrees. That’s why we continue to seek new ways to foster strong engagement. Since 2018, 3Degrees has conducted an annual employee engagement survey, using the platform of fellow B Corp, Culture Amp. The survey identified places where 3Degrees is performing best (e.g. engagement, work and life balance) as well as areas for improvement (e.g. action, feedback, and recognition).
Importantly, our values guide all of our decisions at 3Degrees, especially with respect to culture. As we seek to build a more inclusive and equitable culture, our values now explicitly talk about diversity. Our employee-led Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion group has continued to play an instrumental role in building our collective awareness and fluency around creating a welcoming environment for diverse groups of people, as well as elevating our understanding of the impacts of climate change on everyone.
Based on employee feedback, we continue to evolve our policies and practices. Some of the 2019 highlights included the following:
- Expanded workplace benefits and policies to support mindfulness
- Enhanced 401K match program: percentage increases to recognize additional years of service
- Launched new Learning and Development benefit for employees
- Started “podcast club” to help employees gain industry knowledge, business skills, and a connective touch point
- Launched a new profit sharing program to reward employees for their contribution and years of service
- Redesigned our Employee Resources Groups to Business Resource Groups, which directly align employee volunteer groups with company strategies, leading to the development of two new groups: Ideation and Innovation, and B Corp
- Created a 3Degrees pet calendar to highlight the many beloved associates of our colleagues
A GREAT PLACE TO WORK
- For the sixth year, 3Degrees was recognized as a Bay Area “Best and Brightest” employer, which is based on both an employee survey and a review of best practices. In addition, we were honored to be recognized as one of the Top Workplaces in Oregon and southwestern Washington based on employee survey feedback.
IMPACT ON GOVERNANCE
We’re strengthening our commitment to the principles of the B Corp movement. Some notable moments from this past year:
- Launched updated company values to ensure our culture remains strong
- Established Leadership Team vision to guide Business Resource Groups and structure so that these groups have a regular voice in decision-making forums
- Refreshed new employee orientation training to share company history and updated values
- Joined B Corp Climate Collective, a group of Certified B Corporations working together to take action on the climate emergency
PUBLIC BENEFITS AND DISCLOSURES
- 3Degrees is both a B Corp and a benefit corporation under California law. We work to provide public benefits to our clients, our employees, and the community.
- 3Degrees measures our public benefit through B Lab Impact Assessment, which measures a company’s positive social impact on its stakeholders. We have been using this assessment since 2012, the year we registered with B Lab. This audit takes place once every three years and will happen again in 2019-2020.
- There is no organizational connection between 3Degrees and B Lab, although a 3Degrees shareholder (and board member) donated a significant amount of money to B Lab when it was founded.
- The 3Degrees shareholders with an ownership stake of more than 5% are Daniel Kalafatas, M. Hadley Mullin, Stephen McDougal, Jan McDougal, The McDougal Family Foundation, Mark Mondik, Erin Craig and American Refining and Biochemical, Inc. (Harry Halloran).
WHAT'S NEXT FOR 2020
We have big plans for 2020, including:
- Completing our B Corp recertification process (Update September 2020: We were re-certified!)
- Rolling out a “North Star” to solidify our commitments to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (Update June 2020: our Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion)
- Recognizing the impact of 5 newly relaunched Business Resource Groups: 3DGives; B Corp; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Ideation and Innovation; and Sustainability
- Growing our Learning and Development opportunities through a structured Director Development Program.