2020: Building virtual connections and community
Amid a global pandemic that upended work and life, we strengthened our commitment to employees, community, clients, environment, and governance.
While 3Degrees entered 2020 focused on expansion of our renewable energy and decarbonization solutions, the reality of the coronavirus pandemic shifted our attention. We focused on keeping employees safe and supported, including the pandemic transition to a 100% remote workforce. 3Degrees’ made the immediate decision to enhance the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which provided partial paid time off for employees who qualified. We not only allowed employees who had exhausted Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) time off to use FFCRA, we also ensured that anyone who took the time off received full pay.
The devastating impacts of systemic racism in the wake of the killings of Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd spurred global protests. Diversity is one of our company values, and truly living this value requires ongoing, deep work. As a U.S.-headquartered company, 3Degrees exists within a messy, complicated, and unjust legacy of systemic racism.
Over the past year, we have been creating a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) action plan, establishing an accountability team led by the CEO, and overhauling our recruitment process to build a diverse workforce that mirrors the working population of the U.S. by 2030. We closed the company on Friday, June 19th in honor Juneteenth, an annual celebration of the end of slavery in the U.S. Pausing business was a means of acknowledging harm, demonstrating solidarity, and allowing employees time and space for both reflection and action. During meetings of our internal DEI accountability team, we engaged in frank discussion about where we see progress and where we’re still falling short on our DEI action plan.
We — as organizations and as individuals — must recognize, address, and dismantle systemic racism.”Steve McDougal, CEO, 3Degrees
Impact on employees
We recognize that employees had a lot to juggle in 2020, and we are deeply appreciative of their ongoing dedication and engagement.
The catastrophic realities of a global pandemic, ongoing racial injustice, and wildfires due to climate change affected everyone in different ways in 2020. And, the need to support our employees as they navigated these overlapping crises was more critical than ever.
Since 2018, 3Degrees has conducted an annual employee engagement survey, using a survey platform created by Culture Amp, a fellow B Corp. The survey identified places where 3Degrees is performing best (e.g. supporting employees with flexible working arrangements, providing thoughtful and transparent leadership) as well as areas for improvement (e.g. feedback and recognition, learning and development).
We were pleased that we scored above the B Corp benchmark for employee engagement, and we are looking deeper to better understand and take action on the gaps in experiences reported by individuals across demographic groups. We will continue to provide updates in our annual B Corp report on 3Degrees’ progress and lessons learned in building an inclusive and equitable workplace for all.
Based on employee feedback, we continue to evolve our policies and practices. Some of the 2020 highlights included the following:
- Transitioned to 100% remote workforce amid pandemic.
- Continued profit sharing program to reward employees for their contribution and years of service.
- Relaunched five employee-led Business Resource Groups (BRGs): 3DGives; B Corp; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Ideation and Innovation; and Sustainability.
- Established 3Degrees’ DEI action plan in collaboration with employees, including our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) BRG.
- Piloted a new Director Development Program as we grow our Learning and Development opportunities for employees.
- Hosted a virtual holiday party — including our first ever talent show, second annual pet photo contest, and a holiday video featuring 57 employees working from home. The talent show was not only fun; it was also about giving back. 3Degrees contributed to a local nonprofit organization in honor of every participant, resulting in $9,300 in donations.
- Closed business December 24 – January 1 to acknowledge our hardworking team and give them additional opportunity to recharge and rejuvenate.
A GREAT PLACE TO WORK
For the seventh 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 in The Oregonian/OregonLive’s annual rankings.
IMPACT ON OUR CLIENTS
We make it possible for businesses and their customers to take urgent action on climate change.
We’re excited by the ongoing commitment of organizations around the world to advance climate action. 2020 not only brought about changes to 3Degrees’ business; it also had a significant impact on our clients.
Over 800 B Corps — including 3Degrees — have pledged to reach net zero by 2030 (20 years ahead of the target set in the Paris Agreement). This urgency inspires our employees and is infused into our work with clients. On a positive note, more businesses and utilities than ever before committed to ambitious climate goals — such as net zero, carbon neutrality, and science-based targets — as organizations mobilized to address the growing threat of climate change.
3Degrees had to get creative in how we reached our customers to offer our support given that many of our traditional channels, like in-person conferences and events, were not available due to the pandemic. We pivoted quickly to launch our own webinars and virtual office hours, gathered industry stakeholders for virtual forums, and invested more heavily in digital events.
In addition, the pandemic brought an abrupt halt to the door-to-door outreach and local event management we do for our utility partners’ voluntary renewable energy programs. We worked quickly to transition to and scale a virtual call center and redeployed all qualified team members to a secure at-home setting, preserving our workforce and eventually even expanding our team.
IMPACT ON ENVIRONMENT
We seek to inspire others to tread lightly on the planet by working with our employees, clients, and vendors to embody a sense of environmental stewardship.
Our vision for the future is focused on finding new, substantive ways to further reduce 3Degrees’ environmental impact. This work will include a special focus on achieving net zero by 2030, with an emphasis on reductions in 3Degrees’ Scope 3 emissions and exploration of carbon removal projects.
At its core, 3Degrees is focused on reducing our collective environmental impact. As a mid-sized company, we do this while staying committed to the equitable triple-bottom line embodied in our B Corp certification.
3Degrees’ Sustainability Business Resource Group (BRG)’s efforts to enhance how we do business in 2020 included the following:
- Improved our GHG accounting, including Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, and identified areas for improvement in 2021.
- Matched our electricity use with renewable energy credits (RECs), and matched the emissions from our employee commuting and business travel with carbon offsets.
- Purchased water restoration credits to account for all water usage at our offices.
- Implemented a Sustainable Procurement Policy and Supplier Survey Program. The program benchmarks and tracks characteristics about the organizations that 3Degrees purchases from so that we can improve and diversify our supply chain, and in the future, expand our influence.
- Continued our employee education and engagement through a “lunch and learn” series on various topics such as Waste Reduction & Education, Electrification, Soil Carbon Sequestration, Biodiversity, Social & Environmental Justice, and Climate Resilience.
- Partnered with the National Forest Foundation, donating on behalf of employees who opted to plant a tree instead of receiving “swag” and also matched a portion of what was spent in paper printing with a donation.
IMPACT ON COMMUNITY
Living our values and mission means engaging with communities where our employees work and live.
In 2020, we expanded the 3DGives Donation Program in both funds and eligible organizations. We broadened our employee donation matching program from environmental donations to accommodate matching requests for any nonprofit, resulting in greater employee participation than any year prior. 3DGives donated a combined $30,000+ in matching donations to more than 90 organizations that employees nominated based on their impact in the community and alignment with 3Degrees’ mission.
Employees are eligible (and encouraged) to apply paid working hours to volunteer their time and talents to support the community. In 2020, we expanded the scope of volunteer opportunities to any organization of an employee’s choosing. In 2020, we collectively contributed 194 paid volunteer hours to a variety of causes. While opportunities for in-person volunteer events were dramatically reduced due to the pandemic, we organized the first ever company-wide volunteer blitz effort in October to inspire action, bring employees together virtually, and give back to our communities.
Photo: 3DGives is an employee-led Business Resource Group (BRG) that supports volunteerism and charitable gifting.
IMPACT ON GOVERNANCE
Drawing inspiration from a global movement of people using business as a force for good
We’re strengthening our commitment to the principles of the B Corp movement, including sharing results of our recent B Corp recertification with all employees during a company-wide meeting. Some notable moments from this past year:
- Completed our B Corp recertification process in 2020, with an overall B Impact Score of 104.
- Rolled out a “North Star” to solidify our commitments to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
- Launched a new B Corp BRG focused on learning from the B Corp community to strengthen our organization.
- Participated in the B Corp Climate Action Collaborative.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR 2021
We have big plans for 2021, including:
- Expanding and diversifying our Board of Directors, which is now 60% women.
- Launching a strategic Advisory Board, which will enable 3Degrees to leverage the inaugural members’ collective expertise in the renewable energy, mobility, grid electrification, utility, and energy equity spheres.
- Establishing our social mission.
- Delivering on our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion action plan.
- Continuing our work toward net zero by 2030 and evolving methodologies for GHG accounting.
- Continuing to engage internal and external stakeholders to facilitate a holistic view of sustainability and increase transparency through thoughtful communication.
PUBLIC BENEFITS AND DISCLOSURES
- 3Degrees is both a B Corp and a benefit corporation under Delaware law. We provide public benefits to our clients, our employees, and the community.
- 3Degrees measures our public benefit through the 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 in2023.
- 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 ARB, a family investment office.