Author: Katie Soroye

Katie serves as Vice President of Marketing, managing a team that is responsible for capturing customer insights and delivering high-quality marketing solutions to clients that drive awareness, engagement and impact.

Lights, Camera, Action: Rolling up our sleeves at the B Corp Champions Retreat in LA

b-corp-retreat-la

Last week, I attended the 2019 B Corp Champions Retreat in Los Angeles, an opportunity to connect with people from B Corps in the United States and Canada whose companies, like 3Degrees, are united in using business as a force for good. The setting provided a backdrop ripe for discussing the power of storytelling — how that power has historically been used and whose voices have been underrepresented or even ignored. As we considered the current and future state of the B Corp movement, it also provided a reminder — both sobering and inspiring — that the B Corp movement is on its own journey to ensure that we are building an inclusive economy that works for everyone and protects the planet. So as we continue to write B Corps’ evolving story, here are some recent “takes” from the retreat to capture the work ahead.

Lights

The B Corp movement continues to shine the light on how business can be a force for good. Certified B Corporations are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. Indeed, the retreat noted that there are 1,200 American “B Corporations” certified by B Lab and 35 states plus the District of Columbia certify so-called benefit corporations. 

The broader B Corp movement is also spurring additional efforts to redefine the role of business. It was groundbreaking in August when 181 CEOs in the Business Roundtable, which represents some of the largest companies in the world, signed on to a new definition of a corporation akin to the B Corp model.

This was a historic acknowledgment that the economy is not working for everyone. Businesses (and government leaders) need to take on a new level of leadership to address the problems they have helped foster.

Camera

In the age of selfies and influencer vlogs, where do we direct our collective attention? The B Corp Champions Retreat was unequivocal that we MUST focus on climate action. For the past year, B Lab, together with B Corps around the world, has been working on a range of actions to galvanize action across the B Corp community, including plans to update the certification standards to more fully address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, policy advocacy, and employee engagement. I am especially excited about the upcoming B Lab launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Action Manager, in partnership with the UN Global Compact – another tool to help organizations quantify their impact on SDGs #7 (affordable and clean energy) and #13 climate action.

Last Friday, more than 4 million people around the world took to the streets in what was likely the largest climate protest in world history. Internationally, B Corps are standing together with the youth climate strike in demanding government action. Climate change requires our unrelenting attention in the weeks, months, and years ahead if we are to truly fulfill the demands for real action – from governments, businesses, and individuals.

Action

At the core, the B Corp community recognizes that how a business operates and who is included are critical. More than ever, we need an economy that works for everyone (inclusive) and heals the planet (regenerative). For example, we cannot effectively combat climate change (or any issue) if we do not also take action to dismantle institutional and individual biases that perpetuate inequities. It’s a tall order. And one that inspires us to do better.

Throughout the retreat, there were examples mentioned on stage and within side conversations that highlighted the capacity of the B Corp community to push us to a new standard for inclusion. During the opening plenary, James Anderson from the Yerba Mate Co. highlighted the challenges for system affected individuals such as those returning home from incarceration who encounter barriers to finding employment, a critical step for rebuilding their lives. Yerba Mate is focused on providing 10,000 living wage jobs to system affected individuals throughout the world. The harder truth to acknowledge, as fellow attendees and I discussed afterward, is how system affected candidates might fare in our own companies’ application process. We have work to do.

 

The B Corps Champions Retreat was an intense experience: a place to reflect on what it means to be a B Corp, to deepen commitments to address climate change, and to make new connections about how to build a more inclusive economy for everyone. My marching orders are to transform these “takes” from the Champions Retreat to help to craft a new narrative here at 3Degrees and beyond.

 

High altitude reflections: Three insights from the B Corp Leadership Summit on Climate Change

b-corp-summit-skiing-taos

In February, representatives from 35 B Corporations gathered in Taos, New Mexico for the second annual B Corp Leadership Summit, which focused this year on climate change. The topic is my personal passion given my role at 3Degrees, a company whose mission is to make it possible for businesses and their customers to take urgent action on climate change.  B Lab, who convened this event, hoped that the natural beauty and culture of Taos Ski Valley, which is impacted by climate change, would inspire deep conversation, connection, and collaboration. Indeed it did. Here are three key insights I drew from this experience.

Here are three key insights I drew from this experience:

subject-one

Humbled by our collective responsibility: the 12-year window for action

As part of the pre-read materials for the summit, we were encouraged to watch Greta Thunberg’s address at the 2019 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. This sixteen-year-old Swedish student began a strike outside the Swedish Parliament to demand governments honor their commitment to the Paris Climate Accord. Her words provide a chilling call to action as we think about the intergenerational responsibility to address climate change.“I don’t want your hope,” Greta said. “I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.”

As Greta noted, the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report provides a sobering case for mobilization within the next 12 years to avoid the likely impacts if the world warms by 1.5°C.  Already, we have witnessed alarming impacts from the current 1.1C of warming, including the extreme heat, storms, floods, and wildfires that ravaged communities around the world in 2018. Future generations will bear the brunt of our collective inaction. It is a humbling reminder of this tremendous responsibility and renewed my personal and professional commitment to galvanize action.

reason-two

The case for interdependence

Throughout the time in Taos, we focused on the importance of both company action and broader community-wide efforts. The attendees came together with a shared conviction that we need to do more. And we also recognize that we cannot do it alone. As our organizations committed to each other in the B Corp Declaration of Interdependence,

We act with the understanding that we are dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations.”

Hours of conversation and hundreds of post-its notes later, we created a six-month plan with five action groups and a 10-year vision to accelerate climate action. These commitments span company-specific plans, community-wide action, cross-sector collaboration, and public advocacy. And it is just the beginning. Stay tuned for more in the coming months from the B Corp Climate Action Collaborative.

reason-3

Focus on where you want to go – not the obstacles

During the summit, we had the chance to enjoy the natural beauty of Taos, and I clipped into downhill skis after a 12-year hiatus. I went out by myself the first day. Truthfully, it was pretty miserable, especially when it started snowing. My mind and body stopped cooperating. Caving to panic, I gracelessly made pizza pie ski marks down the easiest trails.

The breakthrough came the next day when I had the chance to ski with fellow summit attendees. We had a guide, Christine, who offered an insider perspective on the trails and how to navigate what lay ahead. She also provided small, yet priceless, tips as we regained our ski legs. I started trusting myself and the support I had. Christine inspired all our “Green Trail” team to take on some tougher runs than we might not have explored on our own. “Don’t focus on the obstacles,” she counseled us. “Focus on where you want to go.” The progress was exhilarating.

Back at sea-level, the enormity of Greta’s challenge continues to ring in my ears,  especially as I look at my own kids and wonder what kind of world they will inherit. Determining how to tackle the “mountain” that is climate change is daunting. May we heed the sage advice of Christine, though, as we seek to move from panic to action. Together, let’s focus our attention on where we want to go as we take bold steps to reverse global warming.

Photo courtesy of B Lab

Photo courtesy of B Lab

 

 

If you build it (and market it) well, they will come

UP Whitepaper

The residential renewable energy market is primed for rapid growth. A confluence of market factors is increasing choices for residential customers. Utilities in particular are eager to provide more choices and enhanced customer engagement. 

3Degrees recently released a white paper that discusses the challenges for utilities in designing and delivering meaningful products to satisfy growing customer demand.

The white paper covers topics such as:

  • Program attributes that are most desirable to residential customers
  • Comparison from a customer perspective of three program options
  • Case studies with tips and tricks for successfully marketing each option

Want to learn more? Check out our white paper.

 

 

First RGGI carbon offset project launched by 3Degrees

Offers new opportunities to reduce carbon emissions within RGGI

3Degrees, in partnership with Dorchester Renewable Energy LLC, registered the first ever carbon offset project under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a mandatory cap and trade program covering the electric sector in nine states in the eastern U.S.

The project destroys methane gas from the New Beulah Landfill located on Maryland’s eastern shore. It is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions equal to more than 20,000 metric tons of CO2 per year.

“We are pleased to continue our history of ‘firsts’ in the carbon market, which dates back to a time when we were still known as TerraPass,” said Mark Mondik, Vice President of Carbon Markets at 3Degrees.  TerraPass, renamed Origin Climate in 2014, became part of 3Degrees in a merger between the companies earlier this year.

The sale of RGGI offsets will provide the sole source of revenue to support the operation of the project.

“RGGI support is critical to this project,” said Tom Koch, Principal of Dorchester Renewable Energy. “Voluntary market prices for landfill gas offsets aren’t sufficient to make projects like this economically viable, but through RGGI we are able to reach higher-value buyers.”

According to the latest “Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks” published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), landfills in the United States still account for around 115 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent emissions per year.