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A Catalyst for Local Sustainability

A Catalyst for Local Sustainability


7/7/15
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There’s a new certified B Corporation on the block and their name is Catalyst Partners. Comprised of a team of professionals, Catalyst employees hold licensures in science, engineering architecture and interiors just to name a few. They specialize in design protocols and restorative design for buildings, interiors and products, but their work encompasses so much more than that. As a certified B Corporation, Catalyst Partners meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, legally expand their corporate responsibilities to include consideration of stakeholder interests, and build collective voice through the power of the unifying B Corporation brand. In a recent question and answer, Senior Project Manager Eric Doyle spoke about how completing the process of B Corp certification shaped and influenced the company as a whole.

Why is B-Corporation certification something Catalyst Partners pursued?

The B Corp certification for us was used as a metric to see where our business was at and to define areas of improvement. As a company that lives and breathes sustainability, we wanted to focus on social equity in our work. To us, a B Corp acts as the system for measuring the success of a project—to track and measure what we were doing and share that information as a general community.

How did you grow as a company along the way with going through this certification?

The certification process helped us out because in the last year we have been going through a strategic planning process. Although we held many of the facets that B Corps looked for in a sustainable business, we had not implemented the tools to track those things. Going through the process was great because it helped us to find specific areas we wanted to go in the next 5 to 10 years. As we begin to understand the presence and availability of B Corps in Michigan, it hit home with us because all of these values we hold as a company today are something that will grow along with us as we grow as a certified company and pass on new leadership. It’s a very sustainable process.

Now that you are a B-Corp, what does this look like for the future of Catalyst Partners?

Well, we have designed a number of areas for improvement to work on in the employee manual. As our company has grown over the previous years, many added segments of our manual that we discovered going through the B Corp certification, were already a part of our plan, but had not yet implemented. By providing additional clarity to things were doing—similar to a quality management— the B Corp certification allowed us the time to write down and fully understand what needs to be done.

What does sustainability look like beyond the sustainable design and construction industry?

Although Catalyst Partners is focused on the built environment, our goal for the creation of places is a home where all species can flourish, but what does this really mean? It’s people, animals, and insects—not just the physical building that we are involved with. Buildings are not only impactful on human beings, but other creatures as well. We try to involve lots of other opportunities within the areas that we work with such as affordable housing and assisting non-profits in order to try and benefit the community as a whole. Along with this, we have achieved one of the highest Leed Certifications, platinum certified, but still have goals for our buildings to be zero energy by our 100 year anniversary.

As far as our interior goals, we encourage the employees to work with the environment by providing things such as facility bike racks that encourage employee sustainability. It’s about building that community and giving those resources, we are simply taking something they were already passionate about and bringing it into the work environment. We also have a wildlife certified habitat on our property because we want more of a focus beyond people that cohabitate the small site we are on here in the city.

We couldn’t have been successful in this without the great community that is involved around this whole idea of the B Corp Certifications. There were several companies, Gazelle Sports and Bazzani just to name a couple, that helped to get us motivated and push us towards our goal. It really does take those other groups of leaders, which are even doing completely different things from what our company is doing, with a shared passion for doing more than what is typically done. It’s a small group of incredible companies that are growing immensely.