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Long focused on the triple bottom line, Bazzani Building Co. recently decided to see if it was really walking the walk as a sustainably minded and socially responsible business.
The company submitted itself to the rigorous B Corp Certification process through the nonprofit B-Lab, which has certified more than 1,000 companies in 33 countries, based on social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.
Bazzani couldn’t have been happier with the final point tally of 147 out of 200, which puts it ninth on the list of other similarly sized companies.
Guy Bazzani, CEO and founder of Bazzani, was quick to point out the score is above Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s, both of which are well-known businesses in the triple bottom line community.
The company earned the most points in the environmental category. It also did well in the community and employee categories.
“We are very pleased that we scored so well on the metrics,” Bazzani said.
The company’s triple bottom line approach began long ago. Bazzani said the firm joined the Social Venture Network when it was founded in 1987. The Social Venture Network offered a national “platform to connect, inspire and support influential entrepreneurs who wanted to use business to create a values-driven and sustainable world.”
The Social Venture Network continues today and has gained a strong reputation and influence within the triple bottom line community.
Bazzani was also a founding member of Local First and remains a member of the organization today.
“Part of our value mission is we are a triple bottom line business that recognizes there is a strong interplay between the economic, social and environmental aspects of our world,” Bazzani said.
He said his love of the outdoors and a concern with environmental issues were the backbone for his commitment.
“I love to hike in the mountains and be involved in environmental issues, and I was in a business that was really quite destructive,” he said.
When he entered the construction industry and saw the detrimental practices that were commonplace, Bazzani said he wanted to find a different way to get the job done.
“At one point, the construction business really started with complete devastation and then rebuilt from a raw piece of land that has been wiped down to the dirt level,” he said. “For myself and for the planet, I had to change the way we did business.”
Bazzani pointed to sourcing as one of the aspects his company has focused on in decreasing its environmental impact.
“What’s best for the environment in terms of how you purchase materials, how you source your materials, how far away those materials are from your location, how to source the most effective way to build a business,” he explained.
Today, Bazzani said he is driven by how the company will live on when he is no longer at the helm.
“I’m working on a transition plan, although I don’t ever want to really retire,” he said. “This will allow a set of metrics to keep Bazzani on track with its triple bottom line practices.
“As the company gets older and transitions beyond my involvement, it will always be a third-party designation for how well we are performing in the community and the environment. That is the legacy I’d like to set in motion.”
B Corp designations are good for two years, and then a company must resubmit to the process to continue its certification.
Bazzani is a proponent of the process.
“They thoroughly go through your books and tax returns and what you donate — you have to really open up to get this designation,” he said. “That process is, I think, really healthy for all businesses.”
Other Certified B Corps in West Michigan include Cascade Engineering and Brewery Vivant.
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