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Street Talk: What do you want to B? Good examples abound

Street Talk: What do you want to B? Good examples abound

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Imagine working for a business that wants to improve your quality of life and increase the power of your impact outside the workplace — and where you are rewarded for reducing your travel impact, volunteering in your local community, eating local food, or reducing your waste.

Brewery Vivant is doing just that. And it’s also leading the way in organizational transparency by publishing an annual report about its economic, social and environmental impact. In the past year the brewery has: donated 11 percent of its profits to charities; shared all profits with its employees on its annual employee appreciation day; made 57.7 percent of all its purchases from Michigan companies; encouraged volunteerism, with employees volunteering 130 hours in the community.

Brewery Vivant recently joined the ranks of three other B Corporations in West Michigan and is now sharing and learning from other values-aligned businesses at monthly meetings facilitated by Local First.

One of the B Corps — Gazelle Sports — was so inspired by Brewery Vivant's employee incentive program that it implemented a similar program.

“Gazelle Sports is thrilled to be part of a growing group of certified B Corps in West Michigan. Local business peers offer a greater opportunity to share and access innovative best practices,” said Chris Lampen-Crowell, owner.

“In the past month, we have implemented an employee incentive program that supports individual change toward sustainability that was shared from Brewery Vivant, and an employee training program on diversity and culture from Cascade Engineering.”

Grand Rapids Community Foundation announced it is partnering with Local First through a $200,000 grant over the next three years to expand social entrepreneurship programming and to foster further connections between B Corp business owners in the Grand Rapids community. Programming will be open to all businesses and will give a forum for entrepreneurs and business leaders to discuss best business practices related to B Corp implementation.

“B Corporations embody so many Grand Rapids Community Foundation values. By adopting best practices around social equity and the environment within their business structures, they are leading significant change in our community.” said Laurie Craft, GRCF program director “In addition to the social impact of B Corporations, we also look forward to the possibilities that await our community as B Corporations collaborate with the nonprofit sector. There is great potential for expanding local social enterprise.”

Local First recently launched a shortened assessment tool in conjunction with B Lab, the nonprofit behind B Corporation, which allows businesses to assess their practices and compare themselves to other businesses across the nation. This free tool is a modified version of the assessment companies can take to become certified B Corps.

“We at Local First have always believed that business has the power to positively transform community. This generous grant will allow us to expand our efforts to build connections between businesses to share best practices, and encourage businesses to do good in our community,” said Elissa Hillary, executive director.

For original news article, click here.

Photo courtesy of Brewery Vivant.