In an age where climate change is one of the first things mentioned in political campaigns and global warming updates are plastered all over the news, people have grown infinitely more aware of the environment. This shift toward an eco-friendly lifestyle has opened up a slew of opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to change the planet and capitalize on the green scene.
Starting a business as a benefit corporation and being completely transparent about your environmental performance could pay dividends, not only for the environment but for your business’s bottom line. According to a 2013 Nielsen study, 50 percent of global consumers surveyed are willing to pay more for services and goods that give back to society.
Better still, there are opportunities available in every industry to start a green business. Eco-friendly companies are no longer limited to organic farms or natural product lines. You can even leverage your expertise in a career you’re passionate about and turn it into a green endeavor with a few simple changes. Check out these ideas for starting a green company in an ordinary, everyday field.
Social media has changed the way we communicate and interact with one another. If you’re part of a movement and want to spread and share your message, social media gives you the platform to voice yourself while engaging millions of other people around the world. Whether it’s through Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube, there are plenty of platforms available to reach your target audience.
If you’re an activist, an entrepreneur, or a marketer, it’s time you take advantage of what social media has to offer and use it to advance your green agenda. Here are 7 tips on how to get started.
Image credit courtesy of Athens Chen, designer at DigitalThirdCoast.net
Attracting and retaining key employees is essential to the success of an organization. When employees are working for organizations that give back, their sense of pride, trust and commitment strengthens. When employees feel valued and appreciated their dedication is enhanced with a wonderful influx of motivation which contributes to the vitality of the organization.
Here are 6 ways that businesses can invest in good employees.
1. Helping employees earn graduate degrees and MBAs
Olivet Nazarene University in Chicago offers a program where they will come to your office to fulfill certain program requirements onsite. “Our model is to offer our programs in a variety of settings that essentially take Olivet to the student. We partner with over 20 hospitals and numerous school districts to offer our nursing and education programs onsite at those locations. In addition to our offices in Bourbonnais, Oak Brook, and Rolling Meadows, we have classes running over 100 different locations in Chicagoland and throughout Illinois.”
Moving to a new office space is an exhilarating and important step in any growing business. Whether undertaking a remodel of an existing office space or constructing an office building from the ground up, the process can often prove more expensive than anticipated. Savvy business owners will stack the odds in their favor by selecting an experienced general contractor for the project who can help keep construction costs under control. Here are five unexpected costs you to be on the lookout for when remodeling or building a new office space.
Jenelle Isaacson, owner of Living Room Realty
As our B Corp interview series comes to a close, we’re excited to end the series on a strong note for businesses that decide to file as Benefit Corporations by featuring Jenelle Isaacson, owner of Living Room Realty in Portland, Oregon. Living Room Realty has the distinction of being the first real estate company in Oregon to become B-Corp certified and today, we spoke with Jenelle about how she hopes Benefit Corporations will be the future norm for business and how her company believes in building both business coupled with community – “one great neighbor at a time.”
1) How did you get started with your company?
I was getting ready to have a baby and wanted to leave my current office anyways so I could have my own place I could easily bring my baby in if I needed and have control over the environment of my office. I was nesting. I wanted my own space, with my favorite teas, assurance the office was cleaned with natural products and was somewhere as comfortable as my own living room if I would be balancing two children under two years old and a thriving real estate business.
Senen Garcia, Esq. of SG Law Group
Accountant, attorney, and B Corp movement supporter Senen Garcia, Esq. got his entrepreneurial start at an early age. The sole owner of two businesses before completing his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Entrepreneurship and International Business, Garcia opened his accounting and tax practice before receiving his undergraduate degree. While running said business, he completed his Graduate and Juris Doctorate degrees and now operates SG Law Group in Florida which assists clients with their corporate, real estate, estate planning an property insurance claim needs.
Today he’s giving us a look at how he got interested in the B Corp movement, what he believes Benefit Corporations need in order to succeed and why the real benefit behind the B Corps has a lot to do with marketing.
By David Ackert
Has business development started to feel a little dull? All those mixers, networking meetings, and lunches spent getting to know “business acquaintances” you don’t really care about. Be honest - if you knew for a fact that your referral sources would never refer you another new piece of business, would you ever talk to them again? Most of us wouldn’t, and that’s why it’s so difficult to sustain any enthusiasm around our networking activities. We market ourselves aggressively for a few months, then burn out and hibernate, then panic when our pipelines get lean, and force ourselves back into the fray.
If any of this sounds familiar, here are three ways you can put that “spark” back into your work life:
Jay Coen Gilbert, B Lab Cofounder
When we first started taking a closer look at benefit corporations, we were really building off of the momentum that began with B Lab, the nonprofit that pushes for Benefit Corporation legislation and certifies B Corps. Little did we know, we’d be interviewing Jay Coen Gilbert, one of the three cofounders of B Lab, on our blog! We were so excited, we added a few extra questions in today’s interview where Jay tells us about the benefits forming a B Corp brings to society and the environment, and that for all companies, it’s most important to take the first step and see where you stand.
1. What’s the source of your passion and inspiration that drove you into your leading role in the Benefit Corporation movement?
B Lab’s three cofounders, Bart Houlahan, Andrew Kassoy and I (Jay Coen Gilbert), all share a passion for using market forces to address society’s greatest challenges. We’ve worked in business for most of our careers and hope to harness the amazing talent, passion and resources we’ve seen there to make a better world. Ultimately, we founded B Lab to serve those entrepreneurs who are using business as a force for good.
Nobody likes going to work in a bare office with white walls, formal cubicles, and no hint of refreshing or energizing colors in sight. Some people decorate their desks, but desk decorations can’t convey an overall atmosphere of productivity or positivity throughout the entire office. When you’re renovating or buying an office, you need to be able to consider the importance of interior design.
There are many advantages to focusing on interior design when you design an office. You will create a productive, efficient atmosphere and help keep employee morale up. You want your office to be the kind of place people look forward to going on Monday morning, after all.
Timothy S. McCausland, Senior Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer at Orange County Trust Company
In 2010, with over 25 years working in transactional matters involving real estate, trusts and estates, commercial matters and finance, attorney Timothy S. McCausland began investigating the growing trend of states adopting benefit corporation legislation. The B-Corps won McCausland over, especially since at the time he resided within a more rural part of New York and felt that the B-Corp would be a great fit for his region. By working alongside a colleague and friend, Gary Schuster, and familiarizing his state legislators with benefit corporations, the pair was able to push for the legislation and ultimately, for benefit corporation legislation to be passed in New York.
Today, we’re interviewing Timothy, currently serving as the Senior Vice President for Orange County Trust Company, on where he thinks B-Corps are heading, the benefits of going B-Corp for your business, and why once the switch is on for setting up a B-Corp, it can’t be switched so easily back off.