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Promoting a B Corporation Lifestyle

March is B Corporation (B Corp) month! With March already in full swing, we want to highlight the importance of buying from, working for, and working with B Corps. We also seek to encourage everyone to make small changes in their personal lives that collectively will have a great impact and be a force for good. Read on to learn about the positive force of B Corps and how we strive as a company to promote the B Corp lifestyle in all the work we do.

Balancing profit and purpose

Certified B Corporations are companies that are striving to shift global business culture and redefine success to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy by balancing both profit and purpose. These companies meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability.

To become a certified B Corp, the B Lab considers all aspects of how a company impacts employees, customers, the community, and the environment both presently and in the foreseeable future. In 2011, Participate Learning first pursued and earned B Corp certification because we felt that our mission and purpose were closely aligned with the mission of B Corps.

Since 2013, we have won B Corp’s elite “Best for the World” award seven times by scoring in the top 10 percent of B Corps across all categories and industries. The impact that our language immersion, global education, and cultural exchange teacher programs have on the communities we serve is the reason we exist. We are proud to be recognized for a business model that does good for all of our stakeholders.

Encouraging intentional practices

Being a socially and environmentally responsible company isn’t just a single achievement but rather a constant and conscious effort of finding new ways to improve both for ourselves and for the world around us. Here are just a few ways that we are working toward bettering ourselves as a business.

In terms of our environmental impact, we try to reduce our waste as much as possible through offering compost bins, using compostable plates and silverware, and providing refillable water bottles in the office. We encourage thoughtful printing and recycle what paper is used, but we always try to keep things digital if possible.

Socially, we support other local B Corps by attending meetups and using products and services from them whenever possible. We help our employees by providing various opportunities for professional development and volunteering in the community. We also promote a healthy lifestyle by encouraging walking meetings, offering standing desks, and recommending screen breaks throughout the day.

Using the SDGs to create change

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) consist of seventeen global goals that are designed to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. The SDGs are a great resource in working toward a socially and environmentally conscious lifestyle by giving a framework for creating personal, manageable goals.

Last year, Participate Learning took time to reflect on the different ways we support each goal and how we can further support their mission. With SDG 1: Zero Hunger in mind, we held a company-wide food drive with a goal to collect 750 food items to donate to the local food pantry. We ended up surpassing our goal and donated nearly 1,000 items!

For SDG 4: Quality Education, many of our programs serve low-wealth schools and communities, with 76 percent of our partner schools being Title I. A study conducted for the UNC Board of Governors found that elementary students of Participate teachers outperformed other students for ten years running in both the math and reading sections of the NC End-of-Grade tests.

We work toward the goals of SDG 13: Climate Action by exploring new ways to run an efficient and environmentally friendly workplace. Current initiatives for this include installing electric vehicle chargers and solar panels. We are also constantly seeking ways to reduce our water and electricity usage and minimize our waste production.

Reflecting on current practices and brainstorming ways to improve is an important step in working toward developing a B Corp lifestyle. To find out how your current choices are impacting the world around you, take the quiz below to evaluate yourself and assess your personal B Corp score.

For more information about how to incorporate the B Corp mindset into your life, check out this infographic with thirty tips for reducing consumption and follow the #Bcorpmonth hashtag to see how fellow B Corps like us are celebrating across the US.