Highlights from our February B Learning Lunch


At the February Learning Lunch, held at Hopworks on February 28 we learned from our peers about B Corp’s Inclusive Economy Challenge.

Download a PDF of the presentation.

What is an Inclusive Economy?

An inclusive economy creates opportunity for all people of all backgrounds and experiences to live with dignity, to support themselves and their families, and to make a contribution to their communities.

What is the Inclusive Economy Challenge?

The Inclusive Economy Challenge is a way for Certified B Corporation companies to challenge themselves to set goals and make progress on 3 measurable improvements from the Inclusive Economy Metric Set that sits within the B Impact Assessment by August 30, 2019.

What type of questions are included in the Challenge?

The IEC metric set contains questions surrounding practices and policies for a more inclusive workspace. Metrics include questions around board diversity; inclusive supply chains, diversity, equity & inclusion trainings; renewable energy; family-friendly practices; financial services for employees; and worker ownership. Here is an example of a question around Diversity & Inclusion Trainings:

Does the company provide specific content in worker training on diversity, equity, and inclusion that includes any of the following topics?

  • Discrimination and harassment training

  • Definitions of diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as other key concepts related to an inclusive workplace

  • Unconscious bias training

  • Structural /institutional inequalities training

  • Cultural awareness, competency, and/or resolving inter-cultural conflict training

  • Empathy and/or emotional intelligence training

  • Management / leadership for diversity, equity and inclusion

  • Other (please describe)

Who can participate?

Participation in the IEC is open to Certified B Corporation companies. However, even those companies who are not yet certified can learn from the challenge and available resources.

Where do I find & sign up for the Challenge?

It’s easy to sign up and set your goals for the Inclusive Economy Challenge. Simply log in to your B Impact Assessment dashboard and find the menu item on the left for ‘Inclusive Economy Challenge.’ To set your goals, identify the questions inside the metric set that you want to take on, and press the star to set it as a goal.

Resources on the Inclusive Economy Challenge

We went over details and requirements of the program, including a demo on how to sign up within the B Impact Assessment and where to find resources. Those resources include:

Insights from Local Changemakers Participating in the Challenge

We heard from local Changemaker companies that participated in the challenge last year and the goals they set, the work they accomplished, and challenges they faced. Here are some highlights!

  • Nossa Familia Coffee went through their B Impact Assessment to share what their goals are around diversity, equity, and inclusion training. We also saw their organization method in a google document they made. It’s used to track progress and provide better access and transparency to their team.

  • Elephants Delicatessen is participating in their third Inclusive Economy Challenge. In 2017, they added Diversity, Equity, Inclusion training to their onboarding process.In a past challenge, they worked on wage equity with a goal of 85% of staff making above living wage and surpassed their goal! Elephants was excited about the start of a volunteer program. They have a B team with staff from each of their locations that get together to tackle this work once a month. We invite you to check out the Elephants Delicatessen 2018 Sustainability Report, a project that increased their transparency. For the 2019 IEC, they plan to have gender-neutral terms for their Employee Handbook.

  • Winderlea Vineyard and Winery achieved one out of the three goals they set. It speaks to the accessibility of the challenge to be able to take it slow. Just like many companies, employee participation can be a challenge on a small team (as well as large organizations too!) Winderlea is working to meet regularly as a team on this work. They’ve upped their goals this year to 5 of the IEC metrics: some of those include DEI trainings, supplier code of conduct, financial services for employees, and tracking emissions to purchase offsets.

  • Waterleaf Architecture has also participated in the 2017 and 2018 challenges. They highly recommend the Peer Exchange groups where they were paired with Nossa Familia and Neil Kelly. They worked to make their hiring practices more inclusive, including analyzing the language in their job postings and what their diversity goals were for their applicant pools.They started offering flexible work options to their staff and spoke to the value of retaining employees through this practice. Waterleaf has focused on their marketing accessibility and started exploring ways for their website to be accessible to people with disabilities. They learned a lot from a previous B Learning Lunch on GHG emissions and offset and worked with a consultant to get through that goal. Advice they recommend is to start a working group with all types of employees from different teams to make sure all voices are heard, find the right resources, and keep records to track your progress! It was also pointed out that the IEC metric set has questions throughout the BIA and have varying point levels- it’s not about box checking, but is valuable to know that some may not produce points!

  • Fully has been participating since the first challenge in 2017. They’ve built upon their previous years’ work and are generally trying to be a better B Corp and a better business. It’s been a great tool for them to set deadlines and framework  and the IEC metrics have aligned with the business’ goals of being more inclusive. They had set a goal to work on their carbon footprint and realized it’s a hard thing to get into! First, you need to understand and track your impact, then you can look into usage and make a plan. That’s when work on reduction can happen. These metrics recognize that making a plan is part of the goal. They have a B Corp Committee of 6 people and it’s been great to take the pressure off one or two people that worked on these projects previously. Sharing the load is a great practice!

New ABC for Inclusive Economy Challenge & DEI

As part of this continued peer learning experience, we are hoping to launch a new Always B Collaborating (ABC) group focused on the Inclusive Economy Challenge and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in general. We are still looking for an individual to champion this group! An ABC group champion helps keep things moving by being an organizer and contact point for the group.The champion doesn’t need to be an expert, but willing to help facilitate community connection and continued learning. Do you have any interest in being the champion or do you have any recommendations on who would be great in that role? Let us know-please email  BLocalpdx@gmail.com.