Highlights from our January B Learning Lunch

At the January Learning Lunch, we came together as a community to share the results of the recent 2019 B Local PDX Community Survey. Over 75 individuals met at Ecotrust to help inform future programming for B Local Events. We had small group discussions and shared our 2019 goals and the current challenges we face in our organizations and community.

Survey Respondents

Survey participation from over 100 individuals came from the perspective of B Corp employees, B Corp owners, people wanting to do business with B Corps, nonprofits, job seekers, companies in process of certifying, students or academics, and people working in government and supporting B Corps.

The survey results showed common themes and we met in small groups centered around some of these topics:

  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

  • Event Time, Location, and Type

  • Management/Professional Development

  • HR, Engagement, and Culture

  • Connecting with B Corps and ABC groups

  • Marketing and Sharing the B Corp Message

  • Best Practices

  • Certification and the BIA

  • Social and Environmental Impact

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Programming around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) topics was frequently requested. We received suggestions on how to increase value and inclusivity of events from partnerships with underrepresented communities and minority business owners to diversifying the event type, times, and location. About a quarter of responders shared that DEI was a personal development goal or their organization’s focus this year. The small groups discussed some of the ways they have or would like to address DEI such as implicit bias training for hiring, having a list of local Diversity Training options, and hosting or sharing purchasing power for training events with other companies.

Marketing & Sharing the B Corp Message

There were several requests for marketing techniques and how to share the B Corp message with clients, vendors, audience, and other businesses. Businesses want ways to promote and showcase their products and services, to align with the B Corp message, and connect for joint marketing efforts and campaigns. The B Corp store was a great example!

Connecting with B Corps and ABC groups

This community wants to connect with B Corps! Would like more social and networking opportunities in order to develop community partnerships and business relationships. We had suggestions to highlight businesses in order to share their best practices or their products and services. There was interest in mentorship opportunities and overall wanting to learn from other individuals and businesses. There were great suggestions and a lot of interest for the ABC (Always B Collaborating) groups, both existing and potential topics. To start more ABCs, we need community champions to lead the groups! Please reach out to B Local PDX if you are interested in being an ABC group Champion.

HR, Engagement, and Culture

A lot of responses indicated that people would like help with engaging their teams, including inspiring and engaging with B Corp initiatives. Full work schedules and a disconnect from values on a day-to-day tasks were repeated throughout the survey and in discussions. Some wanted more opportunities to develop professional skills and HR practices. Participants would like to see better communication throughout their organization, both around B Corp initiatives and general relationships and business. There were some great ideas on how to educate staff in fun and engaging ways!

Certification and the BIA

Certification help and improving impact score on the B Impact Assessment came up quite a bit. There’s a need for open source templates. Sharing ways to continuously improve by learning from other businesses was suggested. The discussions showed that individuals need ways to pitch value of certification to CEOs, stakeholders, and shareholders. A request for an open dialogue around why businesses don’t recertify would be helpful to some. Environmental impact is where some companies are having trouble.

Environmental Impact

Comments about Environmental Impact showed that there is confusion around local waste regulations and recycling. Individuals want to know how to make their offices, warehouses, operations as sustainable as possible! Suggestions on how to tackle supply chain impact and carbon footprint are needed. Some clarity on LEED certification, Total Generation and compostable materials in Portland would be helpful.

Volunteer Opportunities

There have been numerous requests for organized volunteer opportunities and ways to get involved in the community. (If you work for a Certified B Corp and  haven’t signed up already, check out the upcoming Day of Service!) Having ongoing relationships between nonprofits and B Corps is a goal for many. Tips for how to encourage staff and remove barriers for volunteer participation and how to track that time came up in the discussions.

Thank You!

Thank you everyone who participated in the survey or attended the Town Hall style event! Please contact B Local PDX if you have speaker suggestions. Sharing your input and impact goals led to awesome conversations and will help us provide relevant programming and events for the community this year!