As part of B Corp Month this March, we’re pulling back the curtain and inviting you in to see what goes on inside a Certified Benefit Corporation
What is a Certified Benefit Corporation?
A good plan goes a long way. That’s why at Third Sun Solar we bake transparency and accountability into our business model. Being a B Corp means our promise to be better for people, communities, and the planet is locked in, regardless of any future change of management or ownership.
What goes on behind the scenes?
Want a shortcut to doing some good? Looking for the B while you shop and buying from Certified Benefit Corporations means you can be sure you’re contributing to better business.
Our customers know that every dollar they spend is a vote for the direction they want to see the world go. By voting every day on businesses operating with people and the planet at the forefront, our collective impact can make a big difference.
Here is why 2 of our customers chose Third Sun Solar:
“Of the other companies I have talked to, Third Sun Solar seems to be the only one who has more of a broader environmental mission as opposed to just making money. I think you will find that that mission is what will give you comfort in their ability to keep you happy with your install long after they leave the project. ”
It is obvious that the employees are committed to the product and the mission of clean energy. We’ve had our panels for several months, and everything is functioning well. Most importantly, thanks to our experience, many of our friends have seen that getting solar panels is attainable and are looking into it for themselves.”
Being a B Corp means not only caring for the planet but putting it first in our processes and decisions. Because we know business can make a big difference. It’s why we make sure that:
- We implement recommendations from a zero-waste assessment done for our business. That looks like: reusing package materials, composting in our office kitchen, upcycling or recycling all possible items, and eliminating disposable products
- We produce nearly 100% of our electricity at our office from solar
- Our solar power systems on homes and buildings eliminate greenhouse gases in a state which is powered primarily by fossil fuels
- We purchase carbon offsets for our vehicle fleet, currently 108 mT a year
Our communities make us who we are. That’s why we’re committed to giving back whenever we can.
To date, Third Sun Solar has donated 5 solar systems to non-profits across Ohio, with 3 more in the works.
We also make annual donations to non-profits selected by our team.
Our workers take care of our business, so we take care of our workers. Here are just a few examples of how we prioritize employee well-being at Third Sun Solar:
- We hire and review our team based on their commitment to the B Corp values, our mission, and our values
- We believe that an involved and empowered team leads to better results, so we offer transparency on our operations, financials, and metrics with the entire company
- Team members are paid above a living wage
- We share profits on an annual basis
- We believe that pay scale is an important part of economic equity. Our 2020 pay ratio was 4.6: 1 compared to the national average of 144: 1 and the average among B-Corps of 7:1
Our customers and community care because we treat our employees well- it’s just that simple.
Employees stay with us longer as a result. They represent our values and build a collective understanding of how to best serve customers. From the sales process through the project management process all the way through to installation and commissioning – our collective experience helps us better serve our customers.
If you look at our reviews, notice how many of them mention our team members. Many even by name. Not to brag, but our team is excellent. They make a lasting impression on our customers and the communities they serve.
An Inclusive Economy
B Corps are businesses working to build stronger communities, more inclusive and equitable companies, and a healthier planet.
Third Sun Solar is part of Amicus, a member-owned cooperative made up of many independently owned solar companies. This summer, to racial equity, Amicus launched a JEDI group (Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity) to tackle inclusivity at our various solar companies.
Third Sun Solar’s Chief Operating Officer, Roberta, leads the HR sub-group of the JEDI group.
When asked about the work that the HR policy team is doing, Roberta says, “In the HR policy team, we are doing things like reviewing language and policies to create an inclusive and welcoming environment to retain and attract team members. We have a lot of good discussions and look at policies, job descriptions, handbook language, position postings, and all things HR with a focus on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.”
In 2021 we launched the Solar for All podcast. This podcast uses interviews to amplify how our industry can be better at addressing historically oppressive social and economic systems.
Our B Corp History and Story
When we work together, we have the power to create something better. That’s why we believe in collaboration over competition.
As a B Corp, we love to work and collaborate with other B Corps. We’re better together!
At the time we were certified, we also had just begun discussions with some of our peer solar companies in other parts of the country about banding together in some way (the birth of Amicus) and several of those companies that we really respected were B Corps (Southern Energy Management, Namaste Solar, Sun Light and Power, Technicians for Sustainability.
When we were first certified in 2012, we were one of only 3 companies in Ohio. Now there are 14. So, B Corps are still pretty sparse in this state. We are happy to talk to any business that is interested in our experience or getting certified themselves.
Women’s History Month and B Corp
And like most years, B Corp month coincides with Women’s History Month.
In celebration this year, we would like to highlight co-founder, owner, leader, and mentor Michelle Greenfield. Like many consciously minded leaders, Michelle led the charge at Third Sun Solar to make the business a Certified Benefit Corporation.
Why is important to her?
Michelle says: “My mission in business has been not only to do our business (solar) but to show that all businesses are not evil, profit-hungry at all costs. When I was in college, oh so long ago in the 80s, this was a novel idea, and there were a few stand-out businesses that I identified that were doing their business and striving to do no harm. I have always held out that model as how I wanted to work.”