March is B Corps month, and B Corps Month’s theme in 2021 is Better Business.
We are celebrating what it means to be a Better Business! As part of this, we’re sharing that we ARE a B Corp and why our employees, leadership, and customers care!
What is a Benefit Corporation?
B Corps do business differently. They are for-profit companies leading a movement to use the power of business to solve our most pressing global challenges. B Corps meet the highest verified standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability to all of their stakeholders. They are, therefore, better for the community, customers, and the planet.
Why our customer’s & community care
Being a B Corp means more than a certification. It means we put people first. We always consider our impact on our employees, customers, and communities because we believe business should be a force for good.
- We began to hire and review employees based on their commitment to the B Corp values (which overlap with our values).
- We became more transparent on our financials and metrics with the entire company.
- We raised our lowest-paid employees.
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.
Protect the planet
B Corps care about the planet and future generations. We’re taking action to protect the planet.
- We had a zero-waste assessment from Rural Action and put those practices into play. We reuse package materials, compost in our office kitchen, and have signage on all of our waste and recycling receptacles.
- We already produce nearly 100% of our electricity at our office from solar.
- Our product eliminates greenhouse gases, and we maintain our mission to accelerate the shift to clean energy.
- We purchase carbon offsets for our vehicle fleet.
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, Amicus launched a JEDI group (Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity) to tackle inclusivity at our many 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.”
As a company, we recognize that we have a lot more work to do in this area. The JEDI group is a launch point for that work.
B Corps are on a mission to do business better — and our collective impact is making a big difference!
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.
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 (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, we’re still pretty sparse in Ohio. We are happy to talk to any business that is interested in our experience or getting certified themselves.
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 get the business B Corp certified.
What 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.”