New York in Numbers
By Ellen Kane and Trista Ristvedt, Summer Assurance Associates at B Lab
As any New Yorker will tell you, the city has a personality unlike any other place in the world. It is complicated, smart and fast moving. Bold to the point of overconfidence, it will leave you in its dust if you aren’t paying attention. But if you let New York in, really give it a chance to show you who it is, you see a side of the city that is compassionate, wholeheartedly dedicated to leading change, and contagious in its energy. This summer we had the chance to meet seven NYC-based companies that embody all the complexities of New York and highlight its very best qualities.
We’re Trista and Ellen, two of the Assurance Associates currently interning at B Lab. This summer we travelled to several different areas of the country to meet with a sample of B Corporations for review. We started our travels with a whirlwind week in New York. Over the course of four days, we visited seven companies in three boroughs, hosted the first ever “Measure What Matters” and B101 workshops, drank a collective 56 cups of coffee and wrapped things up with two giant naps. Check out our infographic for a more complete look at our New York Visit in numbers.
Just like the character of the city they work in, New York B Corporations come in all different forms, with different motivating missions; each, however, is passionately dedicated to the work they do. One morning, we learned about Bronx-based Cooperative Home Care Associates (CHCA)--the largest worker-owned cooperative in the U.S with over 2,000 employees-- and its on-the-job training and employment opportunities for local residents. The very next morning, just south of Central Park, we heard from EKO Asset Management Partners, a 6-person team of investment and asset managers currently passionate about leading a movement in sustainable fisheries in the Philippines. In Midtown Manhattan, Hudson TG and Catchafire are propelling the nonprofits they support towards sustained business success. Hudson TG offers strategic consulting and support for fundraising, while Catchafire connects its nonprofit clients with specialized pro bono talent. Back up to the Bronx where a small, but mighty, team at Majora Carter Group was busy redefining urban development in underserved communities (particularly in the South Bronx) with green infrastructure. Crossing the East River to the Williamsburg waterfront, we found a young and energetic group of entrepreneurs at Little Duck Organics innovating healthy food for kids. Meanwhile, our visit with CSRHub introduced us to a workforce (and subscription-based site), so immersed in the landscape of corporate social responsibility that we left feeling we’d just benefited from a graduate student’s favorite Monday seminar.
A common theme we noticed in all our visits was environmental sustainability--even from companies that didn’t have this as their mission focus. CHCA recently moved into a LEED Gold certified office space, and Catchafire is testing out a new charcoal water filter to reduce the amount of water they have to purchase for the office. EKO plans to purchase a SodaStream to reduce the amount of bottled beverages purchased by the employees, and Little Duck’s newest product, Mighty Oats, comes in compostable packaging with an attached seed pouch for gardening!
Another theme we found was happy employees. Most of the B employees we met were receiving great benefits, ranging from healthcare to paternity leave. Other perks included flexible schedules, telecommuting, and (of course) awesome B Corp employee discounts. These things aside, all the employees we talked to were pumped about working for a company whose mission they believed in.
We were also happy to see people interested in growing the B community. A few of the B Corps we visited had companies they wanted to connect us with. At the Measure What Matters Workshop, we met with representatives from seven different companies, most of whom were interested in certifying.
All in all, the B Corporation community in New York is diverse, vibrant and growing, just like the city itself.