By Anika Horn, B Keeper at Impact Makers
On June 2nd starting at 8 a.m. B Corps from all over the East Coast filed into the New School on the corner of 6th Ave and West 13th Street in New York City to participate in BLD (pronounced BUILD): A B Lab organized one-day event that focuses on B Corp Leadership Development.
Vincent Stanley, Director of Philosophy at Patagonia, set the tone for the day of valuable conversations and workshops. His keynote speech touched on highlights and critical lessons the company encountered during its journey as an early mission-driven business.
“Our Don’t Buy This Jacket! ad in the New York Times required a unanimous vote from the board because we weren’t sure whether it would backfire. We never wanted to make products that need replacing every two years. We believe in high quality with the smallest possible environmental footprint. If your Patagonia gear breaks or you want to replace it, you send it back and we upcycle it into something new. We don’t want customers to buy more and more at any price and as a business, that’s counter-intuitive. But we have learned that it guarantees customer satisfaction. Our employees are loyal and happy because they identify with our approach to business and we have a good reputation among our suppliers, partners and customers. We love that there is a B Corp community, it makes us at Patagonia a lot less lonely!”
Workshops and discussions covered relevant topics, including:
- Crafting authentic and action-oriented mission statements
- Safeguarding inclusion and diversity
- Succession planning
- Attracting and retaining millennial talent
- Furthering a brand through cause
We had great conversations with attendees from collaborating with universities through hackathons (West Arête), impact investing (Sustainable Insight Capital Management, Veris Wealth Partners), planning sustainable events (Inward Point) and marketing for B Corps (Leaddog Media and BBMG) to running an Eco Laundry Service (The Eco Laundry Company) and promoting solar lamps in US and in developing countries (Solar States, MPowerd). And I finally met people from our community such as Colleen Dyble (Vita Global), Leah Fremouw (Virginia Community Capital) and Sarah Haggerty from B Lab!
After a 9-hour program, we capped off the day with an evening reception sponsored by Impact Makers. It was great to spend a day with a great group of people who share our commitment to sustainability and understand the challenges and opportunities of running a successful B Corp.