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The Uncommon Life

Happy “B” Day to Us! Celebrating 10 Years as a B Corp

July 16, 2017

Throughout the month, we are celebrating our 10th “B” Day! (Not to be confused with the birth of our company that happened waaay back in 1999.) Our “B” Day commemorates our official initiation into the B Corp community, a community of businesses that have successfully passed a B Corp Assessment. The assessment scores companies on how they’re building better businesses by taking care of their workers, their customers, the community, and the environment. In 2007, we stood with 42 other companies and signed a declaration of interdependence proclaiming our mission to use our company as a force for good. Over the next few weeks we’ll be celebrating this in ways that relate to all of the key areas that are measured by B Lab (the non-profit that is in charge of the B Corp Assessment and the certification process). In honor of this exciting anniversary, we’re taking a look back on what’s happened through the years with our B Corp score, the B Corp movement, and to throw in a little extra fun, the world at large over this decade-long stretch.

2007:

B Corp: And so it begins! Our first Impact score: 97
UG: In searching for an assessment process to internally audit our practices to show that we are practicing what we preach in terms of our societal and environmental commitments, our founder and CEO, Dave Bolotsky, committed UncommonGoods to be a founding B Corp. We’re one of 43 companies to be recognized with this distinction.
And also this: The seventh and last book in the Harry Potter series is released.

2008:

B Corp: The first B Corp Champions Retreat is hosted in California.
UG: We say so long to Manhattan and complete our move to the Brooklyn Army Terminal.
And also this: Barack Obama is elected, becoming the first person of color to serve as president of the United States.

2009:

B Corp: The number of certified B Corps grew to 205 in 54 industries in 28 states.
UG: We make it Facebook official.
And also this: Water is discovered on the moon.

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The Uncommon Life

Can Business Help Change the World?

March 23, 2017

The B Corporation community often compares the value that B Corp certification is for business to “what Fair Trade certification is to coffee, or USDA Organic certification is to milk.” When we became a founding B Corporation in 2007, we committed to meeting rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. While we are proud to exceed the standards required by our certification, there is more work to do in using our business as a force for good. We know that we wouldn’t be true to our values if we didn’t take a stand for causes we believe in. What could happen if the value that business brings to workers’ rights has the potential to be what the Civil Rights Movement was to human rights, or what the Women’s Suffrage Movement was to voting rights?

On International Women’s Day, we took an important step in our corporate advocacy efforts by announcing the launch of our interactive Paid Family Leave Map, a resource to learn the status of your state’s paid leave campaign and take action.

Most Americans don’t get paid time off to care for a new child or seriously ill loved one. Click the map to help make paid family leave happen where you live.

During the launch, Jay Curley, the Senior Global Marketing Manager for fellow B Corp Ben & Jerry’s, visited our team to speak to us about how businesses can be activists and help change the world. We couldn’t have been in better company that day. Ben & Jerry’s has a long, successful, and delicious history of advocating for important causes through creative campaigns. Ever enjoyed a carton of “I Dough, I Dough”? That flavor was created for their campaign to support marriage equality. What about a scoop of “Save our Swirled”? That flavor was created to send out a SOS for our planet. Ben & Jerry’s is not only an inspiring example for B Corporations, but also an example of how a business can incorporate advocacy initiatives to reflect its core company values.

David Bolotsky, Founder and CEO of UncommonGoods, and Jay Curley, Senior Global Marketing Manager of Ben & Jerry’s

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The Uncommon Life

Supporting Survivors and Spreading Hope through RAINN

February 17, 2017

At UncommonGoods we strive to use our business as a force for good. One of the ways we do so is by giving to non-profit organizations that we care about through our Better to Give Program–which lets you chose a non-profit partner to receive a $1 donation (at no cost to you) each time you shop.

As the leader of our Sustainability Steering Committee, I am proud that our relationships with our Better to Give partners go beyond the monetary donations we make, by having elements that include volunteer outings, speaker sessions, and attending off-site special events hosted by our selected non-profits. While all of these areas are partially what makes it an absolute blast to work for UncommonGoods, what is most inspiring is hearing about when our team members take it upon themselves to support our Better to Give partners outside of our organization.

Tanya Castin, UncommonGoods Merchant Assistant and RAINN volunteer

Since October, our Merchant Assistant, Tanya Castin, has been devoting her nights and weekends to becoming a volunteer working with one of our Better to Give partners, RAINN.  Last month, Tanya completed her training and is officially an online hotline staffer for RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline. After her first night, Tanya and I caught a Nets game and stopped in at a local brewery to catch up on what made her decide to do this and what the experience is like.

A speaker session with RAINN’s Development Director Chelsea Bowers that we hosted back in August prompted Tanya to get involved. “Just hearing stories about our team members’ experiences with sexual assault and being aware of the statistics [related to sexual abuse] pushed me into taking action,” she explained. “Being an online hotline staffer was something that I didn’t know was an option, but when I found out about it through our guest speaker, I looked it up online and found that they had one slot open in a New York City-based training over a weekend, so I signed up.” Signing up was the first step toward a large undertaking. To be a hotline staff, RAINN’s requirements included an in person weekend training session (16 hours split between a Saturday and Sunday), followed by a robust online training program.

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The Uncommon Life

Our 2016 B Corp Score: 120!

July 29, 2016

Being a B Corp is something that we are proud of and have written about here, here, and here. To remain a B Corp, organizations need to successfully pass the B Corp Impact Assessment every other year. The last time we completed our B Corp Reassessment was way back in 2014; Barack Obama was President, LeBron James was arguably the greatest active basketball player, and I had an obsession with Sour Patch Kid Cherries rivaled by none. Well, not everything is different from 2014; we continued to evaluate how we could improve on using our business as a force for good. With each decision, we strived to make the good choice, which compiled over two years led to an improvement in our score and a greater societal impact. By focusing on how we could better impact our community, the environment, our customers, and our team, it was easy to have fun on the way to elevating our scores and raising our standards. I’m proud to announce that this year we scored 120, our highest score yet. Today, we’ll review how we beat our score, are building a better business, and shared the score with our team over beers.

Sean getting ready to unveil UncommonGoods' 2016 Bcorp Score

Getting ready to unveil our 2016 score.

 

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The Uncommon Life

Checking in with Better to Give

May 11, 2016

There is a long list of reasons for why I begged to join the UncommonGoods team, but mainly it was my curiosity about our roots as a founding B Corp and our commitment to a creative flagship donation program called Better to Give. (Although, it also didn’t hurt that it is located near top-notch taco joints and the best dim sum and soup dumplings New York City has to offer.) The Better to Give program epitomizes what we strive to do in all aspects of our business. Through the program, we show how to use business as a force for good, while offering all stakeholders an opportunity to express themselves through digital advocacy for organizations that align with our values and vision.

Better to Give Logo

UncommonGoods | Better to Give

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Gift Guides

Gift Lab: A Salt of the Earth Tastes Our Salts of the World

March 4, 2016

Salts of the World Test Tube Set | UncommonGoods

I’m pushing thirty years old. I know that my favorite type of people are the salt of the Earth, my favorite character in Willy Wonka is Veruca Salt, my favorite hip-hop group is Salt-N-Pepa, my favorite ancient instrument is the psaltery, my favorite town is Basalt, Colorado, and both my favorite taffy and crocodile, are salt water; yet I haven’t the slightest idea what region my favorite salt hails from. One day at the UncommonGoods campus, I voiced this issue over fresh fruit and went back to my desk to find our Salts of the World Test Tube Set. Thanks to the support of my UncommonGoods’ Team, I’m determined to determine the whereabouts of a favorite salt.

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The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet Sean Cullen

November 12, 2015

Sean Cullen | UncommonGoods

Sean Cullen, UncommonGoods Human Resources Project Manager

My hometown is…
A New Jersey suburb, DON’T JUDGE ME.

I’m inspired by…
People who do good, literature, travel, and television commercials.

An uncommon fact about me…
I had a piece accepted to McSweeneys Internet Tendency. I’m 95% confident this is what Ben Franklin’s To Do list looked like. I can also name the starting five for every NBA Basketball team during the 1995-1996 season.

In high school, were you a nerd, geek, jock, a popular kid, an academic achiever, a drama kid, arts kid, juvenile delinquent, mean girl, goth, student body president, or some other type?
D. All of the above.

Something that always makes me laugh…
Is when my 94 year-old Nan eats Pop Rocks.

When I’m not working, I’m probably…
Eating pork buns or sitting in a sauna, sometimes both.

If I could meet anyone, living or not, I would choose…
Living.

My relationship with Mother Nature is…
Let’s just put it this way – the measure of our mutual attraction has never been stronger.

If I could learn anything, it would be…
How to learn everything instantaneously… especially ventriloquism.

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