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B Corp

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

Celebrate Our “B” Day for the Chance to Win a $100 Gift Card!

July 6, 2017

B the Change | B Corp B Day

This summer we celebrate 10 years as a B Corporation and joining a movement that uses business as a force for good. We’re glad we have been able to use the power of business to tackle tough social and environmental problems over the years, including issues related to conservation, paid family leave, and more.

It’s safe to say that none of this would be possible without you – our customers. So we’re going all out to celebrate our “B” Day!

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The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Values: Our Guiding Principles

June 21, 2017

What makes a workplace great? Your knee-jerk response might focus on salary and benefits, but we all know it’s more than that. Do you feel challenged? Are you encouraged to grow? Do you have a say in your company’s direction? Do you feel like it’s your company? Do you like your co-workers? We’ve had the goal of being a great place to work for a long time, but that can mean different things to different people. We realized that in order to actually make it happen and in turn become a stronger, more impactful business, we had to figure out what “great place to work” meant to us.

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Through discussions with our leadership, work with our human resources team and a trusted advisor, looking at the practices of businesses we admire, and a lot of feedback from team members across the company, we put who we want to be as an organization into words with our seven Guiding Principles.

Each of our Principles helps us define what we’re working to be as a company, and what we want to mean to the people who work here. In short, they’re a set of guidelines to keep us all moving in the same direction. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be differences of opinion expressed. In fact, the Principles are set up to empower folks around here to do just that.

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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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Design

Bringing Home the Baseball Beanie

November 14, 2016

Editor’s Note: Our first Kickstarter project was a major league success! Tokens & Icons, a long valued partner of UncommonGoods, brought it all home with their amazing MLB Game Used Baseball Beanies. Baseball fans couldn’t wait to get their mitts on the beanies, and our goal was reached in just one day! Though the campaign has ended, you can still rep your favorite team and get a beanie of your own. Read on and watch our video to learn more.

About the Project

Back in 1969 when the New York Mets won the World Series, UncommonGoods founder Dave Bolotsky, then six years old, got a cherished jacket from the underdog team. He’s loved his home team and the sport itself ever since. There’s nothing else quite like the nostalgic feeling sports memorabilia creates—a feeling that goes way beyond their materials.

A baseball story of a different stripe, this handcrafted beanie from Tokens & Icons and UncommonGoods is knit from three continuous wool yarn strands found inside MLB authenticated, game-used baseballs.

Baseball Beanie - UncommonGoods

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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

UncommonGoods for the Common Good

May 13, 2016

While our business has grown a lot since our founding in 1999, UncommonGoods’ commitment to positively impacting the communities we touch has not wavered. If you’ve shopped with UncommonGoods before, you know that being socially conscious is a concept baked right into our company DNA. From founder and CEO Dave Bolotsky meeting with President Obama, to advocating for small businesses, to paying our lowest-paid seasonal workers more than 50% above the federal minimum wage, to advocating for mandated paid family leave in the State of New York, UncommonGoods has been able to successfully champion progressive business practices since from day one. Below are a few choice highlights from our mission in promoting social good.

American Forests

Photo courtesy of our Better to Give partner American Forests

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The Uncommon Life

B Inspired: Building Bridges at the B Corp Champions Retreat

November 12, 2015

Along with creativity and the artist community, sustainability is important to us at UncommonGoods. As you may know, we’re a founding B Corporation – a movement that designates companies who are using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.

Portland

Enjoying the sights in Portland, Oregon, Photos by Sean Cullen

Every year, B Lab hosts the Champions Retreat, where B Corps from around the globe converge to celebrate the success of the businesses and growth of the movement. This year I had the honor of attending the retreat in Portland, Oregon, with HR Project Coordinator Sean Cullen, where over 300 B Corps gathered to exchange best practices, attend un-conference sessions, and brainstorm ways to further promote business as a force for good.

This year’s retreat theme was “Building Bridges.” This theme was meant to inspire reflection on ways to expand the B Corp movement. There was talk of building bridges between individuals and businesses within the B Corp community could build to make B Corp a better ally for issues like diversity, small businesses, and the potential B Corps of tomorrow.

Un-Conference

Sean and I write down the bridges we’d like to build in the B Corp community. 

To better illustrate this, the end of the retreat was rounded out by the TED-inspired B Inspired Talks. The talks featured inspiring individuals who paved the way for using a force for good, such as Perry Chen of Kickstarter, David Griswold of Sustainable Harvest, and Maya Rockeymoore of Global Policy Solutions. You can watch the full set of B Inspired Talks over at the B Lab.

The conference ended with a festival celebrating business as a force for good in Pioneer Courthouse Square. B Corp vendors such as New Belgium Brewing, Ben & Jerry’s, and Tony’s Chocolonely handed out samples while a DJ played music for the crowd. It was a great week to be part of the B Corp movement!

Learn more about how we’re learning from our fellow B Corps with these take-aways from past retreats.

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