For-profit organizations are global citizens — and while they do different work than nonprofits, they can still drive positive world impact. At Gerent, we believe in balancing purpose and profit — which is why we’ve spent the past two years earning our B Corp Certification.
What exactly is a B Corp Certification? With multinational reach, this certification is the only one that measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance. It’s a commitment to the future, not a once-and-done award to collect dust on a shelf. B Corp Certifications ensure that a company drives ongoing, collective transformation that benefits communities, people, and the planet.
By aligning our operations with the strict social and environmental standards set out by B Lab, Gerent has proven that being a tech-forward company doesn't mean sacrificing care for the planet — human-centricity and environmentalism have always been at the heart of what we do.
What does it mean to become B Corp Certified?
B Corp is about prolonged sustainability, and as such, it is a Herculean — yet rewarding! — commitment to ongoing change. During Episode 7 of our Sustainability @ Work Podcast, host Jeff Stormer sat down with two of Gerent’s leading stakeholders for Gerent's B Corp certification to discuss our journey to certification, including the challenges and rewards of embarking on the initiative.
Will Shu, CIO and CISO for Gerent and its sister company, Riverstrong, explained that becoming certified is “ [...] more than just committing to something. It’s actually making it part of our identity, part of who we are, and part of our culture with documented mission statements and company agreements, code of ethics, and all of the things that make up the framework of how we operate our company.”
But what does it mean to implement the B Corp framework into who we are and how we operate? This identity-defining change goes beyond the broad — B Corp certification requires a total commitment to sustainability which extends beyond environmental good. It isn’t enough to plant trees or have an impact on the environment; a B Corp-certified company must also share the humanitarian goals that promote viability standards globally.
As April Bollwage, Gerent’s Senior Director of Education, explained, “You can’t choose one thing to try to solve […] it’s leading to the true sustainability of society, outside of business, outside of commerce, outside of only nature.”
Working towards this certification means pursuing progress with internal and external impact. Some of Gerent’s practices and initiatives include:
- Stewarding water to struggling communities. We believe that access to clean water is a human right, so we’ve partnered with nonprofit organizations that bring safe drinking water to vulnerable people around the globe.
- Planting trees. This year, Gerent planted ten trees for every visitor we welcomed at Dreamforce — striving to safeguard the planet through actionable means is our passion.
- Encouraging employee VTO. We practice company-wide community give-back by allowing employees to take off work for charitable giving, for whatever charity they choose.
- Promoting health and wellness. By regularly partnering with causes that support mental and physical wellness, we strive to make the world a better place for people everywhere.
- Ensuring sustainable working conditions. As a commitment to humanitarian betterment, Gerent continues to provide salaries above minimum wage to their employees as well as opportunities for furthering their education.
While these aspects of our mission do not drive profits, we find purposeful work equally important. Any opportunity to give back is central to our belief that we should strive to make a difference — we are stewards of the planet as well as technology architects and solution specialists.
However, this work has not come without challenges. As Bollwage cautioned, “Be prepared because somebody […] will be coming to you asking a million questions for backup and documentation on all the things you said you were gonna do. […] Your heart’s gotta be in it, but your head’s gotta be in it too because you’re gonna have to deliver on so much of this. And it’s a lofty goal.”
It took hard work to re-align our company identity, practices, and operations, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Sustainability is a goal we will always have, and we are not afraid to transform in the process.