There are now two businesses on Tahoe's South Shore that have earned a B Corp Certification.
At the end of April, Environmental Incentives joined South Lake Tahoe-based Eagle Protect, Truckee-based Bigtruck and Incline Village-based Brand Geek on the list of Certified B Corporations that call Tahoe-Truckee home.
Environmental Incentives launched in 2006, focused on improving how public funds were spent to address the decline in the clarity of Lake Tahoe.
"We are essentially an environmental consulting firm," said the company's communications and marketing specialist Renae Golden. "We work primarily with government agencies and nonprofits — a lot we do is helping them to develop conservation programs. We focus on ways to use performance as a method to direct persons to effective actions."
The company works with local organizations including Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board and Nevada Division of Environmental Protection.
"We got our start working in Lake Tahoe with a focus on improving lake clarity, helping design programs that manage that improvement," Golden noted, adding that Environmental Incentives employees do not actually perform restoration work out in the field.
Now 12 years into business, Environmental Incentives has grown: It has offices in both Washington, D.C., and Denver, Colorado, which focus on international development and habitat/wildlife conservation. It also began the process of becoming a Certified B Corp approximately one year ago, according to Golden.
B Corporations — for-profit companies that meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency — represent a movement in the entrepreneurial realm that is focused on redefining success and benefiting all by using business as a force for good. In order to become a Certified B Corp, businesses must obtain at least 80 points in an evaluation conducted by B Lab, the nonprofit behind the movement.
For the team at Environmental Incentives, becoming a Certified B Corp represented its current performance, as well as a "roadmap to creating even better impacts in the future," according to the company's website.
The road to becoming a B Corp is rigorous one — after its initial evaluation and receiving less than 80 points, Environmental Incentives was given recommendations on how to improve its score. Thus began the journey to certification.
"[B Lab] helps identify new policies and practices you could adopt to increase your score, and then we went back and internally looked at different policies we could change and update," said Golden.
In order to attain the certification, Environmental Incentives implemented paid volunteer time, fringe benefits for alternative commuting and updated policies to purchase environmentally friendly office supplies from local businesses.
It was these improvements, along with the company's preexisting habits of charitable giving and providing employee benefits that assist the work-life balance, that led Environmental Incentives to earn the status of Certified B Corporation with a score of 87.
"We're really excited to be joining the B Corp movement and excited to get the word out that we're doing this. Hopefully it will inspire businesses in the area to learn more about being a B Corp and what's involved," said Golden. "It's a great way to be more involved in the community and helping business be a force for having a positive impact on the environment, employees and the community."
Clarification: This story on originally quoted Renae Golden saying: Environmental Incentives employees "help set up systems, but don't go beyond ground restoration," instead focusing on program design and policy. It has been updated to clarify that employees do not perform restoration work in the field.