What Does It Means to Be a B Corp?

By Betty Leicht on

Growing small tree

When Uplight formed in 2019, one of the company’s very first priorities was to certify as a B Corporation, a business that meets, “the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.” Employees and executives alike were committed to setting a foundation to use profitable growth as a means to a greater end. Joining the B Corp community aligned with our core values (One Team, Impactful Progress, Grow, and Do the Right Thing).

The certification assessment provided a rigorous framework for us to benchmark and improve upon how we were doing against non-financial targets. It is scored out of 200 possible points and comprehensively looks at the impact of a business on all of its stakeholders, including its workers, community, suppliers, and the environment. The assessment also weighs best practices of mission, measurement, and governance. Within 120 days of formation, the company became a Certified B Corp. We will recertify every three years, aiming to improve our score with a plan in place to work on certain areas to make us an outstanding B Corp. 

Fast forward to last week, Uplight became the first privately held B Corp in the cleantech industry to achieve a more than a $1 billion valuation. Our new group of partners comprise the heavyweights in sustainability and leaders in the clean energy ecosystem. They are the perfect group we need to achieve mission-aligned growth since they share the B Corp community’s commitment to building a more inclusive and sustainable economy. 

One of the reasons why I joined Uplight was because I was drawn to the mission: to create a more sustainable future using business as a force for good. When I considered where my next career would be after serving 5 years in the Navy as a naval officer, I knew that I wanted to be part of a team that was positively contributing to the world and the planet. 

My sense of purpose runs deep through my desire to serve our country, protect our freedom, and create a place safe for generations to come. In the same vein, Uplight works towards achieving a similar goal. We hope to empower all energy users to play a meaningful role in decarbonization and help to ensure the benefits of the clean energy economy extend to people of all ages, social, and socioeconomic backgrounds. 

Uplight’s B Corp status reminds me of the Navy in the inherent desire to serve others. Onboard my ship, we were one team, each holding a crucial position in order for the ship to sail safely in the middle of the ocean. We trusted each other and depended on each person to do the right thing and follow all protocol. We grew as a team through the long work hours, becoming family away from home, and made impactful progress. Living by core values and doing good for the world are two attributes I brought with me to Uplight and resonate with the B corp status.

For our next phase of growth, we at Uplight are excited to realize our potential to have a positive social and environmental impact through B Lab’s framework. We’re in good company – there are over 3,800 Certified B Corps that share our belief that business has a responsibility to not only shareholders, but to the community and to the planet. 

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