B Lab’s B Corporation rates voluntarily participating companies on their efforts to be sustainably and socially responsible. And this year Sungevity won it’s best of the best award in B Corp’s “For the Workers” category.
The program is important because it helps companies adhere to the principles of the triple-bottom line: people, planet and profits.
“That’s the idea—that being a B Corp allows you to align your values with your company,” said Sungevity founder Danny Kennedy.
The certification requires that companies allow for more transparency into how the company works and treats its employees, customers, and its societal efforts, all while working toward sustainability. And B Corp’s efforts were crucial to passing Benefit Corporation laws, like the one passed in California last year. Such laws make it legal for companies to write into their bylaws that they will be a sustainable company operating within the community.
Sungevity scored highest getting 42.4 points out of 60 among the 450 participating companies for how it treats its roughly 220 employees. The organization stated that all of Sungevity’s employees are paid a living wage; all of their family health insurance premiums are paid; they’re offered reimbursement for continued education, and they’re offered more than four weeks of vacation time.
“We’re doing good but want to do right by our team,” Kennedy said.
The company takes care of its workers because it makes good business practice, particularly in a sales environment like Sungevity’s.
“If our team is happy, they’ll shine from the inside out and make our customers happy,” Kennedy said.
Keeping employees happy also helps with the idea of growing the solar community, according to Kennedy.
“The mass adoption of solar requires a base of solar customers in a community,” he said. “It’s a clustered phenomenon.”
People are more likely to go solar because a friend or family member told them about the opportunity. As communities add more solar it helps build the political will to push more solar.
“That all starts with the staff,” he said.
In addition to the benefits offered earlier, the company focuses giving its employees a good work space at its Oakland, Calif., headquarters.
The company has an agreement with a local kayaking shop to let its employees kayak. It’s also trying to make an agreement with a nearby sailing school. Sometimes employees can leave the office to go out and help with a solar installation, which they really like, he said.
Image courtesy of KQED News.