Becoming a B Corp: Putting a Value on Our Values

In 2017, Cascade Web Development saw a lot of changes with new clients, existing clients coming to us with interesting challenges and continued pursuit of that elusive work/life balance with a healthy dose of outdoor fun. One of the most exciting parts of the year culminated with our B Corporation Certification (B Corp) in late December. The certification means that we have met rigorous standards of how we do business and contribute to making the world a better place.

B Corps are relatively new. That is not to say organizations haven’t been holding themselves to higher standards with regard to environmental issues, social responsibility, legal accountability and overall transparency for a number of years. There have been outliers like Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream working toward the greater good every step of the way as part of their brand DNA. It just wasn’t a thing with formal structure and accountability until the introduction of the B Corp.  

B Corp status came onto our radar in early 2013 when Oregon passed legislation for Benefit Corporations. After a couple years of learning, client and employee encouragement, a rigorous assessment and a little help from the PSU MBA program, we achieved certification. What does that mean? It confirms that the company meets a range of social and environmental business standards. Cascade joins the ranks of over 2000 Certified B Corporations in 130 industries across 50 countries representing a diverse multi-billion dollar marketplace. Closer to home, Oregon leads the number of Certified B Corps in the country and Portland ranks in the top three cities nationally.

For me, this is all rooted in trust. In our increasingly complex world, it can be challenging to trust the claims of others when we are faced with so many examples of people doing wrong to others. It's no surprise to me that the B Corp movement really picked up momentum following the economic recession in 2008.  

Initially we took the B Impact Assessment and found that a lot of the practices we had in place were already aligned with B Corp standards. We felt it was important to take the additional steps to document and improve our role as business and community leaders. B Corp Certification gives us tangible scores of how we impact the local community and environment. We like the idea of having these benchmarks to continually improve the way we serve our clients and the larger community.

It’s a slightly different way of thinking, but Cascade has always embraced doing things differently...  

  • We developed our platform, on shore, before the days of hosted web solutions utilizing web-based administrative access.  
  • Many of us work remotely part or full time to allow for better work/life balance.
  • Our team finds value in supporting non-profit organizations that add soul to our community.
  • We seek ways to leave our cars parked as often as possible while moving around in our daily lives.
  • Housed in a pair of 1950s Milwaukee Road railcars along the Willamette River, our headquarters is a testament to repurposing and conservation of resources.

‚ÄčAt our core, we’ve always shared many of the values that are the foundation of the B Corp movement. We acknowledge, too, that the essential values of our team are a result of the influencers in our lives. Thanks to our parents, mentors, friends, and brands we admire, we’re proud to join the B Corp community, inspiring all businesses to step up their social and environmental responsibility.
We’re just getting started with our new B Corp certification. We’ll be sharing improvements we make moving forward. Additionally, we challenge our friends, partners, clients and peers to take the first step in joining us by taking the B Corp Impact Assessment to see how you stack up. If you’d like to learn more about our path to certification or see our own Impact Report, don’t hesitate to contact me.