Today we are incredibly proud to announce that Nia Impact Advisors has become a Certified B Corporation™. Why are we excited? And what exactly does that mean? For those of you not yet familiar with B Corporations, they are a relatively new type of company that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. A Certified B Corporation is comparable to a LEED or FairTrade certification, yet rather than a building or a bar of chocolate, this certification is for businesses committed to “doing well by doing good.” There are currently 2,263 Certified B Corporations in over 50 countries and from 130 industries. Nia Impact Advisors will be keeping good company with recognizable name brands such as Etsy, Patagonia, EO Products, Klean Kanteen, Beneficial State Bank, Namaste Solar, and Seventh Generation.
Certification Aligns with Our Purpose
Why this certification? We decided to take on the rigorous application process to become a certified B Corp because we believe that business has a higher social purpose—beyond simply financial profit. “Nia” is the Swahili word for “intention” and “purpose” — and our mission is to bring intention and purpose to the way money is invested. We believe each of us have both the power and responsibility of choice when it comes to our investments, and with choice we have the opportunity to infuse our investment decisions with intention. This is the cornerstone of how we approach empowering clients, by guiding them through the process of aligning their investments with their values, creating investment products full of companies that matter. The B Corp assessment gives us a framework to measure our success against rigorous values and responsible practices as we grow as a company. We firmly believe that businesses can create value for all of their constituents: customers, clients, employees and community, not simply shareholders.
The organization behind B Corporations, B Lab, was founded in 2006 by Jay Coen Gilbert, Bart Houlahan and Andrew Kassoy, three men who navigated their way through the worlds of private equity and business management before deciding to focus on how they could make the world a better place through business, redefining the role and purpose of business for our world.
A Social and Environmental Commitment
The heart of B Lab is its rigorous certification process on social and environmental performance, to which any business can apply. Companies that pass become part of a community, often collaborating to raise money, share sustainability strategies, and publicize job opportunities. In states where legislation has passed, B Corps are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their employees, suppliers, community, consumers, and environment as well as shareholder value.
Nia is incorporated in Delaware, a state that has not yet passed such legislation, yet this certification provides us the opportunity to introduce conversations in the community, and with other interested companies, about our social and environmental commitments and impact. Katie Kerr, B Lab’s communications director reflects: “We want to reach the point where it’s strange not to be doing business this way.”
We at Nia are inspired by this movement that overwhelmingly demonstrates the compatibility of business interests with social and environmental responsibility. At Nia, our purpose is baked right in, as we help direct capital toward solutions-focused companies, all that espouse diversity in leadership. On top of our core business model, we have already organically developed many conscientious practices, such as using only recycled papers when we need to print, recycling and composting all of our office waste, hiring local small food businesses that incorporate in-season ingredients, and regulating office energy consumption. However, there is still much more to do. Utilizing independent third-party criteria for evaluating Nia’s success in these fields can help us recognize we’re on the right path now, and also importantly, give us a tangible sense of the work that needs to be done for the future.
Not only are we thrilled to be joining this community of like-minded business leaders, we are delighted to support The B Corp Inclusion Challenge— the first-ever call-to-action for the B Corp Community to improve our collective impact and take action to move toward an inclusive economy. We love seeing the growing commitment to making inclusion a central focus, a goal that mirrors our own values. A central tenant of our work is to incorporate both a gender lens an eye for diversity and inclusion in all that we do.
Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be writing and sharing more about our investment process and our progress in these areas, so do check back for updates. Join our mailing list, or sign up for our Money Doula Blog, and we’ll share news, tips, and more about our milestones along the way.