October 26, 2020
By: Nathan Stuck, Ad Victoriam Solutions and B Local Georgia
As the B Corp movement continues to gain traction throughout the Southeast, it also continues to gain in popularity in Georgia. The city of Athens, known for REM, Widespread Panic, and Georgia Football, is hoping to turn the Classic City into the next hub of purpose-driven, sustainable B Corps. They recently hosted a virtual event organized by Envision Athens and B Local Georgia that was designed to raise awareness of this gold-standard CSR certification.
The event was a celebration of both Athens and its sustainable business leaders. Envision Athens’ Erin Barger kicked it off before handing it over to Mayor Kelly Girtz and the VP of Culture and People at Creature Comforts, Fenwick Broyard. The three of them all spoke to Athens’ wonderful sense of community, innovative entrepreneurship scene, and the natural fit of combining purpose and profit.
B Local Georgia Co-Founder & Chair Nathan Stuck, who also serves as Director of Corporate Culture at Atlanta-based B Corp Ad Victoriam Solutions, gave an informative B Corp 101 session, highlighting the history of the movement while making the business case for companies to certify as B Corps. Among the most important reasons mentioned were differentiating from your competition, attracting a talented and diverse workforce, and using the assessment and the existing community of B Corps to benchmark and improve your impact.
Following the session, Stuck moderated an inspiring panel featuring Athens’ first B Corps. The panel included Luis Imery, president & CEO of Imery Group, Athens’ first B Corp; Ally Hellenga, community manager for Creature Comforts, which will soon be Athens’ second B Corp; Peter Dale, co-owner of Condor Chocolates, Seabear, Maepole, & the National; and Lacy Green, director of people & operations for Hotel Indigo Athens, an aspiring B Corp. All four shared their experiences taking the certification assessment, what they learned, and why they felt this was the right move for their business, their employees, and the local community as a whole.
Most common among the advice given was a partnership with the University of Georgia, who launched their B Collaborative in 2019. The program, run through the Full-Time MBA program in the Terry College of Business, brings together MBA candidates, undergraduate students pursuing their Sustainability certificates, and students from the university’s growing entrepreneurship program. These students spend a semester consulting local businesses to help them tackle the B Corp assessment, increase worker benefits, and improve their community & environmental impact.