Adopt these four B Corp-focused initiatives to boost your company’s community engagement
We all know the standards for neighborly etiquette: exchanging a smile or wave with the family across the street or offering homemade goodies to the new couple next door.
These are characteristics of a good neighbor and behaviors that ultimately lead to a more tightknit community.
But what does it look like to be a good neighbor in the world of business — on a larger, corporate scale? After all, corporations have the potential to offer much more than smiles, waves, and chocolate chip cookies to their neighbors.
Evidently, there is a different standard set for large businesses. With higher levels of financial influence and power in employee numbers, companies can reshape the well-being of a community.
Held to an even higher standard of civic engagement are B Corps, companies dedicated to maintaining employee, community, and environmental wellness. B Corps (also known as B Corporations) commit to equitable profit and purpose, which means paying attention to how all company actions, big or small, impact the surrounding area.
As a certified B Corporation, Flock Freight is particularly committed to community development and using business as a force for good. With high social and environmental standards, our company is constantly looking for ways to engage in community involvement.
We’ve put together a list of ways your company can live up to the standards of a B Corp by being an exceptional neighbor.
1. Initiate community engagement by supporting other local businesses
For many neighborhoods, small businesses are the backbone of economic growth and prosperity. With this year’s pandemic-induced health scares, lockdowns, and social distancing measures, small businesses have taken a major hit, and neighborhoods have suffered as a result.
According to Harvard Kennedy School, 43% of businesses have temporarily closed, and companies have decreased their employee counts by 40% since January 2020.
Now is a better time than ever to wave your company’s B Corp flag and demonstrate your employees’ willingness to help. Take advantage of the products and services local businesses offer and evaluate ways your company can use them.
Here are a few ways you can start making a positive impact on local shops and organizations:
- Turn to local restaurants for your corporate catering needs.
- Encourage your team to eat and drink locally for lunches and happy hours.
- Source company prizes and gifts from your neighboring businesses.
- Promote local businesses on social media anytime you use their products or services.
- Endorse companies that focus on B Corp initiatives or values similar to those of your company.
Remember, even the smallest actions can make an immense difference — and can have an immediate impact.
What we’re doing:
Flock Freight regularly opts for local breweries and restaurants for team outings. We hold our company happy hours at places like Bier Garden Encinitas, a local restaurant steps away from our headquarters. We turn to local businesses like Mary’s Doughnuts and Cravory Cookies for office treats and catering needs. Flock Freight looks to nearby shops like Charlie’s Electric Bike, The Nada Shop, and Farmer’s Table for raffle prizes and encourages employees to shop locally. We also partner with and host local businesses for community pop-up events.
Networking is a great way to generate business leads, connect with local organizations, and integrate your company into the neighborhood. Keep these items on your to-do list the next time your company wants to build a partnership:
- Take advantage of social media. Reach out to like-minded businesses or advocacy groups with goals similar to yours. Follow enterprises your company may be interested in partnering with, like their posts, and shout them out on social media.
- Partner with other businesses. Through community partners, your company can cross-promote services or products by becoming visible to new audiences. Cross-promoting can be as simple as sponsoring an event, combining resources, or creating joint promotional messages.
- Collaborate with community organizations. Join forces to tackle philanthropic projects like a trash cleanup or offer local volunteer opportunities for employees. Better yet, allow your employees to take a paid day off to volunteer.
- Have your company join local events or public meetings. This will pave the way for more neighborhood connections and emphasize your business’s interest in stepping out of the office and into the community.
- Be sure to follow up. Networking with community members requires more than an initial interaction. Nurturing a meaningful, long-lasting relationship takes time, extra effort, and consistent communication.
What we’re doing
Flock Freight is active on social media and regularly connects with local businesses and community leaders. We have collaborated with the Encinitas 101 Mainstreet Association to support local downtown efforts and partnered with organizations like the American Red Cross of San Diego, North County Lifeline, and Feeding San Diego for philanthropic projects. Flock Freight regularly attends community fundraisers and events to increase civic engagement and collaborates with other B Corp organizations on community events like beach cleanups. We have partnered with local fitness centers to encourage public health and local shops to boost participation in community raffles.
3. Adopt green initiatives and encourage employee action within the community
Many companies are adopting sustainable practices to motivate and engage employees. Not only do green initiatives help meet B Corp standards and drive a positive environmental impact in your local community, but they also encourage a happier, more cohesive team.
Today’s employees are looking for more than a positive work environment; they’re looking for a positive environmental impact. A survey by Fast Company shows that nearly 40% of millenials choose jobs due to company sustainability.
Begin building a green company culture with these B Corp-focused initiatives:
- Create companywide sustainability knowledge. Educate employees and create processes that make eco-friendly business decisions second nature.
- Initiate your company’s public participation. Do this through community service projects; trash pickups, donation projects, and recycling initiatives are just a few ideas.
- Encourage healthy competition. Cultivate team spirit among employees by setting new green goals.
- Make your company’s sustainability initiative well known. Measure and communicate goals and accomplishments with your entire team. This will encourage employee and community support and participation.
- Push employees to use eco-friendly modes of transit. Promote sustainable transportation and offer incentives for doing so.
- Walk the walk. Opt for greener purchases in the office and at company events.
What we’re doing:
Our shared truckload (STL) service, FlockDirect, is 100% carbon neutral. By moving several shipments in one multi-stop truckload and avoiding hubs and terminals, shared truckload freight emits significantly fewer greenhouse gas emissions than cargo that moves via other services. Flock Freight offsets the remaining impact of each STL shipment by purchasing carbon credits from Carbonfund.org.
Furthermore, Flock Freight believes sustainability starts at the individual level, which is why we give employees the resources they need to make eco-friendly choices. We educate our community and employees with guides on waste reduction and green home offices.
Flock Freight empowers employees to recycle, use reusable utensils, work with environmentally responsible suppliers, and make green purchasing decisions. In an effort to encourage sustainable and active modes of transportation among our employees, Flock Freight reimburses non- and low-emission modes of transit.
Finally, to better connect with the surrounding community, Flock Freight promotes sustainability initiatives such as neighborhood cleanups and secondhand purchases.
4. Create an internal team that focuses on community initiatives
Establish an internal team dedicated to generating community projects and strategies for employees. Having a team focused on helping your business demonstrate B Corp values connects employees with the surrounding neighborhood.
Here’s how your team can begin eliminating community issues and strengthening public engagement:
- Set realistic goals and invest in team skills through B Corp workshops and regular team meetings.
- Focus on empowerment and outreach to create a connection between company and community.
- Boost internal awareness of B Corp efforts and company values.
- Reinforce company values with a consistent output of beneficial social and environmental projects.
What we’re doing:
Flock Freight has five impact teams: diversity and inclusion, philanthropy, environment, employee engagement, and community engagement. Each unit focuses on corporate responsibility and initiatives to assist our community and employees.
All in all, the passivity between corporations and communities is fast-fading as businesses begin to realize the benefits of fostering genuine relationships with their neighbors.
Whether you sell flowers or ship freight, the success of a community hinges upon the growth of local businesses — and the success of local businesses hinges upon the favor of the surrounding community.
We encourage you to take a look around your neighborhood and explore ways your company can employ principles of community engagement. Whether you are a certified B Corp or a company looking for ways to add value and drive social change in your community, adopt the above measures so your business can be the best neighbor on the block.