San Francisco-based New Resource Bank has always maintained a triple bottom line approach to its operations dating back to the opening in 2005. In fact, the bank has offset 100 percent of its electricity usage and company travel by purchasing renewable energy certificates and also partners with iReuse to track and reduce waste and consumption. To complement this already green initiative, New Resource Bank has now become the first publicly traded Certified B Corporation.
In light of all the negative news around crooked corporate management, there is increased interest in actually measuring business ethics. “We want to redefine the metrics that people use to measure business success,” said New Resource President and CEO Vince Siciliano. “In becoming a Certified B Corporation, we’re joining a community of business leaders who think the same way. That will help us fulfill our sustainability mission and better serve our customers.” NRB also was named one of America’s greenest banks for IT operations by Bank Technology News in 2010.
NRB is no rookie to the sustainability movement. For personal banking, New Resource’s products include solar and energy efficiency home equity loans, a CD that finances solar installations, and a debit card that produces donations for nonprofits. Many Bay Area consumers have found the personal service to be a key reason for switching from the larger firms. Triple Pundit’s very own Jen Boynton describes her wonderful experience at the Howard Street branch in Sustainable Banking: It is a Wonderful Life.
On the commercial side of things, lending programs focus on serving green and sustainability-oriented businesses, and extensive expertise among employees exists in renewable energy, green building, and organics. One of many partners is the recently announced, Sonoma-based Adam Capital Clean Energy Asset Finance which provides short-term loans of between $250,000 and $3 million to cover the up-front costs of commercial solar systems through installation.
Chairman of the Board Mark A. Finser stated earlier, “We see ourselves as a sustainability leader, and becoming a Certified B Corporation helps ‘bake’ this into the DNA of an organization’s culture. We are proud to have taken this step, and we hope to build on this good work to support our borrowers in assessing their own best practices for community engagement and environmental stewardship.”
The B Corp Stamp
B Corporations are unlike traditional businesses because they take into consideration tangibles other than quarterly profits. These include:
- Meeting comprehensive and transparent social and environmental performance standards.
- Institutionalizing stakeholder interests.
- Building a collective voice through the power of a unifying brand.
Big politics is now taking notice as well. The recent Benefit Corporation legislation, sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Jamie Raskin, passed Maryland’s Senate unanimously and passed the House by a vote of 135-5. This bill endows businesses the option to register as a B corporation, which legally obligates companies to maximize both shareholder value and advance common public purposes including greenhouse gas emissions or fair trade. B Lab, the mother ship behind B Corp, has seen amazing growth. In 2008, 114 companies registered as B Corps. In 2009, 205 B Corps existed. Now, in 2010 over 300 exist with 54 industries being represented with investable assets of almost $7 billion. It seems like New Resource Bank has placed itself in a very welcoming group of like-minded businesses.