I first became aware of Certified B Corporations a decade ago when the movement to make businesses a force for good was still relatively new. LongView had already started down the path to being a socially responsible investment advisor, and it was increasingly clear to me that the private sector would be essential in transitioning our economy from dependence on fossil fuels and underpaid labor to a more sustainable and just model.
I’d read about a new international non-profit organization called B Lab that proposed an alternative to the traditional notion that the ultimate measure of a company’s success is how much it enriches shareholders. The goal of B Lab is to mobilize companies as agents of positive change to make the global economy more inclusive, equitable, and regenerative. B Lab’s vision is rooted in mission-based business that exists both to make money and to make the world a better place.
I'd like to take a few moments to share our journey—how LongView became a B Corp in 2019, and the ways in which the certification process has helped us improve our social and environmental practices.
What is a B Corp?
In 2006 B Lab proposed a new business model based on the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit. They established an accreditation process to ensure that companies wishing to be certified as B Corps would meet “the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.” 1
Early members of the B Corp movement (the B stands for “Benefit”) included corporations that I admired like Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, and Seventh Generation.The more I learned about it, the more I wanted LongView to be part of this community.
In order to do this we had to clear a number of hurdles: chief among them the year-long self assessment process working with analysts at B Lab to answer over 200 questions, each of which required documentation and verification. Every aspect of a company’s business practice is scrutinized. From hiring policies to employee benefits, carbon emissions to choice of service providers, support for community organizations to office supplies, everything is examined. In the case of investment advisors, B-Lab also assesses investment philosophy, the percentage of client assets invested sustainably, and collaboration with other financial service firms to advance the sustainable investment movement.
This was a heavy lift for a small company like ours. To top it off, B Corps are required to change their legal organizing documents to reflect their commitment to all stakeholders as well as their social and environmental impact. It took a few more years of growth before LongView had the resources to embark on this project.
We decided to move forward when my elder daughter graduated from college and moved back to Santa Fe to work as an intern at LongView. Leah had long been a passionate advocate for societal change to combat the climate crisis. She undertook the painstaking process of working with B Lab’s analysts to identify the areas in which we needed to upgrade our business practices. She also helped us set up protocols to monitor and report on our compliance.
In May of 2019, we finally received our certification and proudly posted the B Corp logo on LongView’s website.
1as defined by B Lab.
What Does B Corp Mean for LongView?
At LongView, our mission is to help clients achieve their financial goals while aligning their investments with their values. The B Corp certification is a sign of our commitment to run our business based on our values of sustainability, equity, and transparency.
We use environmentally and socially responsible (ESG) criteria to inform our investment decisions. Strategies include best-in-class screening, exclusionary screens, sustainability-themed investing, impact investing, and shareholder engagement.
Our offices also use eco-friendly cleaning supplies and recycled paper products. Since becoming certified in 2019, we have reduced our printed paper use by over 80% and increased the renewable electricity credits we purchase from our local utility from 20% to 80%.
We’ve added to policies benefiting our team members, such as offering each LongView employee paid days off for volunteering. In 2021, we allocated over 7% of our total revenue to cash and in-kind contributions to community organizations around New Mexico, focusing on those that protect the environment or that improve the lives of women and girls.
We approach improvement as a continual process. As we gear up for recertification this spring, we are excited to take on the challenge of finding new ways to meet B-Corp standards. Our goals in the coming year include diversity sensitivity training for our staff and solarizing our downtown office building.
Today, LongView is one of over 4000 Certified B Corporations in more than 70 countries. Becoming a B Corp has helped us be a better company, benefiting our clients, employees, and community. The movement toward a sustainable economic system is gaining momentum, and we’re proud to be part of it.