January 25, 2016
BSC Launches B Corp Clinic
by Rudhawarsh Loganathan
Last fall, the Business Sustainability Collaborative launched the B Corp Clinic, an experiential learning program designed to connect students with aspiring B Corporations to help improve these companies’ environmental and social impacts. My passion is to integrate sustainability with Supply Chain, so I decided to participate. I found the B Corp Clinic to be a platform that I could use to gain experience, not only in applying supply chain concepts but also in integrating sustainability thought processes into my supply chain learning. Students from NC State, UNC and Duke University worked with one of four aspiring B Corporations in the HQ Raleigh network, Vital Plan, Pendo, Lea(R)n, or Vaporware. We studied best practices in areas ranging from governance, to workers, to environmental and social impact. There are plenty of opportunities for us to hone our critical thinking skills.
The fall clinic began with a networking event, where students got to know the participating companies to better understand their expectations and project needs. I was intrigued by what I learned about Vital Plan. Braden Rawls, the CEO and co-founder of the company, spoke about opportunities in supply chain and why they want to be certified as B Corp. Their goal - serving people by developing herbal therapies and holistic wellness programs to solve incurable diseases in today’s world - appealed to me. I recognized Vital Plan’s potential to develop their supply chain, and I knew that, as part of the B Corp certification, there would be opportunities that would need to be made as sustainable as possible. I was matched to work with Vital Plan along with three more team members from NC State and UNC.
To be certified as B Corp, a company needs to score at least 80 points. Right away, we identified opportunities in supply chain that had the potential to contribute to their company’s existing score of 76. I narrowed my scope to two areas, creating a supplier code of conduct and developing a social and environmental screening processes for suppliers. Together, these efforts contributed three points. Along with the work of my teammates, we put the company on track to achieve B Corp status this year with 84 points. I benefitted greatly from the Clinic and I’m currently working with VitalPlan as part of a spring internship to follow through on the project.
Vital Plan's CEO agrees the B Corp Clinic was a success. Said Braden Rawls, "having this student team by our side as we navigated the rigorous B Corp application made a world of difference. The students challenged us to reflect on the type of company we want to build in the long run and helped us to better understand policies that we can put in place now to set up for thoughtful, sustainable growth. Thanks to the B Corp Clinic, our application process was greatly accelerated and we have already put many of our reflections and goals into action. We are honored to be at the forefront of the growing B Corp movement in NC to promote business as a force for good."
RSVP now for the Spring B Corp Clinic Launch Event