Here at B-line, we talk a lot about what it means to be a certified B Corp. It’s a key part of our company values, it’s part of our charter, and it guides our decision-making in areas from purchasing supplies to determining how to scale.
Let’s be honest, though – it’s easy to lose sight of that inspiration sometimes when confronted with the daily grind of a busy operation, and there’s days when all you can do is keep the trikes running on time (if we’re lucky). Every B Corp needs a chance to take some time and focus on what really matters, and why we’re doing what we do in the first place. We needed…a retreat.
Lucky us, then, that this past October, Portland played host to the annual B Corp Champions Retreat – a conference of hundreds of B Corps from around the world, each sending representatives to share best practices, network and learn from fellow B Corps, and celebrate the movement. This was no ordinary conference.
With a theme of “Building Bridges,” this retreat was all about forging connections between B Corps, building bridges within companies, creating connections between B’s and the business world + government, and examining B Corps’ responsibility to our global community. Only at the Champions Retreat do you start the day with a run on a trail around Skamania lodge, dive into what it means to create company culture in the morning, dissect an Ursula K LeGuin story in the afternoon, and stay up late into the night with your new B Corp besties, fueled by a bathtub full of B Corp beers!
One of the highlights for B-line was the awards night at Skamania Lodge, in which our founder Franklin Jones received the “B the Change” award for his dedication to promoting the B Corp movement.
Franklin has been pounding the pavement and hitting the speaking circuit in Portland sharing what B Corps are all about and bringing new ones into the fold. He also chaired the “Opening Day Activities” committee, the group helping to plan the tours and community service activities that kicked off the retreat. Three cheers for Franklin!
Some other highlights:
We hosted a group of Aussies and Kiwis before the retreat started – they loved seeing the operation at B-line and now we’re dreaming of B-line Down Under!
B-liners Franklin, Dorothy and Sam each led activities on Opening Day.
Sam’s group toughed it out doing trail work on Pacific Crest Trail, Dorothy’s group weeded the children’s garden at Zenger Farm and learned about the awesome enterprise building happening at Portland Mercado (over lunch, naturalmente), and Franklin’s group toured a B Corp supply chain, following B-corp products from storage to market with a visit to New Seasons…then down the hatch at newly-minted B Corp Hopworks Urban Brewery!
The final full day of the retreat was a celebration of all things B, and Portland was invited to the party.
Movers and shakers in the B Corp movement shared their wisdom at the B Inspired talks at Crystal Ballroom, where Franklin even got to act out a trike delivery onstage as part of sustainable coffee supply chain with Sustainable Harvest.
B Corps from Hopworks to Ben and Jerry’s to Looptworks to New Belgium shared their wares at a street fair in Pioneer Courthouse Square, and then we all got down to the funky stylings of Ural Thomas and the Pain back at the Crystal Ballroom.
We all slept well that following weekend, after many hugs and farewells, one final dance party, and promises to reconnect next year at the 2016 retreat in North Carolina.
Curious about B Corp certification? Learn more from B Lab, the non-profit certifying body, or let us know if you’d like an invite to the next local “B Local” lunch or happy hour event in Portland.