Doing Well While Doing Good
For many companies, it’s the holy grail: grow revenue, increase jobs, and be socially responsible at the same time. Sometimes, social responsibility is sacrificed in the name of keeping companies afloat. But these six companies, dubbed Rockstars of the New Economy by B Lab, have achieved three to 100 times revenue or job growth while maintaining a high environmental and social impact. That’s success.
Sungevity is part of a growing group of companies–including SunRun and SolarCity–that lease solar systems to customers, instead of forcing them to purchase the often-quite-expensive panels. In the past year, the company has tripled its staff to 300 employees. It has also installed solar panels on over 3,500 homes (generating 8,500 kW of power) since its founding in 2007.
This company, a product of the Nest Collective accelerator for children’s wellness food brands reached $50 million in revenue in 2011–increasing its revenue by 100 times over the past five years. Revolution Foods, which serves healthy school lunches to kids, has dished out over 30 million meals to public school students since 2006. Each lunch costs an average of just $2.50. A sample meal: honey-glazed chicken with roasted potatoes and garlic braised collard greens. Delicious. Revolution Foods was one of Fast Company‘s 10 Most Innovative Companies in Food for 2012.
Lumni, a company operating in Chile, Colombia, Mexico and the U.S., “creates funds that invest in the human capital of low-income students,” according to founder and CEO Felipe Vergara. The company’s social investment funds invest in college students, and in return, the students commit to paying back a fixed portion of their income for six months after they graduate (they don’t have to pay if they’re unemployed). Over the last five years, Lumni grew from $1.5 million in assets under management to $25 million. In 2011, it reached 2,500 students. Lumni USA recently financed its first class of American students.
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