2014 Transparency Benefit Report
2014 Transparency Benefit Report
On January 2nd, 2014, Ingenuity Innovation Center became one of Oregon’s first Benefit Companies. According to the Secretary of State, “An Oregon benefit company is a type of corporation or limited liability company that wants to consider its impact on society and the environment in the business decision-making process, in addition to earning a profit.” Oregon was the 20th state to adopt legislation that will protect organizations that wish to consider other factors in business choices versus just profit-based decisions. Traditional corporate structures require that decisions must not adversely impact share / stockholders even if it may harm local economies or the environment. The establishment of Benefit Companies were instituted in direct response in an effort to show that business can be used for a force for good by creating benefit for all.
Ingenuity was one of 29 companies that participated in the inaugural event. Oregon’s event had the largest record number of companies to participate in the new legislation. Becoming a Benefit Company requires organizations to show how they are adding benefit by using an approved Third Party Standard after they register with the State of Oregon. It is important to note that Oregon Benefit Companies are not required to get a certification through the 3rd Party Standards in order to maintain their status as a Benefit Company. Ingenuity Innovation Center has chosen to use the B Lab Assessment that certifies companies using a triple-bottom line approach.
“We have always valued transparency,” stated Kate Wildrick. “After working in the corporate world and seeing just how much information is shared on a ‘need-to-know-basis,’ I never saw how that exactly empowered people to address issues, let alone solve them. We were absolutely elated when we found out about the whole B-Corp and Benefit Company movement.”
So how did Ingenuity Innovation Center do during the first year as a Benefit Company?
On December 4th, 2014, Ingenuity Innovation Center took the B Impact Assessment through B Lab. This ever evolving assessment evaluates an organization’s business practices in five (5) areas. They include governance, workforce, community, consumers and environment. A total of 200 points is possible. The full-length evaluation typically takes an organization 90 minutes to complete. B Lab certifies companies that score 80 points or above in the evaluation after completing and audit of business practices and review of internal documentation to support what the assessment is screening for. These companies are recognized in the business world as B Corps.
Upon completion of the assessment, Ingenuity Innovation Center scored a total of 102 out of 200 points. The average for the 536 certified B Corps is 97 out of 200 points. A copy of this document is available upon request.
“Because we are in our first year infancy as a Benefit Company, we are working to establish a lot of the infrastructure that is required to qualify and quantify our impact according to B Lab’s standards. Ultimately our goal is for Ingenuity to become recognized as a B Corp. This is obviously going to take time,” stated Kate. “However, we feel that we have a lot to share and showcase in how we are already impacting the local community and becoming a part of a global solution.”
Beyond the B Lab Assessment: How Did We Meet Our Goals?
Ingenuity Innovation Center initially established three goals for 2014 that would showcase how we were adding benefit to all. They included:
GOAL #1: To bring a sustainable food solution to the Pacific Northwest. We have:
- Created the largest living aquaponic greenhouse in the Portland Metro area that is open to the public to tour and interact with.
- Developed classes, affordable kits, open-source aquaponics knowledge and local community of practicing aquaponic enthusiasts.
- Been featured on Sustainable Today’s Slow Food Episode for creating a local food solution.
- Established a relationship with world renowned, aquaponic pioneer, Murray Hallam. Together, we hosted a ground-breaking event at Ingenuity where we sold out a 3-day event in July with Murray in less than 30 days. This successful event resulted in the partnering of Ingenuity Innovation Center and Murray Hallam to create the first Murray Hallam Training Center for his aquaponic curriculum that is certified to meet Australian government standards. Ingenuity Innovation Center will be the first location in the world (outside of Murray’s training center in Australia), to train on his curriculum.
- Developed a partnership with Skamania County in Washington State to co-develop a regional agritourism venture situated on 120 acres. A 10 acre portion will be dedicated to developing a commercial aquaponic greenhouse operation. This landmark event will showcase a large scale version of the Constant Height One Pump (CHOP) System (also referred to as Flood and Drain), the first of its kind in the world. This venture is also expected to have an aquaponic discovery center and will serve as a second training center to deploy Murray Hallam’s aquaponic curriculum.
GOAL #2: To showcase other alternative energy solutions. We have:
- Created various prototype energy solutions to showcase what is possible.
- Installed a brand new donated wind turbine to serve as a backup energy solution for the aquaponic greenhouse. Created a community class and workshop around the event and had Bob Jenks from the Citizens’ Utility Board to speak on new and emerging energy solutions regarding smart grid technology.
- Developed off-grid energy solutions that leverage materials that often end up in the landfills.
GOAL #3. Getting people involved in developing local solutions. We have:
- Hosted several community-building events that help develop connection and skill building.
- Invited speakers from a variety of backgrounds and topics to share knowledge and tools to help create local, sustainable solutions.
- Hosted community dinners and film viewing events to ignite curiosity and facilitate discussion and action.
- Partnered with several organizations such as Hatch Innovation Center, International Living Future Institute, and the Thrive Movement along with local community leaders to collaborate on building sustainable solutions and new economic models.
- Been publicly acknowledged for our work by the College of Natural Medicine where we were presented a Green Industry Leader Award.
Other facts and figures for 2014 include:
- 28 on-site events this year
- 84 tours of the center
- 1,112 people have visited the center this year
- 1,430 people have subscribed to our newsletter
- 103 members in our Meetup Group.
- 793 members in our public Facebook group
- 440 likes on our public Facebook page
To see just how far we have come since we started in September of 2012, click through the following Prezi.