Get a feel for the energy brought to the New England BLD in this video created by fellow B Corp Redbird Media Group.
B Corp & Benefit Corporation Designations
According to their website, B Lab is “the nonprofit network transforming the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet”. B Lab created and continues to build upon the standards for measuring positive impact found in its B Impact Assessment (BIA) and passed Benefit Corporation legislation in over 40 states and provinces in the U.S., British Columbia, Canada and other countries. Beyond the assessment and legislation, B Lab leads a movement of over 6,000 companies that are collectively working towards the vision of an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy.
Breckinridge has been a proud Certified B Corp since 2013. B Corp certification requires the adoption of a legal framework to help protect a mission of long-term sustainable value creation through capital raises and leadership changes. For most companies, the requirement is either incorporating as a Benefit Corporation—which Breckinridge did—or amending a company’s operating agreement to include mission-aligned language.
Being a Benefit Corporation and a Certified B Corp means balancing profits with purpose and considering the impacts of our business decisions on all stakeholders, not just shareholders. We have several engagement approaches across our stakeholder universe to ensure we stay apprised of our place in, and our impacts on, the broader ecosystem. Ultimately our goal is to operate a business where our people can thrive, where we limit our negative impacts on the planet, and where our clients and communities can benefit. As investors, we know this better positions our firm to serve our clients for the long term.
The B Impact Assessment (BIA)
As a requirement of our Benefit Corporation designation, we must report on our social and environmental performance assessed against a third-party standard. We use B Lab’s BIA and are audited and recertified every three years, with our last audit occurring in 2021 for the 2020 calendar year. The certification process starts with a rigorous 200+ question assessment (specific to sector, geography, and size) covering the topics of community, environment, workers, governance, and customers. Once the assessment is complete, an intensive audit process verifies that questions have been answered honestly and accurately. If after the audit we score above 80, we maintain B Corp certification.
This verification shows that we meet the highest standards of third party-verified social and environmental performance.1 The B Corp assessment serves as a useful benchmarking tool to set goals and improve ESG performance over time.
Best for the World
Each year, B Lab releases lists honoring the top performing B Corps in each impact category (according to size) in its “Best For The World” lists. Breckinridge has received several such honors over the years.
In 2022, we qualified for Best For The World: Governance, meaning we scored in the top 5 percent of all B Corps across the globe in this category in the BIA. According to B Lab, the governance section “evaluates a company’s overall mission, engagement around its social/environmental impact, ethics, and transparency. This section also evaluates the ability of a company to protect its mission and formally consider stakeholders in decision making through its corporate structure (e.g., Benefit Corporation designation) or corporate governing documents.”
B Corp Community
Being a B Corp also means we are part of an impressive community of organizations dedicated to using their businesses to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges and collaborating with each other in the process.
In 2022, our director of corporate sustainability and a few Breckinridge employees together with leaders from other B Corps, planned and facilitated the New England B Corp Leadership Development (BLD) conference at the University of New Hampshire. The group was honored to have the CEO and team from B Lab U.S. and Canada in attendance to host a hybrid “State of the B”, B Lab’s annual address to B Corp constituents.
We also traveled to Philadelphia for B Lab U.S. and Canada’s first in-person Champions Retreat since 2019, where we heard inspiring talks about an inclusive and regenerative economy, all based around the theme of “Humanity at Work”.
 We were last certified on June 16, 2021 for the 2020 calendar year period. The highest overall impact score a company can receive is 200. Per B Lab, scores above 80 are considered meeting the highest standards for third party-verified performance. In addition to the assessment, certified B Corps must pay annual fees to retain their certification status. First time submissions incur a submission fee. Additional information on the certification process can be found here: https://usca.bcorporation.net/process-requirements-fees/.
As Benefit Director of Breckinridge, I am pleased to report that the company continues to strengthen its deep commitment to sustainability at all levels—corporate, investment process, and stakeholder engagement. As the accompanying report sets out in detail, this ongoing commitment requires patient implementation and diligent effort to incorporate material issues of sustainability into the operational and investment processes of the firm. The adoption of meaningful and authentic practices of sustainability that enhance the firm and its capacity to serve its clients at its accustomed level of excellence require a learning environment. This atmosphere offers ample opportunity to reflect, refine, and improve as new sustainability data and practices become available. Breckinridge’s long-term commitment to incorporating sustainability concerns continued to inform the firm’s ongoing deepening of its practices throughout 2022, despite the negative attention that environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing, and sustainability have faced.
Over the course of 2022, Breckinridge took the significant step of rolling out the first stage of implementation of its 2021 commitment to the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative (NZAM), toward the goal of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner. The firm has thoroughly embraced this commitment as a means by which it can play its part in redressing climate change. This work amplifies—and is consistent with—the prior commitments Breckinridge has made to sustainability through its engagement with and reporting under the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, the Global Reporting Initiative, the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (now part of the IFRS Foundation), and sustainability standards required of Breckinridge’s qualification as a B Corporation.
As detailed in the following pages, Breckinridge doubled down on the hard work of evaluation, updating practices where called for, and implementation of its commitments under these many frameworks in 2022. As it looks forward to 2023 and beyond, a steady march toward constant incremental improvement will continue as, new mechanisms are created and standardized to measure and manage carbon emissions at the operational level, as well as at the portfolio level. In all of this, Breckinridge evidences an abiding conviction that considering material sustainability factors can help manage risks while seeking financial returns for clients, and renders the firm a responsible company that practices internally and provides leadership externally in the transition to a sustainable economy.
Finally, I am pleased to report that, in the opinion of the Board, the company has acted in accordance with its general benefit purpose in all material respects during 2022, and that the directors and officers have complied with the duties of their respective positions in considering the impact of Board and management decisions on the array of Breckinridge’s stakeholders.*
As Churchill wrote with encouragement against the seemingly insurmountable threats of his time, “Press On”.
*Reference is made specifically to Massachusetts General Laws Chap. 156E, subsection 10(a) and 12(a).