As Fredericton-based Rise prepares to monetize its online platform, it will do so with a newly acquired environmental certification.
Rise runs a website that offers home-building and renovation advice for environmentally conscious consumers. It has now been certified as a “B Corporation” by Pennsylvania-based nonprofit B Lab.
B Corporations are required to pass a stringent certification process that verifies them to be dedicated equally to environmental, social and fiscal responsibility.
“It’s about making sure your decisions are not just guided by making money, but also guided by… making sure that your community is well-served, making sure that people within the organization are happy, and also that the environment is respected at the same time,” said Rise CEO Matt Daigle in an interview.
The website, buildwithrise.com, allows visitors to read articles by staff and contributors, explore a database of green products, and identify financial rebates from governments and corporations.
It also includes interactive photos of green homes that can be moused over for more information, and will let users search for relevant retailers and contractors.
Daigle plans to monetize the site this summer by featuring vetted manufacturers in Rise’s product databases, in exchange for a fee.
He said that the B Corporation certification will help Rise demonstrate to its environmentally conscious customers—48 per cent of whom are planning a home renovation project within a year—that its values are aligned with their own.
“The reason that people are coming back to our site is that we’ve become a trusted source,” he said. “Rise won’t be able to enjoy the kind of success that it wants to have without having these values. The minute that we step out of that realm… the credibility and trust factor with homeowners starts to erode.”
According to the B Lab website, “Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.”
B Corporations must pass a multi-stage assessment process, file annual reports on their activities with B Lab, and implement an explicit human rights policy, among other requirements.
Other B Corporations include Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, and Proctor & Gamble subsidiary New Chapter.
Rise’s certification has been planned since it was founded in 2015, with the actual vetting process occurring between May 2018 and May 2019.
“We’re in a time where the environment is at the top of everyone’s list and climate change is a real thing, and so many people are dedicating their lives to helping,” said Daigle. “So when you’re thinking of starting a company, you have to ask yourself, What are you really trying to do? Are you really just trying to make a buck?”