B Corp From The Beginning: How We Live, Work, and Lead With B-Corp Values

Echelon’s focus has always been on opening doorways to free thinking. By creating an ecosystem for our entrepreneurs to explore without fear of failure, we aim to help foster a more innovative future for our communities. However, none of that is possible without a deeply-rooted value set that encompasses care for people, the environment, and social accountability.

From the beginning, the founders of Echelon determined that becoming a B-Corp-certified company was a top priority. It is integrated into our structures as a means to greater accountability in the face of constant change. While the world of innovation is always shifting, our value system remains strong. By living up to B-Corp standards we aim to build a community where real value takes import over mere profit. This creates the inner stability needed to produce successes that are scalable and sustainable for decades.
The B-Corp Standard
First, do no harm. This is a belief that was first established in the medical industry but is now becoming the common credo for all enterprises where people and place matter. B-Corporations raise the standards for companies to not only provide profit to shareholders but to first do no harm in the process. Raising the standards even higher, B-Corps are aimed at the good — on creating social impact and responsible growth that adapts to the changing world around us. Environmental sustainability, social care, and equity within communities both big and small are what make B-Corps the leaders in a sustainable future.

Echelon began adopting these principles from the beginning in order to create a foundation for success that would never compromise our employees, our entrepreneurs, or our community at large. We are mission-driven rather than profit-driven and believe that by holding ourselves accountable to B-Corp standards we are paving the way for other entrepreneurs to do the same.

We are leading by action. Our decentralized system fosters entrepreneurial creativity and provides an environment where failure is accepted, and social impact is expected. We know it’s not mainstream, but mainstream was never what we wanted. We aim to prove to the startup world that innovation is more valuable when it’s aimed at bettering the social world.
Being Proactive In A Reactive World
A major component of the B-Corp standard is proactive accountability. The system is designed for companies who want to do good from the onset. It’s not just about PR or fixing mistakes, but by acting in a way that is honorable regardless of time or place.

Echelon focuses on innovation that impacts data and climate, but we’re also looking at the bigger picture. It’s not enough for us to focus on environmental sustainability or investing in green technology — we must look at the ways our systems support the people at Echelon as well as the entrepreneurs and companies who come through our doors.

It’s not enough to provide green technologies to a community when its residents are fighting for a livable wage. It’s not enough for us to research and consult on climate problems if we’re not improving the lives of those on the front lines. It is up to B-Corp business and those who model after these standards to choose the right path, rather than reacting to the mistakes of the past.

We don’t believe in siloed or zero-sum thinking. Our ecosystem relies entirely on a complex network of individuals and teams who support each other and build a greater community than anyone could manage alone. By providing a system of shared values that uplifts individuals from within, we are able to churn the creativity needed for true change in the world.
Why We Began With a B-Corp Framework
It is very difficult to build a B-Corp backward. Once a system as complex as a startup network is in place, restructuring it can cause intense periods of uncertainty that could jeopardize the businesses that rely on it for support. We knew that if we didn’t build Echelon with these values from the beginning, we would backtracking for years.

That is why Echelon has been working toward the B-Corp standard since its inception. Our entire corporate structure is based on B-Corp standards to ensure we never miss the mark when creating impact for social and environmental change. Our values never change, which is how we’re able to maintain a level of accountability that consumers now come to expect from their leaders:

Reliability
Especially in times of adversity. We are good men in a storm — always willing to be the first to make the hard decisions and the last at the table of innovation that leads to positive impact.

Clear Focus
Not conforming to the world’s tired pattern. We know change has to happen, and we’re not looking around and waiting for others to take the first step. We are creating an ecosystem where entrepreneurs are free to propose alternate paths that are driven by purpose, not profits.

Teammates
Carrying each other’s burdens. We know that no single entrepreneur or company stands alone. We depend on the local economy and the success of others to create our own paths and therefore prioritize mutual health and wealth within the framework of the Echelon community.

Fearlessness
Standing our ground when our focus is tested. The entrepreneurial path is one that demands courage. We create a space where failure is accepted so that our companies can remain true to their values despite the changing tides.

Unselfish Play
Honoring teammates above ourselves. Play is essential to creating personal wellbeing and mental growth. However, our creative pursuits are only impactful when they benefit the community as a whole. We leave our egos at the door so that real change can happen.

Purpose
Finding total freedom and joy in the path of life. Nothing drives us more than purpose at Echelon. We believe that by leading compelling and meaningful lives as individuals, we can shape the future for an impactful community and society.
When Does Echelon Become a Certified B-Corp?
The B-Corp certification process is not easy, and we wouldn’t want it to be. B-Labs and its partners take great care in ensuring that the companies that meet these standards have truly earned it. The rigorous certification process includes months of reporting, verification, and legal requirements to guarantee to consumers that the companies they choose to do business with have earned their stripes with the B-Corp Certified emblem.

In the wake of the tumultuous 2020 year, B-Labs has received overwhelming interest in B-Corp applications. We are one of many change-making companies ready to become a part of the community that innovates and inspires.

To stay up to date on our progress in B-Corp certification, visit our News page or sign up for our newsletter here.