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A journey for purpose: measuring our B Corp impact

Despite the many challenges of 2020, SA Expeditions is delighted to announce that it is officially B Corp certified! It is often said that withstanding challenges brings strength… In this third installment of our three-part series on "A Journey for Purpose," our Brand Manager measures the progress of our B Corp journey - click here for Part One and Part Two.

What is a B Corporation?

B Corporation is a company that has completed an extensive certification process which vets companies against high standards in five categories: government, workers, community, environment, and customers. B Corp certification is credible, comprehensive, transparent, and holds high standards of social and environmental performance.

It’s perhaps easier to remember the tagline: B Corps are companies using business as a force for good. At the time of writing, there are over 3,700 Certified B Corps in the world, representing 150 industries and 74 countries. This is a bona fide global movement, and we’re chuffed to be counted among the ranks of Certified B Corps.

The certification process centers around completing the B Impact Assessment, which is an extensive list of questions that takes into consideration the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. These offer a “shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet.” The certification process also involves amending your company’s legal operating agreement to take into consideration a diverse spectrum of stakeholders when making decisions, among them employees, local communities, and even the environment.

Certified B Corporation

An example of one of the changes implemented in our business operating agreement.

Why does this matter? Is a B Corp legitimate?

Becoming a Certified B Corp puts positive social and environmental achievements on a par with profitability. Together with almost 4,000 other Certified B Corps, we’re spearheading corporate responsibility by demonstrating through evidence and documentation that for-profit entities can actually walk the talk of being a purpose-driven company.

To throw some weight behind the question of legitimacy: it’s taken us three long years to achieve certification. During this time, we embarked on completing the B Impact Assessment, effected structural changes, and continued to devote ourselves to our long-term projects.

In three more years, we will submit to a rigorous recertification process, where our B Impact Assessment will be re-scored and vetted anew against ever-evolving standards of equitable and sustainable business.

Spoiler alert: In the interests of complete transparency, we barely scraped through. We’re firmly committed to making a positive impact on the world, but holding this ideal to the test of the B Impact Assessment was a humbling process. As you can see in our public B Corporation profile we finished up just over the threshold with a certified score of 80.8 out of 200 possible points. We know there is so much more we can do to achieve SA Expeditions’ true potential.

Photo 2 - Confirmed Score

Our company’s catchphrase, “Be Moved,” took on a whole new meaning when we crossed that elusive 80-point threshold.

Why did SA Expeditions spend so long working to get certified?

To be frank, B Corp is the only third-party certification on sustainability we’ve ever considered. As our mission statement proclaims, we aim to benefit not just our travelers, but everyone and everything impacted by our trips. The best way we see fit to hold ourselves accountable to this mission is by achieving and maintaining B Corporation certification . After a rigorous certification process ( which just so happened to coincide with the toughest year our industry has ever faced), we’re absolutely tickled to have been certified.

Mission Statement

With B Corp certification, we’ve legally promised to walk the talk, and we’re already lacing up our hiking boots.

Our promise to you is still the same as it’s always been: providing ethical, mind-blowingly awesome, private, and custom itineraries to unforgettable destinations. The only thing that has changed is that we can now display the B Corp logo to prove it. What started off as a small enterprise offering tours to Peru in 2010 is now, just over a decade later, offering fully carbon-neutral expeditions throughout the Americas and both Polar Regions, all the while working diligently to promote conservation and awareness of the world’s largest UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Carbon Neutral Travel

Did we mention that all trips with SA Expeditions are carbon neutral?

The bottom line: People. Planet. Purpose. Profit. Prioritization.

In closing, we leave you with an entreaty to prioritize B Corporations in your daily life. Whenever you see that iconic B logo in the wild, know with resounding certainty that you’re supporting an organization that is actively working to do more good than harm… And one that jumped through many, many hoops to prove it. We encourage you to consciously opt for the B logo wherever you see it, be it the pint of ice cream at the grocery store (hello, Ben & Jerry’s!), your next clothing purchase (Athleta and Patagonia are two fellow B Corps of note here), or a six-pack of brewskis (Fat Tire from New Belgium Brewing, anyone?). Most importantly, for your next private, custom travel expedition, we eagerly hope you’ll #BeMoved to choose us, the newest B Corp on the block.

Inspired to try one of our carbon neutral, B Corp certified trips for yourself? Explore our most popular tours or speak to a Destination Expert about customizing your next expedition to use travel as a force for good. Alternately, click here to sign up for our weekly newsletter.

About the author: Located in sunny San Diego, California, Corey Jay is the sustainability-minded Brand Manager for SA Expeditions. After orchestrating the details of SA's B Corporation application, she's earned the additional title of "B Keeper." Corey holds a BA in technical theatre and Spanish from Scripps College, and a Master of Leadership in Service Innovation from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.

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