bigtruck becomes Truckee area’s first B Corp | TheUnion.com

bigtruck becomes Truckee area’s first B Corp

Justin Scacco
Truckee Sun

Truckee hat company bigtruck has become a symbol of mountain living in recent years, and now the brand is looking to make a difference socially and environmentally by becoming Truckee's first Certified B Corporation.

Founded in 2010, bigtruck has become essential mountain wear, with locals and tourists alike filling the store to design their own custom hats — even members of the Truckee Police Department rock bigtruck as part of their official uniforms.

The brand recently took a step toward becoming more proactive in the community, the environment, and toward its employees with an announcement earlier in the month that the company has become a Certified B Corporation.

B Corporations are for-profit companies that are certified by the nonprofit B Lab, according to the organization's website, to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

“One of our core values has always been to seek to sustain the people and places that sustain us. By getting this certification it holds us accountable.”

— Emily Deane, bigtruck marketing manager

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"It was the next step for us," said bigtruck Marketing Manager Emily Deane. "One of our core values has always been to seek to sustain the people and places that sustain us. By getting this certification it holds us accountable."

The certification process involves an assessment of a company's performance in regards to governance, how it treats employees, its impact in the community, and its environmental practices.

"Things that are not necessarily part of a regular business," said General Manager Bill Sinoff. "It's more commonplace now at places like Google or Facebook that have crazy resources, but for a business our size, it's definitely a very conscious effort to do things the right way. It really starts inside, in terms of how you treat your employees."

'HumbLed to B certified'

Sinoff said bigtruck employs roughly a dozen workers at its facility in Truckee, and as part of being a B Corporation, those employees receive benefits like ski passes and gym memberships.

"It makes so much sense, especially being here where we have an environment that we all love and a small community that is very intertwined," said Project Manager Francesca Curtolo, who joined bigtruck in 2017 to guide the brand through the certification process.

"This certification represents our commitment to grow the brand in the most socially and environmentally conscious way possible. Obtaining the B Corp Certification has been a foundational goal of the organization, yet just a starting point for bigtruck's new approach to business. We are humbled to be joining the elite group of Certified B Corps that share our same values."

Questions on the assessment include items on employee pay structure, vacation days, percentage of the company owned by full-time workers, how the company interacts with its suppliers, whether the company has invested in energy and water efficiency improvements, and others.

Patagonia clothing company and Ben & Jerry's Homemade Holdings are among the largest of the more than 2,000 companies certified as B Corps.

FUNDING COMMUNITY SERVICE

Bigtruck also announced it has changed its legal status to a Benefit Corporation, amending its Articles of Incorporation to state "its promise to promote the advancement of knowledge and support its local community through volunteerism."

"By becoming a Benefit Corporation, we are elevating our mission goals to sustain the people and places that sustain us through social, governance and environmental best practices," said Sinoff in a statement.

The company will next host the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship kickoff party on Thursday, April 26, at its building at 10800 Pioneer Trail #2. The event is free and includes gear giveaways and information about Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship's upcoming season of trail building and maintenance. A commercial solid waste workshop, also hosted by bigtruck, will follow on May 10, detailing Truckee's new recycling services.

The brand will be at trail days throughout the summer and is part of the Truckee River Watershed Council's Adopt-A-Stream program.

"Part of the B Corp thing is, all of our employees who go to volunteer, we actually pay their wages," said Sinoff.

Moving forward, bigtruck is working with the Truckee Fire Protection District to design hats for local firefighters, according to Sinoff, and is also working with the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority on a national campaign. Sinoff also said he hopes bigtruck's B Corporation certification will inspire other local businesses to do the same.

"The real goal is to spread understanding around what the organization is and inspire other businesses to follow suit and become B Corps," said Sinoff.

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Truckee Sun. Contact him at jscacco@truckeesun.com.

What is a B Corporation certification?

B Corporation certifications are issued to for-profit companies by B Lab, a global non-profit organization. To obtain certification companies must meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. B Corporations attempt to use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems, such as a manufacturer going green or a company helping to its employees get off welfare. B Corporations’ stated goals are to use business as a force for good.

— Justin Scacco