Last year, Yulu came across the Purpose Collaborative, a coalition of agencies dedicated to guiding clients on their journey to ignite the purpose at their core and discover their aspirational reason for being, beyond profit. We were drawn to the integrity of this collaborative and wanted to be part of it — last week, we were invited to join them. Needless to say, we’re elated to be joining a network of other like-minded companies committed to creating positive change.
The Purpose Collaborative is a network of 39 organizations and more than 400 professionals dedicated to using their business as a force for good. It operates in 14 cities around the world. Creator Carol Cone has been developing a collaborative consultancy focused on helping clients build purpose into their core business strategies for decades.
As members of the Purpose Collaborative, we agree that we exist beyond profit and have a responsibility to galvanize brands to include positive societal impact in their measures of success. We’ve long been committed to including people and the planet as business stakeholders, and with the launch of Impact Relations, the timing of our acceptance into the Purpose Collaborative couldn’t be better.
Thank you to Carol Cone for inspiring us to push the limits in using business for purpose — we’re excited to see what we can achieve with you and our fellow PC members.
We had an inspiring week at the B Corp Champions Retreat. Being surrounded and inspired by your tribe helps to drive home that the work you do is important and meaningful. We’re looking forward to next year already!
We’re honored to announce that Yulu was awarded “Agency of the Year” in Ragan’s PR Daily CSR Awards.
The CSR Awards are awarded to agencies who use storytelling as a creative tool to champion a cause. They seek to recognize campaigns and organizations that aim to make the world a smarter, safer, healthier, and more sustainable place.
Over the past year, we worked on a number of campaigns tackling issues such as environmental change, social entrepreneurship, and transgender rights. Our client, Genus Fossil Free, has not only been a breakthrough player in fossil-free investing, but also lent a hand to university divestment movements happening all over the country. The Red Bull Amaphiko Academy is an example of how major brands can move smoothly into the social impact space with the intent to uplift those who may not have the resources to do so themselves. And we always turn to the B Corp community when it comes to taking a stand for what’s right.
We look to our clients to lead the charge in these areas and are proud to say that we’re making a difference by sharing stories that matter.
For more information on our impact in 2016, check out our Impact Report.
Of course, the journey doesn’t just end at an award. We asked the team what this award means for the social impact space and what differentiates Yulu from the other fish in the sea. Here’s what they said:
“Our ability to think big, bold and strategically helps us develop the greatest impact for our clients. Our consultancy extends beyond the company or organization and looks at how a brand can advance an industry and inspire others to improve standards through authentic communications,” says our Managing Director, Clare Hamilton-Eddy. “Winning this award will hopefully allow other communications and CSR practitioners understand what we’re doing in the Impact Relations space, and look at how they can do similar – if they’re not already. It helps shine a spotlight on an important element of communications and demonstrates how it’s evolving. Yulu will continue lead the charge and champion this through our work and networks.”
“Yulu is an agency that sees a higher purpose beyond prestige and column inches. It is a rare privilege in modern PR to be able to work with clients and colleagues who want to make a positive social and environmental impact on the world around them. Yulu is at the forefront of championing social innovation and it is great to be recognized by PR Daily in this space.” Account Manager Nora Eastwood says.
“Social impact is in our blood,” says Director of Client Relations Charlotte Gilmour. “Yulu hosts an Impact Council every two weeks, where we explore one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and in between, we all share ‘need to know’ news on global issues via our internal chat room. Encouraging the team to learn and keep up to date on these global issues, gives us an edge in our area of specialty – Impact Relations.”
While this is a great honour, we know that there’s still much to be done in the social impact space. Yulu looks forward to continuing our work with our partners who are committed to using their business as a force for good and sharing their stories. Thank you to Ragan PR Daily for this great honour, here’s to another great year.
A while back, we had the privilege of working with World Housing on the first-ever, one-for-one real estate gifting model. For every home sold at one of their World Housing projects, another was constructed and gifted to a family in a developing country. Melissa took a trip to Cambodia to see the company’s mandate being carried out on the ground. She was able to witness the positive change socially minded companies can bring to struggling communities.
World Housing is still finding ways to delight us – as a thank-you for helping them share their story with the world, they gifted a home in our honour – Yulu PR House! We’re deeply moved. Be sure to check out this amazing organization and the work they’re doing in Cambodia and the Philippines.
Our founder, Melissa had the opportunity to sit down with Tony Wanless of the Financial Post to speak about what it means to use PR as a force for good.
The trend is growing in all corners of Canada but seems especially popular in British Columbia. According to a study by UBC released in 2015, the province had 1,891 social ventures employing almost 13,000 people, with annual sector earnings of more than $ 500 million. And that was two years ago, when the movement didn’t have the oomph it has now.
Of course, it’s easy for any company to term itself a social enterprise by simply adding a giving component to its normal profit- making business. But just naming yourself one doesn’t make it so. It’s more than skin deep.
According to the Monitor Institute, which is part of the global strategy firm Deloitte, a social venture “is an undertaking by a firm or organization established by a social entrepreneur that seeks to provide systemic solutions to achieve a sustainable, social objective.” Often they are part-profit undertakings.
Social ventures may be structured in many forms, including sole proprietors, for- profit and not- for- profit firms, non-governmental organizations, youth groups, community organizations and more. A form of social venture company called the B- corporation provides a legal structure for for- profit corporations that have been certified by the Pennsylvania-based B Lab, a non-profit organization itself that encourages the use of business as a force for good.
Social venture numbers are increasing as younger entrepreneurs start businesses that reflect their own values while helping them earn a living, says Melissa Orozco, 33, founder of Yulu Public Relations, an agency based i n Vancouver and New York that works in both countries. It applied for Bcorp certification two years ago.
Like other public relations firms that have turned in varying degrees to supporting social causes, Yulu is moving away from traditional marketing strategies.
Social impact PR is increasingly taking more of presence at Yulu, Orozco says. At her six-year-old company, she says, the category is at “60-40 and growing.”
“We felt PR needed some PR,” she says. “This evolution of the industry is mandated to transparency, authenticity and no spin. As far as services go, we still do all the things a traditional PR agency does, but we also consult our clients on strategies to increase their social or environmental impact and when possible, we seek to measure our campaigns in metrics that aren’t just circulation.”
WE FELT PR NEEDED SOME PR.
Orozco discovered she liked helping social enterprises after working with some non-profits. They were, she says, more interesting.
“Social enterprise is hotter now, but when we started ( three years ago), there wasn’t much interest in it in boardrooms,” she says, adding that although most social enterprise still involves smaller companies, the concept is increasingly filtering i nto bigger c ompanies’ thinking.
The Yulu impact relations team is attuned to the concept of socially responsible investing, especially after helping several companies that were early to the field, Orozco says.
Typically, social investors look for companies involved in social justice, environmental sustainability and alternative energy or clean technology. Investments are usually made through socially conscious mutual funds or exchange-traded funds.
They say it takes a village. Earlier this week at our client enso’s #RightToLiteracy summit, all participants had the privilege of learning and brainstorming solutions to push for the constitutional right to literacy.
At the welcome dinner, attendants were only able to read their menu after combining it with the menu of someone else in the community. Such a beautifully executed (and super creative) way to provoke empathy among dinner guests.
A new dedicated environmental domain extension for businesses, organizations and individuals committed to positive change for the planet
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwired – April 25, 2017) – Starting today, businesses, organizations and individuals can own a .eco domain, the new dedicated environmental domain extension for people and brands committed to positive change for the planet. The .eco domain comes to market following a nine-year collaborative effort from more than 50 environmental non-profits, all with a shared vision to bring a trusted symbol of environmental responsibility to the Internet.
By registering a .eco web address, brands send a powerful message to consumers about their environmental responsibility and transparency. To activate a .eco domain, users must pledge to support positive change for the planet and list their commitments to environmental action on a public-facing .eco profile. Leading global brands like Tesla, Google and LG have bought .eco domain names, taken the .eco pledge and set up .eco profiles.
“Consumers will recognize .eco as the new global identity for brands and organizations committed to positive environmental change,” said Trevor Bowden, co-founder of .eco and Big Room Inc., a certified B Corporation located in Vancouver, BC. “Early .eco domain holders have already inspired a positive ripple effect, encouraging other brands to register and promoting transparency and a new level of accountability in how companies broadcast their social, environmental and CSR mandates.”
.eco domain pricing ranges from US $65-$100 annually and is available at more than 60 global domain retailers. To search for .eco domains, visit www.get.eco. Domains will be available today starting at 9am PST.
Over the course of a nine-year campaign to win the .eco domain, the co-founders built a coalition of support among leading environmental organizations that included Green Cross International, founded by former President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev. Other groups applied for the right to operate the .eco domain, granted by ICANN, the global non-profit that coordinates all domain names on the Internet.
The approach of building global community support for .eco greatly contributed to Bowden and co-founder Jacob Malthouse beating out several rivals for the domain, including a group endorsed by Former Vice-President Al Gore. “The support and encouragement we received from the environmental community throughout our journey was humbling and inspiring. We couldn’t have asked for better company in taking on the ambitious task of securing the .eco domain,” said Malthouse.
Bowden and Malthouse were both staffers of the United Nations Environment Programme before they set out to secure the .eco domain in 2007, after learning many new top-level domains would soon become available.
“We are thrilled to be part of .eco,” said Sid Das, Digital Director at WWF International, one of the organizations that endorsed Bowden and Malthouse’s bid for .eco. “It’s great to see this domain will be maintained by a community that is passionate about the environment.”
Big Room Inc. plans to create an independent foundation that will allocate a portion of the sales of .eco domain names to help fund environmental initiatives. Environmental groups will play a key role in ensuring that .eco funds are responsibly distributed.
Sandra Capponi, co-founder of GoodOnYou.eco, an ethical fashion app that helps users find the ethical rating of clothing brands, remarked on the differentiation gained with a .eco domain, stating it “immediately demonstrates our commitment to environmental sustainability.”
Other early adopters already using .eco domain names ahead of the global launch include:
- Koala, a natural cleaning products company, rebranded to Koala.eco.
- Sea Semester, an off-campus environmental studies program, created a landing page for their environmental study initiative at StudyAbroad.eco.
- Greenpeace Argentina is using Oceanos.eco as a short, memorable URL to drive attention to a petition from social media and advertising.
- Vancity, Canada’s largest credit union, is using Vancity.eco as a shortcut to their sustainability section of their website.
- Producers of River Blue, a documentary about the fashion industry’s impact on the environment, are using RiverBlueTheMovie.eco as their home online.
.eco is a new web address ending-known as a top-level domain-for those committed to positive change for the planet. Web addresses using the .eco domain are available to any business, government body, non-profit or individual working toward a sustainable future. The .eco domain is backed by more than 50 environmental organizations including WWF, Conservation International, United Nations Global Compact, NRDC and World Business Council for Sustainable Development and is a trusted symbol for the environmental community. Learn more at www.get.eco.
Our founder Melissa Orozco attended the Heart Series, a conference for conscious companies striving for social impact. It was a great two days
Here she is taking a little timeout for some Headspace at their headquarters in LA. It’s always great to connect with old friends. Charlie Brown has been a friend and client of Yulu PR’s since 2013 when we launched their charitable giving platform Charitweet. The company has since evolved into a mindful commerce platform that’s changing the fintech + philanthropy space.
Thanks to Headspace for hosting a wonderful afterparty for all of us Heart Series attendees!
To think that something this big came out of a Facebook event created by one person trying to make a difference. There’s always time to share a story – or maybe 15,000.
Today, Yuluites attended the Women’s March in Vancouver, a peaceful protest organized across the world in support of the Women’s March on Washington in reaction to President Trump’s perceived views on female, minority, and LGBTQ rights and threats to defund planned parenthood.
In true Yulu fashion, we started at the top and went to the United Nations for inspiration. Yulu’s Impact Council had its first meeting today, where each team member selected a Sustainable Development Goal they would like to champion through research & knowledge sharing.
Our B Corp PR Report at this year’s Champions Retreat
In the coming year you’ll be reading and hearing a lot about “inclusiveness” and what it means to strive for an inclusive economy.
In case this is the first you’re coming by the term, we’ve outlined some pointers on how to achieve an inclusive workplace below. But before we go there, we wanted to share some personal highlights from Yulu’s first year at the B Corp Champions Retreat (which, if you remember, relocated from Raleigh-Durham to Philadelphia because of the introduction of North Carolina’s HB2 “bathroom bill!”)
This year’s B Corp Champions Retreat kicked off the theme of ‘Moving Towards an Inclusive Economy’ with the announcement of the Inclusion Challenge, which focuses on figuring out the means to achieve an inclusive economy.
Some conference highlights from Melissa, our founder and creative director, and Esther, our community cultivator:
I felt more rejuvenated and inspired following my week at the Champions Retreat, than any vacation could have offered. We made new friends, shared best practices with sharp business leaders and basically basked in the company of businesses that believe in the value of values.
Tal from Full Circle Home co-facilitated a CEO workshop, where everyone at the table openly shared some of the struggles and challenges we’re currently facing, and in turn the group provided support through sharing similar experiences and basically showed empathy and compassion for one another. The exercise gave us licence to be vulnerable for a moment, which in turn inspired, recharged and encouragement us to go back out and keep fighting the good fight. It was enough to make anyone cry (I did!). I think it’s safe to say we’re all now bonded for life.
To be connected with people across a wide range of industries and talents that were connected by a general principle of ‘doing good is good business’ took away a lot of the initial wariness that I think plagues other types of conferences or networking events. When the agenda is bigger than simply meeting potential hires or clients, it changes the dynamic of the community completely.
Roundpeg Communications rounded up a dozen storytellers for dinner after the first night, and what a warm, fun, chatty bunch we were! We’ve since kept in touch with Lorraine from Prosper for Purpose, a PR agency in Cleveland, and Greg from Hemmings House, a video production studio based in New Brunswick.
We met new people, learned lessons on how to communicate, had more personal moments than we anticipated, even shed a few tears. But for the most part, it was a brain bath of inspiration.
The other half of the retreat’s purpose was to galvanize the community to take the Inclusion Challenge, which means examining a specific set of metrics that prioritize inclusion and building an economy that works for everyone.
These metrics range from paying all staff a living wage, job flexibility and diversity of the boardroom and human rights screening for suppliers. These metrics can be used by any company to make their operations, business model, and supply chain more inclusive.
The point of the exercise isn’t to see who can check the most boxes, but to start the team thinking about what ways we could improve our company operations, using this specific business framework. We only manage what we measure, after all.
Here’s what Yulu’s committed to in the next year:
- Improving access to financial services for employees: matching RRSP (or 401k, for you US folks) contributions and providing resources for long-term financial planning
- Making professional development work in practice: we find our annual stipend tends to be underused
- Growing our team with diversity as a guiding principle
We already can’t wait to go back to next year’s Champions Retreat, and would highly recommend for any other B Corps to do so!
That’s is for our B Corp PR Report of this year’s Champions Retreat!
Hey look what arrived today! Yulu was ranked “Best for the World” by B Lab for top businesses for workers. Makes sense… It’s pretty awesome here. 😉
Swimming against the current of iron deficiency anemia. We’ve always admired the work of fellow B Corp Lucky Iron Fish, and were honoured to help them put a fish in every pot this holiday season.
Lucky Iron Fish is a fellow BCorp that is disrupting how the world approaches micronutrient deficiency – specifically iron deficiency anemia – an epidemic that affects 3.5 billion people in the developed and developing world. We first heard about Lucky Iron Fish when the social enterprise was on the ground in Cambodia. A diet of fish and rice made Cambodians more susceptible to low iron levels. We were impressed that after just 9 months of cooking with the Lucky Iron Fish every day, the incidence of clinical iron deficiency anemia decreased by 50%. And we weren’t the only ones. For its work, Lucky Iron Fish has been recognized by the Clinton Global Initiative, won the Cannes Grand Prix for Design and was voted “1 of 5 innovations that will change the world” by Maclean’s magazine.
It’s been heartwarming to see the world unite in this trying time of loss, grief, pain and adversity. To support those affected by the tragedies in Orlando this weekend, Equality Florida has set up a GoFundMe campaign. In our time of working with GoFundMe, this is the fastest growing and largest campaign we’ve shared to date: $2.2M in 24 hours. #lovewins #weareorlando
Want to see more on the work we’ve done with GoFundMe? See here for a case study on the first year of our engagement.
Update: more than $7.8M has been raised for the victims of the Pulse shooting to date.
B Corp PR Agency Yulu demonstrates Impact Relations
Through the power of PR and storytelling, B Corp PR Agency Yulu Public Relations had a small hand in the fight to repeal the HB2 “bathroom bill” in North Carolina this week. The bill limits anti-discrimination protections for the LGBTQ community and forces transgender individuals to use bathrooms that do not correspond with their gender identities. The conversation that took shape after was a strong affirmation for us that doing good is good business, and not being on this wagon poses severe penalties.
On April 5, we received an email asking for our input, as a member of the B Corporation community, on the decision to relocate the annual B Corps Champion Retreat from North Carolina, in the wake of the HB2 “bathroom bill” coming into effect. We knew we were looking at a big story ahead of us and flagged this to B Lab (the nonprofit that represents the 1,600+ businesses in the community) as an opportunity to influence change among businesses by speaking openly with the press on why they came to the decision to relocate.
We’re so proud to be part of a business network that takes a firm stand for the social values of its members and the LGBTQ community, because HB2 is more than North Carolina. Yulu and B Lab collaborated on a strategy which changed rapidfire as new developments took the story to trending status. North Carolina was losing money fast, as influential players like Deutsche Bank and PayPal froze business operations and Bruce Springsteen and Bryan Adams cancelled their concerts in North Carolina. Governor McCrory announced the day after we sent out the initial story parts of the bill would be changed, but the most important parts of the bill would not be repealed.
Since Yulu took this story to the press on Monday, it’s been picked up by hundreds of writers in articles that mention B Lab’s actions, including Fortune, Mashable, and The Atlantic…we’re still trying for Real Time with Bill Maher! We’ve seen the power of a small group of businesses to shape a conversation. We’re looking forward to the coming weeks of telling stories of business and social values coming together, with B Lab as well as other clients.
Nearly 1,700 Companies Withdraw from North Carolina Events in Response to HB2
Standing for Inclusion, B Corps Relocate Series of October Events
WAYNE, PENNSYLVANIA (April 11, 2016) – Today, in response to HB2, North Carolina’s new law limiting anti-discrimination protections, the global community of nearly 1,700 Certified B Corporations announced it will relocate a cluster of October events out of North Carolina. Those events include the annual global gathering of B Corp CEOs and executives; a series of public talks and street festival called B Inspired; a conference for the economic development arms of city governments, corporate supply chain managers, and impact investors called Measure What Matters; and a conference for university educators teaching business as a force for good.
“B Corps seek to build a more inclusive economy, and that is not possible with laws like HB2 on the books,” said Jay Coen Gilbert, co-founder of B Lab, the nonprofit behind the B Corp movement. “Through the upcoming legislative session, we will work closely with the North Carolina B Corp community and the LGBT community most affected by this law to make North Carolina more business friendly and enable us to return as soon as possible.”
HB2 requires people to use public bathrooms associated with the sex assigned on their birth certificate instead of that with which they identify, which most adversely affects transgender people. HB2 appears to remove the civil right of all people to file anti-discrimination lawsuits with the State based on race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex, or handicap. HB2 also eliminates the ability for cities in North Carolina to support a living wage. The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) has filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of HB2 under the Equal Protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Kevin Trapani, CEO of The Redwoods Group, a Morrisville, North Carolina-based commercial property casualty insurer and Certified B Corp said, “As it actually says in North Carolina law, we believe that discrimination ‘foments domestic strife and unrest, deprives the State of the fullest utilization of its capacities for advancement and development, and substantially and adversely affects the interests of employees, employers, and the public in general.’ We are ready to work with proponents of HB2 to help forge ‘One North Carolina’ that lives up to its own creed so that we can welcome the global B Corp community to our great state as soon as possible.”
John Replogle, CEO of Seventh Generation, who leads the national brand and Seventh Generation Ventures from HQ Raleigh, said, “As a founding B Corp, we stand united with the 1,700 CEOs who are using business as a force for good and will muster all of our resources to overturn this abhorrent law. North Carolina deserves better and the business community must stand united that HB2 is bad for our state and bad for business.”
B Lab is a nonprofit organization that serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good. Its vision is that one day all companies compete to be best for the world and society enjoys a more shared and durable prosperity. B Lab drives this systemic change by: 1) building a global community of Certified B Corporations; 2) promoting Mission Alignment using innovative corporate structures like the benefit corporation to align the interests of business with those of society; 4) helping tens of thousands of businesses, investors, and institutions Measure What Matters, by using the B Impact Assessment and B Analytics to manage their impact — and the impact of the businesses with whom they work — with as much rigor as their profits; and 4) inspiring millions to join the movement through compelling storytelling by its multi-platform branded media company B the Change Media. For more information, visit www.bcorporation.net.
Certified B Corporations meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability. They achieve a minimum verified score of 80 out of 200 available points on the B Impact Assessment, which measures the positive impact of a company on its workers, customers, community, and the environment, and are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on all stakeholders, not just shareholders. There are 1,674 Certified B Corporations in 130 industries and 48 countries, including 32 in North Carolina.
Partial list of B Corp CEOs available for comment:
- Eric Henry, CEO, TS Designs (NC)
- Kevin Trapani, CEO, Redwoods Group (NC)
- John Replogle, CEO, Seventh Generation (NC)
- Maria Kingery, CEO, Southern Energy Management (NC)
- Jostein Solheim, CEO, Ben & Jerry’s
- Rose Marcario, CEO, Patagonia
- Wendy Collie, CEO, New Seasons Markets
- Christine Perich, CEO, New Belgium Brewing (NC)
MEDIA RELATIONS CONTACT
B Corp PR Agency: Yulu Public Relations
(604) 558 1656
Why we became a B Corp PR Firm
Written some time in mid 2015…
Last week, Yulu was officially certified as a B Corp PR firm, and we are the only dedicated PR agency in Canada so far in the community.
We join more than a thousand companies from around the world committed to using business as a force for good.
B Corporation is a third-party certification of a company’s commitment to social change, granted to businesses who have the desire and ability to look at the big picture and far into the future when making business decisions. LEED certification and Fair Trade labels have a similar function, but they are limited in the industries they service, unlike B Corp — almost any type of company can become a B Corp if they score 80 or above.
For a PR agency, or any company who essentially sells ideas, being a B Corp sends strong signals about what kind of ideas we’ll come up with, and which ones will come from a place of heart and conviction. It should tell you: we see the value in values. Journalists are driven by human stories. Your customers are driven by inspiration. In competitive industries where competency is a given, being human sets you apart.
Sheryl Sandberg strategized on gender equality in the workplace, and the world wept with her when her husband died. Howard Schultz asks customers not to carry guns into Starbucks stores. And for the scrappier companies, Method made the cover of Inc. last month for building great company culture, and Warby Parker topped Fast Company’s list of 100 Most Innovative Companies this year — both B Corporations with giving back built into their business model.
At some point, we might ask our clients: “What is a lesson you learned the hard way in starting this company? When was the last time you had to swallow your pride? What was your greatest failure?” And with that, we’ll position them as a leader who isn’t fazed by adversity, who will rise from the ashes, who has bulletproof resilience. That’s a little bit of B Corp PR for you.
This has been a learning process for Yulu, too. To meet B Corp’s standards, we raised salaries so all our employees make above living wage (which is different than minimum wage) and changed our suppliers to local businesses. We do wish we had thought of all this sooner, but we’re grateful for this process and for a third party to hold us to our principles.
We think B Corp’s mission and vision to redefine what success in business looks like is an important goal not to lose sight of. It’s not net profit in the annual report, but also the well-being of all Yulu team members, and our place in the vibrant community around us. For a quick rundown of what B Corp is, watch this video:
If you’re thinking about becoming a B Corp, drop us a line at email@example.com, we’d love to hear from like-minded people.
Our award for @ragan_prdaily’s #AceAwards came in! @YuluPR took home the win for best Corporate Social Responsibility Agency! Huge thank you to all our clients for being socially innovative! #CSR #YuluGold