News

PSU Business Students Help Oregon B Corps Measure What Matters
Author: andrea bailey
Posted: January 6, 2017

In the eyes of MBA student Eduardo Ovejas, changing the way we do business is a matter of survival. “I personally see no other way for us as a specie to keep living the way we do. It is up to all of us to take small steps toward a better future, and what better way to do it than through corporations that have the resources to set an example.”

 

Last year, Eduardo already helped four Oregon businesses do just that and become certified B Corps.

As part of B Impact PSU, a program led by Portland State business students, he and other soon-to-be MBAs consulted these companies as they worked through the rigorous assessment required to obtain B Corp status.

Becoming a B Corp means committing to high standards for social and environmental impact.

This year, Eduardo stepped up to take on one of two leadership roles as the student liaison for B Impact PSU. The company liaison role is led by MBA candidate Genevieve London. The program has six new clients, among them Tomolla Consulting.

For the company’s cofounders Nate Forst and Eric Crum, the idea of becoming a B Corp has been on the radar since the very beginning in 2014: “The simple fact that all the work we do connects to the greater goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions is part of our firm’s DNA.”

The two PSU alumni focus on helping companies such as the Port of Portland, the Bonneville Power Administration, and New Seasons Market better manage their materials, both upstream and downstream. This reduces the carbon load, and usually also project costs - a perfect example of the kind of alignment of environmental and financial goals B Corps strive for.

Of course, setting aside time for an assessment as comprehensive as this one is a challenge for a growing firm. To have the expertise and hands-on support from B Impact PSU students has been a game changer.

Since kicking of the collaboration in the fall, the PSU team has distilled opportunities for Tomolla to set up processes that will benefit the firm in the long run and improve their chances at achieving B Corp certification.

“From the start, we have been impressed with the students’ insight, professionalism, and ability to help our small firm navigate this process,” says Nate Forst, MBA ‘12. “The materials they have created for us are excellent. As both Eric and I have completed masters programs at PSU, we know how busy things can get in grad school, and that only increases our respect for the team’s performance.”

For Eduardo, the work is worth it, too. “I enjoy the exposure to the business community in Portland and the ability to apply things we learn in the MBA program. I also value the opportunity to be part of the B Corp movement, which I think will change the world.”


 

Program Catalysts & Partners
Miller Nash Graham & Dunn
sponsored a fellowship for Rich Schwartz, MBA ‘16. Rich was a student leader of B Impact PSU in 2015, and created new systems, processes, and materials for this year’s program as a post-graduate fellow.

B Impact PSU is an Impact Entrepreneurs initiative at Portland State’s School of Business. Jacen Greene, Program Manager at Impact Entrepreneurs, worked closely with B Lab, the organization certifying B Corps, to structure the program and to share processes with other universities. He also led the charge toward a new partnership with the Mayor’s Office for another B Corp consulting program.

Current B Impact PSU Clients:

  • Andina
  • B-Line
  • Deschutes Brewery
  • NetRaising
  • Tomolla Consulting
  • Wanderwell

Explore:
>> Read how B Impact PSU helped Nossa Familia ace the B Corp assessment in 2016.
>> Meet other impact-driven entrepreneurs at the 2017 Elevating Impact Summit.
>> Connect with Portland State’s Net Impact chapter.