DURHAM — Company leaders who want to address their social and environmental impact can receive help from University of New Hampshire students through a new partnership between the college and New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility.
The B Impact Clinic gathers teams of students to serve as consultants for New Hampshire companies that are working to complete their B Impact Assessment. The BIA is an open-access, rigorous assessment tool, which is widely regarded as a comprehensive way to assess a company’s impact.
Eleven students from a variety of majors will work with three companies next fall, according to Fiona Wilson. She is the executive director of UNH’s Center for Social Innovation and Enterprise
“We’ve had a lot of companies say they want to use (the BIA), but they don’t have the time or people. That’s where the students come in,” Wilson said Friday.
Wilson said she came up with the idea for the collaboration about a year ago after being inspired by a colleague in the South. A pilot program began this past fall with senior Jill Howard and junior Vincent Pagano helping the national executive search firm Koya Leadership Partners become B Corp. certified.
“This hands-on learning project has been an incredible way for me to learn what it means to be a sustainable business in a holistic sense,” Howard said in a statement for UNH Today. “I know this experience has set me up well as I embark on my career post-UNH and has confirmed my interest in working for a business that has strong, positive social and environmental impact.”
Lonza Biologics in Portsmouth is one of the companies currently participating in the program. Michelle Veasey, executive director of NHBSR, said Lonza is a good example of a business that wants to learn more about making improvements but isn’t quite ready to become B Corp. certified.
Lonza Biologics had taken the assessment and they’re trying to see how to expand their sustainability efforts,” Veasey said. “They’re not looking to become a certified B Corp., but they want to improve their sustainability efforts.”
Veasey said the program helps fulfill NHBSR’s mission of inspiring and supporting businesses all over the Granite State to build a more sustainable and prosperous state for everyone.
Wilson said they are already looking for companies to work with during the spring semester in 2020. Interested business leaders are encouraged to attend the B Impact Clinic Showcase on April 24. To register, visit https://www.unh.edu/social-innovation/b-impact-clinic-spring-2019-showcase.