Thompson Reuters: Benefit Corporations: Organizing for Multiple Stakeholders

Thompson Reuters Sustainability, May 30, 2014

by Shari Helaine Littan

In the last couple of years, the phrase “sustainability” seems to have touched every aspect of business. With the adoption of “benefit corporation” statutes, even traditional corporate law is evolving to respond to corporate responsibility expectations of an expanding group of stakeholders, such as customers, employees, and taxpayers.

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EcoLogic Solutions Brings Green Cleaning to the Brooklyn Navy Yard

When it comes to so-called “green” products, we usually expect to pay more for something that doesn’t do the job quite as well as its mainstream counterpart. EcoLogic Solutions proves that this kind of thinking is hogwash.

A commercial cleaning products manufacturer based in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, they make a full line of commercial-grade, plant-based, wholly biodegradable cleaning products. They simply sweep the floor (and clean and disinfect the surface) with the toxic competition.

CEO Anselm Doering founded EcoLogic after reading a poster in a New York Thruway rest stop restroom stating, “Proud to be cleaned by Lysol.”>> Continue reading

Brooklyn “B-Corps” Offer New Models for Business Success

Today, many of the products we buy are slapped with a dizzying array of certification labels.  You’ve probably seen the USDA certification attached to organic food products, or the Fair Trade label on coffee.  Sustainably-harvested wood has the Forest Stewardship Council’s FSC certification system, and Cradle to Cradle certification covers everything from  raw materials and industrial products to consumer goods and personal care products.  And if you’ve been on a tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, you know about the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) rating system and seen beautiful examples of LEED buildings in the Yard, including Building 92, the Perry Building, and even the NYPD Brooklyn tow pound, among others.  Many industries across the world are waking up to the need for stronger ecological and social standards, and third-party certification programs help consumers to navigate the claims of the product, building, or manufacturer in question.>> Continue reading

Turnstile Tours Releases First Annual Benefit Report

You may have seen on our website or promotional materials that Turnstile Tours is a “New York State-registered Benefit Corporation” and wondered, what on earth does that mean?  To answer that question, we have released our first annual Benefit Report, which we are excited to share with our partners, customers, stakeholders, and the general public.

So, what is a Benefit Corporation?  Well, it’s a relatively new class of company in New York State – legislation creating them was enacted in December 2011, making New York the seventh state in the union to pass such a law.  When Turnstile Tours was incorporated in May 2012, we became one of the first companies in the state to be organized under this new statute.  Under the law, we must show our company provides a “positive material impact on society and the environment.”  Of course, you don’t have to take our word for it – we are required to base our evaluation on a recognized third-party standard and publish the results in an annual report, which you can now read here.>> Continue reading

Meet Our Team: Sustainability Guide Doug Chapman

Over the next several weeks, we will be posting brief interviews with all of our great team members at Turnstile Tours. From historians to actors, special education professionals to artists, our team possesses a wide range of experience and expertise that help to make our tours well-crafted, engaging, and accessible to any audience.

Meet Doug Chapman, head of Sustainability Programming and leader of our Sustainability Tours of the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Where are you from originally, Doug?

I grew up in Toronto, Canada and went to high school in Interlochen, MI.>> Continue reading

Navy Yard Manufacturer IceStone Uses Crowdsourcing to Recover from Sandy

We all know that glass is made of sand, but Hurricane Sandy was no friend to recycled glass countertop manufacturer IceStone.

The Brooklyn Navy Yard tenant was hit hard by the storm, with their manufacturing and warehouse floor submerged by almost four feet of water, causing damage to their facility and materials. The East River water that washed through the yard stained valuable slabs of finished countertop, contaminated high-grade raw materials, wreaked havoc with floor-level electrical systems, and disabled the conveying and fabrication machinery. In addition, the heart of the company’s marketing campaign – hundreds of beautiful sample pieces and 2000 purpose-built sample boxes and intricately designed binder displays – were completely destroyed.>> Continue reading