• Brokerages can demonstrate their commitment to being a 'force for good' by earning B Corporation certification.
  • B Corporations must meet 'the highest standards of verified, overall social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability.'

Hybrid brokerage Houwzer has highlighted a new way real estate firms who give back can get the recognition they deserve: earning a designation from an organization called B Lab.

The Philadelphia-based startup recently announced that it’s the first brokerage to become a “Certified B Corporation.”

B Lab, a nonprofit “dedicated to using business as a force for good, awards the certification to companies that meet “the highest standards of verified, overall social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability.”

Mike Maher

Mike Maher

To secure the designation, a company must undergo a rigorous impact assessment and meet a legal requirement that “bakes sustainability into the DNA” of a firm.

“Now, unlike traditional corporations, Houwzer will join other Certified B Corporations and will be legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their employees, suppliers, community, consumers, and environment,” said Houwzer CEO Mike Maher in a statement.

Other B Corporations include Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s and Etsy.

Houwzer said its employment practices and charitable contributions qualified the startup for certification.

Unlike many brokerages, Houwzer offers salaries, healthcare benefits, employee ownership and paid time off.

The company has also instituted a “Rule of 10” where it commits to giving back 2.5 percent of its profits to nonprofit partners, spending 2.5 percent of employee time volunteering (equal to 50 hours a year per employee) and allowing for at least 5 percent employee ownership.

Email Teke Wiggin

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