By John Herrick, VTDigger.org
The state’s largest electric utility joined nearly two dozen other Vermont companies to meet a high standard for social and environmental consciousness, earning it a “B Corp,” or benefit corporation, certification by an accredited nonprofit.
Green Mountain Power is the world’s first utility to now join ranks with Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company, one of the early adopters of a corporate social mission. The founders of the ice cream company celebrated the certification during a news conference at the utility’s offices in Colchester on Monday, Nov. 29.
The utility passed a scoring threshold set by B Lab, a nonprofit that certifies companies for how they treat workers, impact the environment and engage with the community. GMP scored 84 out of 200, which is above average.
Coen Gilbert, one of the cofounders of B Lab, said GMP treats its employees well. The company’s lowest wage is $17.78 per hour, except for students and interns, according to the so-called B Impact Assessment. All employees received bonuses in the last year. The company also pays 80 percent of health care premiums and offers a fully funded pension plan for tenured employees.
The company was also credited for working on microgrids, energy storage technologies and building renewable energy generation like wind and solar farms in Vermont.
Mary Powell, president and CEO at GMP, said the decision will help the company’s bottom line. To improve the company’s score, she said the company can work with the state’s energy efficiency utility to reduce energy consumption at company buildings.