Brandgeek proudly supports Mountain Area Preservation and is humbled to be…
2021 Nevada Benefit Corporation Report
Of the Law Office of Lara Pearson Ltd, PBC / Brand Geek
By its President & Chief Pontificator, Lara Pearson
Of the Law Office of Lara Pearson Ltd, PBC / Brand Geek
By its President & Chief Pontificator, Lara Pearson
Mission & Introduction
Brand Geek creatively cultivates brand protection strategies for social enterprises. Brand Geek’s leader, Lara Pearson (aka Lara the Lawyer who Loves Law) inspires others with her passion for practicing law in a soulful manner, meaning intentionally being environmentally and socially conscious in all of Brand Geek’s business decisions and interactions. Brand Geek, like other social (soulful) enterprises, measures and manages its environmental and social impacts alongside profitability and has made significant efforts this year to get strategic and specific about measuring impact.
Our impact extends beyond traditional expectations of providing high quality, timely professional services to our clients. Although U.S. Supreme Court precedent still holds that corporations are people, in reality companies are only as good as the actions of their people.
Brand Geek works continuously to grow, quantify and measure the positive impact it creates, directly through its operations, as well as indirectly through the clients it represents and whose good work it facilitates by ensuring that their intellectual capital is well protected.
Benefit corporations are a type of legal entity that have committed to environmentally and socially conscious values by codifying those values in their company’s governing documents, i.e., their corporate charters or articles of incorporation/organization. Brand Geek’s policies reflect its core values and mission and govern all of our decision making.
In addition to providing the statutorily required information, this report also highlights some of Brand Geek’s socially and environmentally responsible practices and policies, as well as some of our shortcomings (reporting!!) as they relate to the BCorp certification piece.
Benefit Corporation Status
Brand Geek has been a Certified B Corp since February 2008 (we were the second law firm in the world to become Certified!) and we also hold the honor of being Nevada’s first benefit corporation. Lara was so excited for Brand Geek to become Nevada’s first benefit corporation, she faxed in her amended Articles of Incorporation to the Nevada Secretary of State’s office at 12:00 am on January 2, 2014, the earliest possible moment at which to become a benefit corporation in the state of Nevada. (The next business day, the SOS called and said “the only way to guarantee that you are first is to pay the $300 “expedited fee,” otherwise I can’t guarantee you were first in line, there could be someone else ahead of you; I can’t tell.”)
How the benefit corporation pursued a general public benefit and the extent to which general public benefit was created during 2021.
Brand Geek pursues a general, rather than a specific public benefit allowing us to operate in an environmentally and socially conscious manner, as described in the policies set forth below.
Brand Geek has been a member of 1% for the Planet since January, 2006. In 2021, Brand Geek made cash donations in the amount of 1.1% of its gross revenue in addition to providing pro bono work for NGOs equivalent to 22% of its gross revenue. The groups that Brand Geek supported in 2021 include Sierra Avalanche Center, Mountain Area Preservation Foundation, Truckee Donor Land Trust, League to Save Tahoe/Keep Tahoe Blue. In addition to purchasing 100% renewable electricity Nevada Utility, Brandgeek also matches 200% of our electricity use with Renewable Energy Certificates. Brand Geek purchased Green-e Certified Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from BEF equivalent to 200% of its travel emissions, 200% of last year’s (2021’s) office emissions, and 200% of emissions from paper consumption.
Brand Geek Regenerative Businesses Practices 2021
A Regenerative Business is one that intentionally employs a holistic approach to foster the preservation and flourishment of the human systems and natural resources it defines as its stakeholders.
Lara is the sole owner and Director of Brand Geek. Since first joining 1% for the Planet in 2006, Brand Geek has been a leader in the global movement of business owners who are redefining the economy. When making business decisions, Brand Geek considers the following stakeholders: our clients; our contractors; our legal profession; our local Lake Tahoe community; our TED, Summit and SVC Communities, as well as the next seven generations and the precious natural environment.
Brand Geek is a regenerative business based in Lake Tahoe, which is a natural treasure. As good environmental stewards of the land we live on, we instituted and are documenting the following practices:
- Charitable Giving
and pro bono work.
- Waste and Paper
Reduction & Recycling.
- Toxic Pollution
- Energy Conservation
+ GHG Measurements Policy
- Taking Care of Ourselves
and Our People
- Rewarding Ourselves
(Yay Paid Time Off! Yay Bonuses!
Preferences + Suppliers
- Brand Geek has been a member of 1% for the Planet (businesses that donate a minimum of 1% gross annual revenue to environmental NGOs since January, 2006 and donates at least one percent (1%) of its gross revenues in cash to Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).
- Brand Geek also donates a minimum of three and a half percent (3.5%) of its gross revenue in pro bono services for NGOs.
Brand Geek commits to being zero waste by 2030 and plans to get there by:
- Implementing a waste measurement and monitoring system, to understand our waste output, and how to reduce year to year.
- In 2021, we disposed of 87.6 lbs of recycling, and 34.1 lbs of garbage. We aim to reduce this every year until we are zero waste.
- Remaining paperless (purchasing no new paper products) and continuing to encourage all stakeholders to waste less paper via a notice in the footer of our emails and by encouraging others to reduce paper waste when surveyed
- We buy ‘Be Green’ recycled plastic pens by Pilot and recycle the components when done We reuse other envelopes and other blank paper as scrap paper
- We recycle 100% of office paper products that we don’t re-use We print double-sided We use electronic communications for pretty much everything
- We participate in electronics recycling for all cords, equipment and machinery that has outlived its useful life
- We recycle all batteries, light bulbs and other hazardous waste
- We donate office equipment that has remaining life but no longer suits our needs
- We reuse or recycle office paper and ink jet cartridges
- We properly dispose of light bulbs to mitigate mercury pollution
Brand Geek is part of the B Corp Climate Collective, and commits to being net-zero in energy consumption by 2030. In addition, we commit to being in line with science-based reduction targets, by reducing our emissions by 12% every decade. To do this we aim to reduce our emission targets for scope 1 and scope 2 by 1% every year to meet our 2030 targets.
RECs are purchased annually from Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF).
RECs: Our company purchased RECs equivalent to 200% of its electricity use for our 2021 fiscal year.
Carbon Offsets: Brand Geek purchases carbon offsets equal to 200% of its travel, paper consumption and natural gas usage.
WRCs: Our company balanced 200% of its water use for our 2021 fiscal year by purchasing 18 BEF Water Restoration Certificates.
Our Certificates are attached to this report.
Here are a few things we are doing to help us get there:
- We regularly monitor and record emissions and have set reduction targets of 1% reduction from the previous year’s baseline GHG’s
- We work in workspaces with LED lighting
- We purchase Energy Star® rated office appliances and electronic devices
- We research and purchase products that are designed for longevity
- We turn off lights when rooms are not in use
- We turn off office equipment when not in use
Brand Geek has a commitment to poverty alleviation and pays the maximum legally allowable amounts (up to 100%) of health insurance premiums, co-pays and prescription drug expenses for all full-time employees (those working forty hours per week) and part-time employees who work a minimum of twenty hours per week.
Brand Geek covers the cost of disability insurance (up to 100%) for its full-time employees to the extent allowed by law. Brand Geek recognizes that employees may be needed as a Primary Caregiver for a family member or loved one.
Brand Geek offers two weeks Primary Caregiver leave annually and will work with its employees to provide flexible work scheduling for the employee during such times.
Special projects will always be compensated separately in addition to the employees’ regular pay.
Brand Geek pays its team members a fair fixed monthly price for their services over the course of twelve months. Team members are encouraged to take time off-grid, so long as their workload is managed ahead of time.
When the coffers are overflowing, the surplus is shared with full and part-time employees and contractors; for example, our firm’s contract paralegal, Ramsey, typically receives annual bonuses equivalent to one month’s pay.
Brand Geek offers a SEP IRA that has been screened by our funds manager for ESG qualities and matches 5% of its full-time employee’s contributions thereto.
Brand Geek provides its employees the funds to contribute the maximum legally allowable amount to Health Savings Accounts for its full-time employees.
Brand Geek recognizes the value of aggregated collective impact vastly exceeding the impact each enterprise has on its own. Accordingly, Brand Geek seeks first and foremost to purchase goods and services from other soulful, multiple-bottom line enterprises and individuals, including other Certified B Corps, members of 1% for the Planet, American Sustainable Business Council (previously known as Social Venture Circle), Social Enterprise Alliance, Green America, and other similar membership organizations.
Brand Geek screens and documents all significant suppliers for compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including those related to social and environmental performance. Brand Geek seeks suppliers whose practices exceed those required by law/regulation and especially those who belong to the above-mentioned membership organizations.
Brand Geek strives to support other local, Lake Tahoe area, businesses and gives preference to them over others when selecting suppliers whenever practical.
Suppliers Owned by Women or Underrepresented Populations
Women and minorities have been screwed by American business for a very long time. Women get 79 cents to every dollar a man makes, which sucks. We, at Brand Geek, like men. A lot. However, as a woman-owned business, Brand Geek strives to support other women-owned and minority-owned businesses. Our previous goal was to do 50% of our purchasing from woman-owned operations by 2021. We unfortunately did not reach this goal, as our requirements as an independent legal firm limited our options for suppliers.
However, Brand Geek is growing, and we are committed to increasing the amount of woman-owned and local suppliers as we increase spend in the coming years. We are confident that our local and women-owned purchasing policy will guide us towards our targets as we grow over the years.
Brand Geek had two shortcomings in 2021.
We did not meet our goal to reach 50% woman-owned suppliers by 2021. Unfortunately our requirements as a service-based legal firm limit the options available for certain types of suppliers, and we were not able to reach this goal. For example, a major supplier of ours is the US Patent and Trademark office. This has helped us realize that our goal of 50% woman-owned and local suppliers is difficult to achieve. However, we believe that as we grow our local and women-owned purchasing policy will guide us in that direction. We will examine this next year to assess whether or not our beliefs are founded in our actions.
Our scope 1 emissions went up in 2021 due to increased road travel post pandemic however we have offset these emissions by 200%.
Our scope 3 emissions increased slightly due to the fact that we have begun including our waste production carbon into these calculations when previously we hadn’t accounted for them. We have also offset these by 200%.
In acknowledging these shortcomings, we are still committed to reducing our emissions along with science based targets, and achieving net-zero by 2030. We believe that our improved measurement systems will support us in reaching this goal.
By reflecting on our impact and acknowledging these shortcomings, we are learning about our locus of control and influence have decided to refocus on 1% for the Planet, pro-bono work in our community, and improved measurement and monitoring of our carbon, waste and water footprints as we believe these are the places we have have the most impact.
The process and rationale for selecting the third-party standard used to prepare this benefit report.
Brand Geek selected B Lab’s B Impact Assessment as the third-party standard used to prepare this benefit report because it is the most comprehensive evaluation tool of an enterprise’s environmental and social performance.
Statement of connection between the organization that established the third-party standard in this benefit report and the benefit corporation.
B Lab is the non-profit that administers the B Impact Assessment Survey which Brand Geek uses as its third-party standard. Businesses that score 80/200 on the BIA are eligible to become Certified B Corps, which Brand Geek has been since February 2008. Brand Geek pays dues to B Lab for that certification in the amount of $500 annually.
Whether the assessment of the overall social and environmental performance of the benefit corporation against a third-party standard was applied consistently with application of that standard in prior benefit reports.
Brand Geek has completed the BIA every two years (2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016, 2018, 2020) and has applied the standard consistently.
Name of Benefit Director
Yup, you guessed it. Lara Pearson is Brand Geek’s Benefit Director.
Benefit Director Statement whether the benefit corporation acted in accordance with its general public benefit purpose and whether directors complied with their duty to consider the impact of decisions on stakeholders.
Overall, Brand Geek met its general public benefit purpose last year and Lara complied with her duty to consider the impact of her decisions on Brand Geek’s stakeholders.
We would like to thank you for reading our 2021 Impact Report. Being witnessed on this journey helps us make it real and stay accountable to our commitments.
Until next year, Lara Pearson