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Our Journey to Becoming a Certified B Corp

Rachel Kent

We are excited to share the news that Climate First Bank, along with our holding company Climate First Bancorp, and our fintech affiliate OneEthos, have earned their B Corp Certification. In an era where corporate social responsibility (CSR) is increasingly crucial, our family of Climate First organizations have emerged as shining examples of organizations committed to making a positive impact on the world.

This prestigious certification is a testament to our commitment to creating a better future for both people and the planet. You can read more about our B Corp Certification on our B Corp profile. In this blog, we’ll explore the different elements that made up our certification.  

First, what is B Corp Certification?

B Corp Certification is awarded to businesses that meet high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors including employee benefits, charitable giving, supply chain practices, and input materials. For Climate First Bank to achieve certification, the company had to:

• Demonstrate high social and environmental performance by achieving a B Impact Assessment score of 80 or above and passing our risk review. Multinational corporations must also meet baseline requirement standards.  

• Make a legal commitment by changing their corporate governance structure to be accountable to all stakeholders, not just shareholders, and achieve benefit corporation status if available in their jurisdiction.  

• Exhibit transparency by allowing information about their performance measured against B Lab’s standards to be publicly available on their B Corp profile on B Lab’s website.


Becoming a B Corp has many advantages, including building trust with consumers, communities and suppliers, as well as attracting and retaining employees, and attracting mission-aligned investors. At Climate First Bank, we’ll have to undergo the verification process every three years in order to recertify, so we’ll be focused on continuous improvement, leading to long-term resiliency.  

How are B Corps assessed?  

B Corps undergo a comprehensive assessment to evaluate their performance in various areas of social and environmental impact. This assessment examines the company's governance, workers, community engagement, environmental practices, and impact on customers. The assessment evaluates factors such as mission alignment, worker benefits, community involvement, resource management, and product/service impact. B Corps are then scored based on their performance in these areas. The assessment process is verified and audited which ensures that B Corps meet rigorous criteria and are held accountable for their commitment to creating a positive impact while maintaining transparency and accountability.

How did Climate First Bank score?

Governance: Elevating Mission, Ethics, and Accountability.

The Bank recognizes the importance of governance in driving impactful change. Transparency and accountability are core principles that guide our operations, ensuring that our actions reflect our commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. Our approach to creating positive impact is multi-faceted and we consistently incorporate social and environmental impact into decision-making because we consider it important to the success and profitability of our business.  

• We provide employee training that includes social or environmental issues related to our mission, and we embed social and environmental initiatives into job descriptions. Once an employee joins us, their goals and objectives include initiatives honed towards social and environmental achievements.

• Our Board of Directors reviews key performance indicators (KPI’s) on our social or environmental performance on a monthly basis.

• We formally share financial information with full-time employees daily, we have an intentional educational program around shared financials and we publicly report our financial statements.

Workers: Nurturing Financial and Social Well-being.

Climate First Bank’s success lies in the well-being and satisfaction of our employees. By investing in our employees financial, physical, professional, and social well-being, we foster a supportive and inclusive work environment. From competitive benefits packages to career development opportunities, Climate First Bank empowers its employees to thrive both personally and professionally.  

• We offer bonuses to non-executive employees and employee ownership opportunities. Employees can earn bonuses through our Mission Specialist Program, whereby employees earn points by taking on activities (volunteering, reading or education), at certain levels, employees achieve a bonus.  

• We offer our employees affordable and accessible banking solutions and direct deposit of pay checks. Employees can also apply for low-interest or interest-free loans.  

• We have clear and generous policies and practices around career development and promotions. Employees who seek to take a short-term leave or sabbatical will have their jobs guaranteed upon return and we’ll try to find a place for employees who seek to take a long-term leave or sabbatical upon their return. Employees are also able to make lateral moves or change career direction or pace when possible.  

Community: Enriching Local Economic and Social Welfare.

We believe in being an active contributor to the communities we serve. By partnering with local organizations, supporting initiatives that address social challenges, and promoting economic well-being, we strive to make a positive impact beyond offering financial services.  

• We have local purchasing and hiring policies in place including the preference to purchase from local suppliers, and to recruit local talent wherever possible.  

• We have specific practices regarding donations or community investments including a formal statement on the intended social or environmental impact of the Bank’s philanthropy, and we have a formal donations commitment established with 1% for the Planet.

• The Bank creates an equitable and inclusive workplace for employees by offering training for all employees on topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and we have designated an individual who is explicitly responsible for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Environment: Championing Environmental Stewardship.

Recognizing the urgency of climate change, the Bank has made strides in improving our environmental stewardship. Through various initiatives, the Bank minimizes its ecological footprint and promotes sustainable practices. From reducing carbon emissions to implementing eco-friendly policies, we ensure that our operations align with environmental best practices, contributing to a greener and more sustainable future.

• Our product conserves the environment by providing competitive solar loans for residential and business customers in Florida. We measure and track the number of solar loans we have provided to understand our impact.  

• We encourage good environmental stewardship in how employees manage their virtual offices by providing a written policy encouraging environmentally preferred products and practices in employee virtual offices, and we share resources with employees regarding environmental stewardship in home offices (e.g. energy efficiency).

• We manage our greenhouse gas emissions for Scope 1 and 2 by regularly monitoring and recording emissions, and we’ve set science-based targets necessary to achieve global goals to address climate change. Through a partnership with We Are Neutral, we’ve also achieved carbon neutrality.  

Customers: Enhancing Value for Direct Customers and Consumers.

At Climate First Bank, delivering value to our customers is paramount. By actively seeking ways to improve products and services, we foster long-term relationships built on trust and customer satisfaction. Whether through innovative digital solutions or educational resources on environmental and social issues, we go the extra mile to empower our customers and help them make a positive impact through their financial decisions.

• We service over 75% of our loan originations, and over 95% of our customers are directly sourced and serviced by us.  

• We provide banking services that are designed to address the climate crisis, a problem faced by our customers. Products include competitive and accessible loans for personal and business solar panels.  

• To manage the impact and value created for our customers, we have third party certifications with organizations like 1% for the Planet, We Are Neutral, B Corp, and Florida For Good. These certifications and partnerships hold us accountable to delivering value for our customers and the planet we live on.  

What’s next for Climate First Bank?

Our journey to becoming a Certified B Corp exemplifies our unwavering commitment to sustainability, social welfare, and ethical business practices. By excelling in the impact areas of Governance, Workers, Community, Environment, and Customers, we have proven our dedication to creating positive change. We intend to continue our journey with continuous improvement, leading to more long-term resiliency.  

As a Certified B Corp, we intend to lead by example and inspire other companies in the financial sector and beyond to follow suit. Together, we can build a more sustainable and equitable future for generations to come, with Climate First Bank at the forefront of this transformative movement.

If you’d like to hear more about our B Corp Certification, or if you’re interested to know how you could certify your own business, contact Lauren Dubé, Director of Client and Mission Partnerships by email.

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As the nation’s first climate-focused bank, Climate First Bank is a full-service community bank offering both personal and commercial banking services. We are proud to serve our communities as we work together to promote sustainability and reverse the climate crisis.
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