UNM hosts symposium to help companies make social impact - Albuquerque Journal

UNM hosts symposium to help companies make social impact

The University of New Mexico is hoping to make Albuquerque and New Mexico a hub for businesses that balance their bottom line with their social and environmental impact.

The university’s Anderson School of Management hosted a day-long event on Friday dedicated to educating business owners and other stakeholders about the value and process of registering as a Benefit Corporation, a for-profit company that has been confirmed to meet standards for social and environmental performance, among other factors.

The event, which the school called the Believe in New Mexico Symposium, brought together academics, business leaders and experts on Benefit Corporations to help grow the program in New Mexico. Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller gave the keynote address.

Symposium leaders said developing an ecosystem of such companies will help both the companies themselves and New Mexico’s overall social and environmental landscape.

“We’ve got the right people in the room, now we want to figure out what’s next,” said Garima Sharma, assistant professor at the Anderson School.

Benefit Corporations, often abbreviated as “B Corps,” must meet standards set by the nonprofit B Lab for their social and environmental performance, public transparency and accountability to the program mission. Kim Coupounas, a global ambassador for B Lab, told the audience that the program began in 2006, in response to a growing need to reconfigure business in a way that works better for the world at large, rather than a select few shareholders.

“We’re not shy about saying that we’re really talking about the evolution of capitalism,” Coupounas said.

Today, there are just over 3,000 B Corps registered around the world. New Mexico is home to seven, including household names like Taos Ski Valley and Meow Wolf. Both companies were listed among the sponsors of the Friday event, alongside groups like the Santa Fe-based think tank Activate World.

Sharma noted that New Mexico lags behind several other Western states in the number of registered benefit corporations. Colorado alone has around 100 B Corps. Sharma added that New Mexico’s economy is heavily skewed toward small businesses, which can find the time and cost to register a challenge.

“Keeping the lights on is the first priority,” she said.

Because of that, Sharma said events like the one on Friday were key to helping the movement grow in the Land of Enchantment. The symposium featured roundtables involving representatives from local B Corps and event sponsors, along with smaller sessions for companies looking to certify as B Corps, as well as those just looking to run their company more ethically. She added that she’d like to see the University of New Mexico function as a hub that could connect students and professors with companies throughout the Southwest.

Coupounas, who helped Colorado’s B Corp ecosystem grow into a national leader, said she saw some of the same raw ingredients in New Mexico’s business ecosystem that she saw in its northern neighbor’s, including a core group of leaders to emphasize the program.

“That’s what the future holds for New Mexico,” Coupounas said.

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop


New ABQ lifestyle shop aims to offer Old Town ...
ABQnews Seeker
Retailer focuses on providing customers with ... Retailer focuses on providing customers with items ranging from small-batch printed cards to jewelry to beauty products made with New Mexican ingredients
NM car wash company acquired by national chain
ABQnews Seeker
Champion Xpress Carwash, a national car ... Champion Xpress Carwash, a national car washing chain, has acquired locally owned company Rain Tunnel Car Spa.
‘Long COVID’ spurring legal questions for employers
ABQnews Seeker
Part of the unfolding tragedy of ... Part of the unfolding tragedy of long COVID is that it could render a previously qualified person unqualified.
Borderplex statistics show major economic activity
ABQnews Seeker
Statistics by the Dallas Fed and ... Statistics by the Dallas Fed and CBP indicate what a major center of activity for trade, production and commerce the Borderplex region has become.
When deciding to change jobs, consider the long game
Dear J.T. & Dale: I just ... Dear J.T. & Dale: I just accepted a new position and started two weeks ago. Today I got word that the job that I ...
Top Workplaces program is still accepting nominations
ABQnews Seeker
Research firm will recognize best workplaces ... Research firm will recognize best workplaces in the state
$80M cancer center planned for Santa Fe
ABQnews Seeker
SANTA FE — A 72,000 square-foot, ... SANTA FE — A 72,000 square-foot, $80 million Regional Cancer Center will be built on the Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center campus here, ...
ABQ real estate industry grappling with ransomware fallout
ABQnews Seeker
County has not yet said when ... County has not yet said when its systems will be back online
Meow Wolf names new CEO
ABQnews Seeker
Meow Wolf has a new leader. ... Meow Wolf has a new leader. The Santa Fe-based arts collective announced that Jose Tolosa will become the new CEO. Tolosa worked with ViacomCBS ...
ABQ businessman tapped to head city department
ABQnews Seeker
Startup founder will lead Economic Development ... Startup founder will lead Economic Development Department