LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla.—Florida-based Legacy Vacation Resorts (LVR) recently achieved Certified B Corporation status, becoming the first multi-state hotel and vacation ownership company in the country with the designation. Administered by the non-profit B Lab, Certified B Corporations are businesses that voluntarily meet standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose through third-party review.
The certification for LVR comes on the heels of a year-long process to align every aspect of the company with B Lab’s requirements. In that time, LVR has introduced multiple efforts towards a more sustainable business model, including carbon footprint offsetting, waste reduction and enhanced recycling efforts, sustainable lifestyle awareness campaigns, green-focused renovation projects, and a living wage initiative for employees in its eight locations across four states.
LVR guests can offset 100 percent of the carbon footprint from their stay when booking directly through the resort. In addition, the company offers an option for guests to donate 5 percent of their reservation to a charity of their choice. LVR has also partnered with Clean the World, another Certified B Corp, that recycles and repurposes used hygiene products for communities around the globe. The company is also undergoing green renovations by using eco-friendly materials and Energy Star appliances and fixtures. In addition, each property has electric vehicle chargers, further encouraging the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Internally, LVR is encouraging employees to make sustainable choices in their daily lives, making a commitment to spend $300,000 annually on raises to ensure each employee is paid a living wage and offering opportunities to receive paid time off in pursuit of volunteer activities as part of their “Day of Hope” campaign launched in 2018.
“With these various internal changes, partnerships, and our B Corp certification, I sincerely believe we will experience company growth, as well as an additional type of traveler at our properties,” said Jared Meyers, co-owner of Legacy Vacation Resorts. “These new travelers will share our values and place importance on social responsibility, environmental responsibility, and sustainable travel when it comes to selecting their accommodations. I am looking forward to the relaunch of the brand and the many ways in which the company will contribute to the greater good for years to come.”
Certified B Corporations, or Certified B Corps, use profits and growth as a means to achieve positive impact for their employees, communities, and the environment. To secure the designation, Certified B Corps must achieve a minimum verified score on the B Impact Assessment—an appraisal of a company’s impact on its workers, customers, community, and environment—that will ultimately be made public on their website for transparency. The certification amends legal governing documents for the business, committing ownership to consider stakeholder impact and the balance of profit and purpose for the long term.
“At the start of this journey, I simply began researching ways that I could utilize my resources and abilities to improve society. Through that process, I learned of others directing the prosperity of their businesses towards the greater good,” Meyers explained. “The most credible businesses doing so were Certified B Corporations. They stood out to me because of their wholistic view of the business, the rigorous verification of business practices, and their values aligned with mine.”
Hoping to inspire other organizations to follow a similar path, Meyers co-founded the Florida for Good movement, which funds free resources and events to facilitate the spread of business for good and Certified B Corps. Since its inception, LVR has donated more than $50,000 to the group’s charitable endeavors. As part of their missions, LVR and Florida for Good encourage companies to take the free impact assessment so they can learn how they measure up against other businesses and learn about the areas in which they can most improve.
Other U.S. hotel companies with B Corp certification include Washington-based Adrift Hotels SPC; New Mexico’s Taos Ski Valley mountain resort; Washington-based Sleeping Lady Resort; and Yosemite’s Evergreen Lodge.