How Raleigh Founded is ‘Leaving the World Better Than We Found It’ through social and environmental action

The Raleigh Founded Team

‘Leave the world better than you found it’ is more than just a nice saying. It’s one of our core values at Raleigh Founded.  But how do we embody this value? This year, leading up to Earth Day, we want to dive into some of the tactical sustainability practices Raleigh Founded has in place and what it means for our members and partners to be a part of a sustainable coworking community.

What is sustainability?

Let's start with the basics. Everyone knows that sustainability has to do with the environment, but it looks different for every business. At its core, sustainability is all about doing more with less. Producing less waste, but also wasting less resources all around. It's not just about having a recycling program but about purchasing less and using your financial resources where it matters most. Sustainability is not just a feel-good measure to take but an important part of running an efficient, cost-effective business. It's something, therefore, that we’ve incorporated into our operational practices and decision-making and something that we hope all of our members and partners will join us in.

B Corp

In addition to smart economics, one of the main driving factors behind many of Raleigh Founded’s sustainability practices is Raleigh Founded’s B-Corp status. In business, a B Corporation (also B Corp) is a for-profit corporation certified by B Lab for its social impact. B Lab certification is a third-party standard requiring companies to meet social sustainability, environmental performance, and accountability standards while being transparent to the public according to the score they receive on the assessment. Raleigh Founded became a B Corp in 2015 when the B Corp movement was still on the rise. It was the first B Corp coworking space in the state of North Carolina and only the second certificated coworking space in the nation!

What does this mean for you as a member? If you are looking to become a B Corp in the future, complete your Ecovadis survey, or obtain other certifications, you may already have a leg up due to the day-to-day practices of Raleigh Founded in your shared space!

Shared space

Studies show that when companies choose coworking spaces over individual office spaces, there is a significant reduction in carbon emissions. This is because ten years ago, many companies had their own offices (and thus were responsible for the entire square footage of office space that came with it!)

All of the electricity, HVAC, water, and waste of that space would contribute to the carbon footprint of one company.  With coworking, however, companies are only responsible for the square footage of their private office space, plus a fraction of the common area square footage and any of their outside operations. So the good news is that if you are a member of Raleigh Founded or any coworking space, you are already taking action toward reducing your company’s carbon footprint.

Day-to-day practices

If you are a member of the Raleigh Founded community, you may have noticed a few best practices around the space. Raleigh Founded has focused on waste reduction across all of its spaces. Specifically, Raleigh Founded provides recycling services, composting services through Compost Now (deferring thousands of tons of waste over the last 10 years), and purchases recycled printing paper and office supplies when possible. Raleigh Founded has replaced paper towel holders for hand dryers, old light bulbs for LED sensor-based lighting at some locations, and even re-uses yesterday's coffee grounds for today's fresh coffee (just kidding, we never do that. Just testing to see if you are still reading. But in all seriousness, did you see the coffee ceremony in Dune? Yuck! We don’t take it that far).

Raleigh Founded also carefully chooses its local vendors and buys coffee from 321 Coffee, beer from Flour and Barrel Brewin, and uses software and services created by local startups to run their business. Using local vendors is not only good for the community, but it also reduces emissions from shipping goods. Raleigh Founded encourages zero-waste events and offers reusable and compostable products to members who host their own events. These are just some of the many practices Raleigh Founded has in place.

Investment in sustainability projects

One thing you may not already know about Raleigh Founded is that we have offset a portion of our previous years’ footprints  – and a portion of your footprint – through investment in carbon offset projects.

Historically, Raleigh Founded has partnered with Greenplaces to review its carbon emissions and invested in a Landfill Gas Capture Project in VA, which captures the leaking gas and emissions from a large landfill project; a Truckstop Electrification Project, which has created electric-powered truck AC units so that drivers can turn off their engines, thus ending idle emissions from those stops; and a wind power project in Pakistan that has helped an entire region move from gas/coal-powered energy sources to wind power, to name a few.

Raleigh Founded continues to partner with Greenplaces this year on other projects closer to home, such as the quarterly Walnut Trail clean-up and other community-based projects. Raleigh Founded’s partnership with Greenplaces offers a discount to its member base. Reach out to learn more!

This Earth Day, Raleigh Founded is looking for more ways to deepen its commitment to sustainability and help its members become more sustainable. If you are struggling with what this means for your business or industry, we can share more of our best practices and have some resources that can help. We are so grateful for a community that is supportive of our core values, especially this one. Thank you for helping us strive to truly leave the world better than we found it.