Conscious Counsel: Britt Howard
On April 19th PGF had an arson related fire at their company headquarters that destroyed their warehouse, client work, supplies and equipment. If you would like to learn more you can find a KGW video here. Britt and PGF have been an incredible support to the Portland Community and many small businesses (including ours) over the years and we strongly encourage anyone with means to support the PGF GoFundMe.
For this edition of Conscious Counsel, we sat down with Britt Howard - founder and CEO of (PGF), a soft goods manufacturing company, certified B Corps and rarified Portland institution. Started in 2008, the business is entirely women owned and operated with major clients including Nike, Snow Peak, Frances May and The Portland Japanese Garden. The journey all began with a warehouse space and $2000.
In 2019 PGF secured its very own B Corps certification and as In Practice prepares for our own B Corps certification, we were curious what that journey looks like and what it means to be a “B” in 2021.
So what exactly is a B Corps? If you’re unfamiliar with the organization, you may have seen those little encircled B’s on your favorite snacks during your last trip to the grocery store, but B Lab (the non-profit organization behind the certification process) has inducted over 3,500 companies into the fold in more than 70 countries that extend far beyond the food and beverage space. Certified B Corps are companies, both large and small, that have committed to leveraging business as a force for good - from environmental sustainability to customer service to corporate transparency and ethical labour practices. Members include Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia and even Portland’s very own New Seasons Market.
Issues around environmental health, fair global trade and community resilience are increasingly important for businesses and individuals to address on their own terms — B Corps offers a bridge between where we are now and where we want to go. Certification holds businesses accountable to four categories of measurement: governance (how it operates), community (who it partners with), environment (the impact it has on the planet) and customers (who it sells to and how it treats them). While certifying as a B Corps doesn’t mean the company is by any means a plutonic ideal, the assessment itself is rigorous and companies have to reapply every three years.