March is B Corp Month, so now is the perfect time to share what it means to us to be a Certified B Corporation® and why we became one in the first place.
In 2016, ACHS became the first accredited higher education institution specializing in holistic and integrative health and wellness to become a Certified B Corporation®.
“At ACHS, we’re a community of holistic health learners. Our motto is: Learn well. Live well. Educate others. We operate with a focus on people and the planet, not just the bottom line, and we’re thrilled to join a like-minded community of corporations that are devoted to transparency, accountability, and bettering our world for others,” says ACHS President and Founder Dorene Petersen.
Becoming a Certified B Corporation®
To become a Certified B Corp, ACHS completed a rigorous review process that analyzed the College’s practices such as purchasing, customer service, student success, and sustainability practices. ACHS was able to demonstrate how it puts people, community, and sustainability at the forefront of operations.
The performance standards Certified B Corps meet are comprehensive, transparent, and verified. Certified B Corps are committed to considering the impact of their decisions not only on their shareholders, but also on their stakeholders (e.g., students, graduates, faculty, staff, customers, vendors, community, and the environment).
Why is ACHS Committed to Being a Certified B Corporation®?
Certified B Corporations like ACHS meet higher standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability and operate with a clear mission to benefit the communities they serve. Since 1978, ACHS has been committed to sustainable practices for the environment and in our business practices. ACHS Founding President Dorene Petersen started ACHS with a mission to make holistic health and wellness education accessible to our global community, giving everyone the opportunity to lead healthier and happier lives.
Our mission is to provide leadership in holistic health education through comprehensive professional online and on-campus education and high-quality, sustainably produced, natural products. Our dedicated staff and faculty and hardworking students and graduates bring this mission to life.
Here are just a few highlights that set ACHS apart and demonstrate our commitment to serving our communities and the planet. At ACHS, we:
- Have a Board of Directors and management staff committed to treating our social/environmental impact as a primary measure of success.
- Provide employees with retirement planning options that include socially-responsible investing options.
- Ensure fair wages are paid to suppliers in low-income markets.
- Invest and source from small-scale suppliers with values that align with our quality promise for natural products.
- Provide employees with paid time off to volunteer. We are excited to participate in the second annual B Corp® Day of Service on March 19, 2020!
- Engage in a wide range of sustainability initiatives. Learn more about our green campus online here.
Giving That Builds Community: Supporting Women Farmers in Nepal
ACHS Founder and President Petersen contributed 27 days of volunteer service on international assignment for Winrock’s U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Farmer-to-Farmer Program in Terai, the southern lowland area of Nepal. Dorene worked with the Forest Environment Workers Union Nepal to train farmers and forest workers—most of them women—to improve their methods of essential oil processing and quality by focusing on teaching certified organic and sustainable practices so they could strategically market essential oils internationally. Without sufficient water resources nearby these women carry heavy containers of water to the fields for irrigation. In 2018, ACHS funded a well for the women-owned Laxmi Leasehold, resulting in a hand dug 95 foot well (pictured below). In 2019, ACHS partnered with Lebermuth Company to fund a pump to mechanize pumping water from the well.
Read more about this on-going project online here.
What does it mean to ACHS staff and faculty to work for a Certified B Corp?
The ACHS Team
“It means everything to me! I am proud to know that ACHS commits to the greater good of our global impact concerning sustainability, forward-thinking, taking responsibility, creating awareness, and being mindful of our daily decisions even when they do not involve work. We represent something bigger than ourselves, and our actions are held accountable.” – Lisa Warman, Professor
“It means working for a company that cares about the big picture.” – Melissa Trujillo, Student Advisor
“Being part of a Certified B Corp makes me feel even better about the work we’re doing. We have a formal commitment that prioritizes people and the planet over profit, which has always been core to our mission. I feel proud to be part of a larger business community that is committed to many of the same things we are and working alongside us to make our planet a better place! We often get inspiration from the work of other B Corps and love hearing how we’ve inspired others!” – Tracey Abell, Chief Operating Officer
“Proud to be part of a college that is doing good for our students, graduates, customers and the great local community.” – Tanja Kaneshiro, Executive Assistant
“I think it’s great that ACHS is a certified B Corp and proud that we take responsibility to maintain and build a sustainable business and economy. It helps lead and hold us accountable for our choices and actions.” – Amanda Sparks, Business Office Coordinator
“The fact that ACHS is passionate about the B Corp mission fills me with awe and appreciation. I’m sure that I’d love teaching at ACHS anyway, but the fact that I can contribute to the ACHS social and environmental missions means so much to me!” – Jacqui McGrath, Professor
“A commitment to environmental and societal responsibility and high ethical standards; Caring about our communities, not just profits.” – Amanda Lattin, Professor
Now it’s your turn: How do you live sustainable values in your own life? Let us know in the comments; we would love to hear from you!
About American College of Healthcare Sciences
Founded in 1978, ACHS.edu is a Portland, Ore.-based, accredited college offering online, on-campus, and study abroad integrative health education. With undergraduate and graduate degrees, diplomas, certificates, and continuing education units in integrative health, ACHS makes holistic health and wellness education accessible to a diverse community, including healthcare professionals, military students, stay-at-home parents, and lifelong learners. Specializations include aromatherapy, herbal medicine, holistic nutrition, wellness coaching, and integrative health modalities. ACHS is a Certified B Corporation® and was named three of 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon 2019 by Oregon Business magazine. ACHS is also accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), which is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a recognized accrediting agency and recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). In response to our commitment to service members, veterans and military spouses, ACHS has been designated as one of the top 15% of military-friendly institutions in the U.S. for nine years in a row. For more information visit achs.edu.