Pete Krull To Speak at 2nd Annual Bonfire Conference

We’re excited to announce that Earth Equity’s Peter Krull will be speaking at the 2nd annual Bonfire Conference!

The Bonfire Conference, a 1-day weekend event dedicated to business success through storytelling, is coming to Asheville October 27th. The conference features three keynote speakers and a highly curated panel of four local community leaders to facilitate workshops on tools and strategies for using storytelling to increase engagement.

“Stories connect us in a way that numbers and charts simply can’t. We are a group of individuals who have experience in theatre, performance and business. We have seen the power of bringing the magic of storytelling to our organizations and businesses. We want to share that skill set with others,” says Murphy Funkhouser-Capps, one of Bonfire’s organizers and co-founders. She is the CEO of Kudzu Brands and founded the conference in 2016.

“Stories connect us in a way that numbers and charts simply can’t.

— Murphy Funkhouser-Capps

Storytelling as business strategy is garnering significant attention as a marketing trend. Research indicates that 78% of marketing directors think storytelling and content is the future of marketing. The Bonfire Conference offers storytelling skills for business leaders interested in staying on the cutting edge of brand strategy. By building their own storytelling skills in October, business leaders will have the opportunity to integrate storytelling as a strategy across marketing platforms in 2018.

Pete Krull, along with Asheville community leaders Matt Raker, Cortina Janelle, and Loretta Shelton, will speak at a special guest panel during the conference. 

The conference aims to address common problems business leaders may not realize are related to business storytelling, including:

●     Lack of connection with intended audience

●     A slump in sales

●     Poor engagement from clients, donors or employees

●     A struggle to achieve consistency in brand messaging

●     A struggle to effectively tell a brand’s story in a way that inspires, engages and moves others to action

The Bonfire Conference is geared toward local Asheville and regional business owners, regional CEO’s, sales managers, and marketing directors.


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

The Bonfire Conference will be held on Friday, October 27 from 9am-5pm at the Goodwill Corporate Training Center. Individuals and corporate groups can purchase tickets for Bonfire Conference through Eventbrite.

Early bird tickets are available until September 30, at a discounted price of $167.

After September 30, tickets will be $197.

Reversing Global Warming: A Conversation with Katharine Wilkinson and John Sutter

We’re gearing up for our 4th annual Lecture Series, and we couldn’t be more excited about our guests this year.

You’re invited to join us for a special evening at The Collider in downtown Asheville with acclaimed author Katharine Wilkinson and CNN columnist John D. Sutter as we discuss climate change, challenging assumptions and taking action through established solutions and new ideas.

This one-time event will include a panel talk by our guests, moderated by Earth Equity Advisors’ CEO Peter Krull, and followed by a Q&A session. Light refreshments will be served.

Katharine Wilkinson

Katharine Wilkinson

Katharine Wilkinson is the senior writer of the bestselling book, Drawdown, edited by Paul Hawken. She is also the author of Between God and Green. Her background melds research, strategy, and thought leadership on climate action. Katharine holds a D.Phil. in Geography & Environment from Oxford University and a B.A. in Religion from Sewanee.

 John Sutter

John D. Sutter is a senior writer and columnist for CNN. He is the creator of the network’s “2 Degrees” project, which aims to involve readers in climate change coverage. He has received the Livingston Award and the Batten Medal for public service. His work has also been honored by Online News Association, Foreign Press Association, Investigative Reporters and Editors, among others.

This is a free event. Seating is limited.

When: Doors open at 5:30 pm, with light refreshments available, and the talk starts at 6:00 pm.

Where: The Collider, 1 Haywood St Asheville NC 28801

Who: Katharine Wilkinson and John Sutter, brought to you by Earth Equity Advisors

Special thanks to our sponsors:

The Collider

Ray C. Anderson Foundation

Blue Ridge Public Radio & WCQS

JB Media Group

Big Path Capital

Clement Law Firm

Mountain Bizworks

Green Sage Cafe

Earth Equity Advisors Wins Two 2017 B Corp “Best For The World” Awards

Evaluated by Comprehensive B Impact Assessment

Today, Earth Equity Advisors was recognized for making the most positive improvement on its overall impact based on an independent, comprehensive assessment administered by the nonprofit B Lab. Honorees are featured on B the Change, the digital Medium publication produced by B Lab, at http://www.bthechange.com.

Earth Equity Advisors is honored in the Best for the World: Changemakers list as well as Best For The World: Customers list, which honors positive impact and behavior change among Certified B Corporations across all categories on the B Impact Assessment.

Additional 2017 Best for the World: Changemakers honorees include: Traditional Medicinals and Beneficial State Bank.

We are thrilled to also be awarded in the Best for Customers category, which includes businesses that earned a Customer score in the top 10 percent of more than 2,100 Certified B Corporations on the B Impact Assessment.

The Customer portion of the B Impact Assessment measures the impact a company has on its customers by focusing on whether a company sells products or services that promote public benefit and if those products/services are targeted toward serving underserved populations. The section also measures whether a company’s product or service is designed to solve a social or environmental issue (improving health, preserving environment, creating economic opportunity for individuals or communities, promoting the arts/sciences, or increasing the flow of capital to purpose-driven enterprises). Honorees scoring in the top 10 percent set a gold standard for the high impact that business as a force for good can make on consumers around the world.

Additional 2017 Best for Customers honorees include: AltSchool; Revolution Foods; and Warby Parker.

How B Corp Certification Works

To certify as B Corporations, companies like Earth Equity must complete the full assessment and have their answers verified by B Lab and re-certify every two years. The Best for the World: Changemakers list honors the improvement made by B Corporations from one certification to the next.

The full B Impact Assessment evaluates a company’s environmental performance, employee relationships, diversity, involvement in the local community, the impact a company’s product or service has on those it serves, and more. Honorees making significant improvements in their B Impact score set a gold standard for the high impact that business as a force for good can make in the world.

B Lab simultaneously released separate lists recognizing B Corporations as Best for the Environment, Best for Customers, Best for the Long Term, Best for Community, Best for Workers and Best for the World Overall, which can be at http://www.bthechange.com.

“Companies like Earth Equity Advisors exemplify what it means for a business to be a good citizen,” says Jay Coen Gilbert, co-founder of B Lab. “We’re proud to recognize their achievement. Best for the World is the only list of businesses making the greatest positive impact that uses comprehensive, comparable, third-party-validated data about a company’s social and environmental performance.”

A total of 846 Certified B Corporations were named 2017 Best for the World Honorees, including: Patagonia; Seventh Generation; National Co+op Grocers; and Business Development Bank of Canada. Forty-eight countries are represented, including Afghanistan, Kenya, Nicaragua and Turkey. The selection criteria for Best for the World honorees are available at http://bit.ly/29ZYRSp.

Today there are more than 2,100 Certified B Corporations across more than 130 industries and 50 countries, unified by one common goal: to redefine success in business. Any company can measure and manage social and environmental performance at http://bimpactassessment.net.

The Long and Short of Socially Responsible Investing

With the rise of companies engaging in socially and environmentally responsible business practices—fair trade partnerships, living wages for all workers, utilizing sustainable manufacturing and harvesting practices to name a few—debates have risen about what impact our investing strategies have. Is it just as good to invest in a company that donates a little bit of profit to charities every year as it is to choose a company intent on growing their triple bottom line? (Triple bottom line companies focus on financial, environmental, and social outcomes.) Are there short or long-term benefits to one over the other?

Let’s look at two supermarket chains as an example. Ingles Markets provides $1000 scholarships to high school graduates who are employees or children of employees at any of their stores. This can be called an investment in the next generation, ensuring a means to a college education for young people who may not otherwise have the assets for tuition and housing. It fosters goodwill in every city where an Ingles Market is located, which prompts investment in the chain with investors knowing their money supports a company that’s interested in the future. But is awarding scholarships, or donating a portion of profits to local or national charities, the best the chain can do?

In the short-term, such investment in a company like Ingles Markets has a positive impact, but some argue it isn’t enough. In contrast, the Whole Foods Market chain strives to forge partnerships with suppliers in poor third world countries to facilitate fair trade and sustainable farming practices while bringing nutritious foods to underserved portions of the US. This is more than a profit making decision. It’s a boost to the company’s core values by widening their influence for the benefit of populations who need the most help. While it sometimes does make the products in Whole Foods Markets more expensive for the consumer, the chain’s success over the last decade proves sustainable practices that grow a company’s triple bottom line are attractive to consumers and investors alike.

“This is more than a profit making decision. It’s a boost to the company’s core values by widening their influence for the benefit of populations who need the most help. ”

The winds of change have driven many companies to behave in a more responsible manner, not just for their financial growth, but also for the benefit of the environment and society as a whole. Investment in socially and environmentally responsible companies is on the rise, currently a $20 trillion dollar industry. Studies have shown companies that cared about social and environmental responsibility had better operational efficiency, lower cost of capital, and better stock price performance.

Can a company that doles out scholarships or charitable donations compete with companies that reach farther and wider in their fair trade, sustainable, and environmentally conscious efforts?

Investing in companies that understand the value of giving to the communities in which they do business is not a bad choice if you’re looking for short-term impact. But for how long will that strategy remain competitive? As the emphasis on the worldwide impact of business rises, triple-bottom-line companies can convince investors they’re in it for the long haul, and not just for the next generation, but the ones that follow.


Interested in responsible investing for the long term? We can help. Contact us for a complimentary consultation.

How College Students Can Build Money Skills

Generic advice for college students to make wise financial decisions and stay out of debt can be challenging since there is no “one size fits all” solution.  Each college student comes from a different financial situation, whether they are putting themselves through school while working, or whether they are receiving financial assistance or support from family.  With that in mind, some broad advice we like to give college students is to use the acronym HIVE:

 H – Have fun! 

This may sound like odd financial advice, but enjoy your time in college.  College is expensive and you should feel passionate about what you are studying and you should also take the opportunity to connect with new people- even volunteering some time or (if your budget allows) donating a few dollars to support a charity or cause that resonates with you.

I—Intentional money management

Create a budget with less than 10 categories and use apps to keep it in check (there are several free budgeting apps like Mint.com).  Linking your debit card means you will always know where your money is going (cash can sometimes be invisible in a system like this).

V—Values based buying

Try to find creative ways to reuse, recycle, repurpose.  It will be great for your budget!  When it is necessary to buy new, find companies that match your values.  Review options of Benefit Corporations (“B Corps”) for products and services.

E—Empowerment through understanding debt

If you need student loans, try to keep them to a minimum and make sure you understand the long-term ramification of the amount of debt you take on.  Also, be aware that credit cards can be money traps.  Although they can be helpful in building up your personal credit score, try to only use them when you know you can pay off the balance monthly.  This can prepare you for independence and help set you up for success after college.  Look for local nonprofits that offer free or low-cost classes on understanding credit and money management.  Financial independence is the most empowering force to allow choices in life.  Harness money to support self-reliance, dream fulfillment and flexibility—make money work FOR you instead of the other way around!

If your parents are working with a financial advisor, you may want to schedule a time to discuss financial questions specific to your situation.  By honing your money skills now, you can enjoy today AND build for the future.

5 Eco-Friendly Smartphone Apps That Are Worth Your Time

Many of us try to make more sustainable choices on a daily basis, but sorting out how to go about making the best choices can be complex. There are so many eco-friendly smartphone apps to choose from that consumers risk being even more overwhelmed as they wade into the world of apps aimed at making environmentally friendly choices more accessible.

With the right technology on your side, you can streamline your efforts to live a more sustainable life. Our team picked five practical eco-friendly apps that meet the complex needs of consumers by making sustainable processes more streamlined and easy to understand.

For Product Evaluation, Go To GoodGuide

GoodGuide assists consumers in finding ethical, environmentally-friendly and ethical products. The company provides science-based ratings of personal care, household and food products. GoodGuide has rated over 75,000 products, and has teamed up with Target to provide ratings for many of the products sold in their stores. It’s important to note that GoodGuide provides independent, third-party ratings.

GoodGuide independently evaluates ingredients and delivers a detailed product rating based on criteria the user can personalize. Users can select the issues they find most important- organic or fair-trade certifications, for example- and evaluate products based on that criteria.

To learn more, visit GoodGuide online.

Leafully Helps You Understand Energy Usage

Do you want to understand your own energy usage, but have trouble knowing where to begin? You’re in the same boat as most consumers! Leafully is one of our favorite apps for those concerned with their eco-footprint and reducing carbon emissions.

Leafully is all about helping people understand energy usage. This app takes complex data about your energy usage and simplifies it into the understandable structure of a tree. Rather than just focusing on electricity usage, this app tries to offer the user a “total tree footprint,” or the amount of trees needed to offset the pollution created by your energy consumption.

The app uses consumers’ connection to social media to create environmental change. From their website: “Given this knowledge of the global impact of their behavior, people will start making habit changes. Our goal is to encourage them through connecting them with their friends. Through Facebook, people are rewarded by their peers for being a good global citizen by allow them to work together on key tasks.”

You Don’t Always Know Whether You Can Recycle That. IRecycle Does!

One of the reasons to download sustainability app is to make eco-friendly processes more habitual and easy to understand, so that people are actually able to integrate behaviors that reduce their carbon footprint.

IRecycle is a tool to help users understand what to recycle, how to recycle it, and what community resources exist for recycling items that you may not be able to toss in the bin.

Keep in mind that being a “bad” recycler can actually create a lot of unnecessary work and emissions. IRecycle can help you stay on top of your recycling game by connecting you with more than 150,000 ways to recycle products and materials ranging from glass to hazardous waste.

Carma Carpooling

Carma is a great option for reducing the environmental impact of your commute while saving money on tolls for opting for a high-occupancy commuting option. The app locates nearby commuters with a space in their vehicle using bluetooth, and then connects you to ride together.

When the vehicle passes through a toll plaza with two or more occupants, you receive discounts. Carma works with local governments to encourage high-occupancy commuting around the world, so if the service isn’t yet available in your area, you can ask them to set it up!

Waze: Get The Best Route Through Community

If you don’t know about Waze, you definitely should! The app evaluates your route for traffic, and automatically calculates routes that will help you save time and avoid wasting energy idling in a traffic jam.

The app works through peer-to-peer information sharing, so you get quick, real-time updates on the traffic conditions in your community. When everyone on the app works together, everyone saves gas, time and money.


Have you found an eco-friendly app that helps make your life more sustainable? Let us know your favorites!