April is a month where it begins to get a bit greener outside, but also a month where we’re reminded to be a bit “greener” ourselves. For decades, Earth Day has brought public awareness to the environment and how we can step up individually and as communities to preserve the only planet we’ve got.
HQ Raleigh of course celebrates moments of awareness like this that can be a catalyst for improving life for every living thing. We also do our best though to put our money where our mouth is all year long. If you aren’t aware of how the HQ community is working every day to be a positive force locally and globally, just read on!
Diversity and inclusion
As a “B corp,” a big part of our focus deals with how to benefit the people of our community — all of them. This means we are working on finding ways to include more people of color, more sexual minorities, more women and more people from every other underrepresented group wherever we operate.
The new property being developed right now at Gateway Plaza has so much potential in that regard. By having a space in a historically underserved African-American neighborhood, we can build more partnerships and encourage more entrepreneurs from this community.
“Our new Gateway space is meant to be a gateway to success for people who are entrepreneurs but have not really be afforded the services that they need,” said Stephanie Hallinan, our community coordinator. “The space we picked on Capital Boulevard breaks from the typical downtown locations that we and other coworking spaces have gathered in. There are all different kinds of entrepreneurs, and the area we’re going into has people who often have two-to-three jobs and may operate their businesses on the side.”
Providing resources to this community will require meeting different needs than for the downtown locations. Many near Gateway rely on public transportation, and it’s important for us to know this as we plan how best to serve them. They often work other jobs during the day, so it was important to offer night and weekend access with well-lit, safe parking lots.
Members of HQ using the Gateway location will have a professional space to have client meetings, allowing them to avoid having to meet at libraries or coffee shops as they build their business. There will be discounted drop-in child care right on site, allowing working parents to meet this crucial need conveniently and affordably. We will also provide networking events for local businesspeople to meet and for the opportunity for investors to mingle with entrepreneurs who need capital but haven’t historically been given access.
Lean, green startup machine
As Stephanie beautifully put it, “B-corp measures how you affect people, how you affect environment, and how your entire model affects your community.”
The reason HQ Raleigh was able to pass our recent independent audit and our random audit to maintain our B corp certification is that we live these values. When it comes to our efforts in the environmental area, we are always evaluating and adjusting our operations based on new research and feedback — much of it from you in the community!
For us, minding our environmental impact is largely about looking at how our facilities are run and where we are sourcing the goods and services we use every day. This year we are going from two facilities to four, so there is more opportunity to flex our muscles in this area.
“It’s trying to champion your purchasing power as your vote for values that you want. So if you want companies to do the right thing, support them when they do something you want to be the industry standard,” Stephanie said.
HQ buys LED bulbs; we use energy as efficiently as possible; we think carefully about where we’re sourcing beer, coffee and printer paper; and we even have started using “paper-free” towels in the bathrooms. These towels are made from faster-growing plants like bamboo and sugarcane, which saves trees, and nobody has really noticed, so it doesn’t seem like there is any reduction in quality.
It’s important for us to be a community dedicated to making these kinds of small choices for the good of people and the planet. We also hope that our efforts in these areas get the businesses and individuals operating from HQ to think about how they can be more inclusive, live more sustainably and to think of the impact of their daily decisions.