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Yelp wants to connect customers with eco-friendly businesses.

By Commerce

Yelp users in search of eco-friendly businesses will have an easier time finding them, thanks to the platform’s new sustainability attributes.

The searchable features launched April 13, connecting customers with, for example, businesses that prioritize “plastic-free packaging” or have “compostable containers,” according to the review website.

The new eco-friendly attributes also flag businesses that “provide reusable tablewear,” allow customers to “bring your own container” or have an “EV (electric vehicle) charging station available.” Yelp teamed up with the California-based Plastic Pollution Coalition to bring the changes to the platform.

The searchable options arrived just in time for Earth Day, which is celebrated globally each year on April 22.

“The new Yelp sustainability attributes will allow people to more easily find eateries, bars, and cafes that are plastic free and support our values of thriving communities and a healthy, livable planet,” Dianna Cohen, co-founder and CEO of Plastic Pollution Coalition, said in a statement. “We’re grateful Yelp is using its platform in this way and we’re excited the new attributes will help more sustainable businesses stand out for their green practices.”

Users can find the new additions on Yelp business pages under the “Amenities and more” section, or highlighted in Yelp search results, the company said.

Business owners can add the attributes to their page by updating the “Business Information” area of their profile.

Yelp has launched similar attributes in the past, including one for Black-owned businesses that help consumers find and patronize Black-owned bars, restaurants and stores.

Florida For Good Announces Ownership Interest with Ethical Online Shopping Platform, DoneGood

By Commerce

Florida For Good is excited to announce a new partnership with fellow B Corp and 1% for the Planet member, DoneGood, an online retailer. Previously referred to as the ‘Amazon of Social Good’ by Forbes, DoneGood’s platform is focused on making it quick, easy and affordable for consumers to discover brands that make the world better for all. Their online marketplace allows their 100,000 users to shop hundreds of mission-driven brands all in one place, utilizing their purchasing power for good.

Americans give $400 Billion to charity each year yet spend $130 trillion buying everyday items. Redirecting even a small percentage of this spending to ethical and conscious brands would make a huge impact. According to DoneGood’s research, the market for ethical and sustainable goods is large and growing rapidly. Annual online spending on ethical and sustainable products in the U.S is $27.5 B, a 10% year over year increase. What’s more, it was found that 73% of millennials will pay more for sustainably-made goods, further showcasing a fundamental shift in consumer behavior.

The investment made by Florida For Good was to support the work and vision of the DoneGood team along with their leader, CEO Cullen Schwarz. Florida For Good’s ultimate mission is to facilitate a societal shift to a world where there is a more shared and lasting prosperity. Aligning purchasing decisions with values will only accelerate that shift and by nurturing the success of DoneGood and other conscious businesses, we will move ever closer to reducing poverty, protecting the environment, restoring community, and improving the world. Author and educator Anna Lappe once said, “Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” This measure of thinking has also been adopted by the B Corporation community, a major component of the Florida For Good platform, as evident through their #VoteEveryday campaign targeted at educating consumers on the impact of their daily spending and the effect it can have on societal change.

“It takes time to have a conscious approach to your spending and shopping habits,” said Jared Meyers, founder of Florida For Good. “DoneGood has streamlined mindful shopping for consumers to use their purchasing power to influence the world.  Florida For Good aims to provide resources to companies and consumers to embrace an ethical and sustainable approach to business and everyday life. We know this partnership with DoneGood furthers that goal, and we are excited to watch their platform grow.”

Brewing a Better World

By Business, Commerce, Community, Environmental

Dan Bailey, owner of Amavida Coffee Roasters, grew up in the coffee-farming town of Yauco, Puerto Rico, and moved to Algeria in his early 20s to study engineering. He’s worked as an engineer and project manager for Raytheon, General Electric and Emerald Solutions. He started an independent consulting firm, reviewing and consulting for various Fortune 500 companies. But he’s always had a heart the farming communities he knew as a child in Puerto Rico.

It was during his time consulting businesses that Bailey did a thorough self-evaluation of his skills and, with the support of his wife, Sally Bailey, decided he wanted to work with coffee. Seeing the impact of unfair buying trends on small farming communities, Bailey knew he could make an impact. The Baileys began experimenting with home coffee roasting while living in Birmingham, Ala., and decided to move close to Seaside to take root and raise their daughter, Caroline, here.

They opened the first Amavida Coffee Roaster in 2004 in Freeport. In the years since, Amavida has opened four cafés spanning from Seaside to Panama City, and has a roasting facility in the South Walton Commerce Park which houses, roasts and distributes its magic coffee beans. Dan is CEO and manager, while Sally serves as board vice president and secretary, and wears other hats in the majority women-owned business. The company was named Roaster of the Year by Roast Magazine in 2018.

For the Baileys, the coffee business is not about the almighty dollar. It is about creating relationships, fostering love of life, and supporting happy and healthy relationships. The company’s mission is to improve the lives of small coffee farmers in impoverished communities. Each year, the Baileys visit the farms where they buy Amavida’s Organic and Fair Trade coffee beans to ensure the communities are properly cared for and that the profits from coffee sales are being distributed fairly.

Amavida is recognized as a Certified B Corp, a designation for companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab, an organization that serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good. B Corps must meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. Amavida is among these sustainable brands, and is Florida’s only certified B Corp in the coffee industry.

Amavida has been listed as one of 203 companies in the B Corp community that are recognized as 2018 Best For The World: Changemakers. This list celebrates the companies tackling the hard work to make measurable, positive impact improvement. Each of the more than 2,500 Certified B Corporations declares, upon certification, to be committed to continuous impact improvement.

Dan and some Amavida staffers attended the B Corp retreat in New Orleans recently as the coffee sponsor of the event. During the retreat sessions, the Amavida staff discussed with other B Corp companies how to do more to make a global impact for good.

While they Baileys strive to make a global impact for good, they support local young people who want to make a career with the company, knowing that the future of the industry relies on the younger staffers. The need to do good is also instilled in the company’s 40+ employees. Some who grew up in the area and attended Seaside Neighborhood School include Jennifer Pawlik, project manager; Martin Trejo, director of coffee; and Jacob Thompson, general manager.

Amavida is a recipient of Real Leaders 100 Top Impact Awards 2019, a magazine that recognizes positive impact companies. The awards rank the top companies applying capitalism for greater profit and greater good. The coffee roaster’s plan for future impact is having “healthy coffee farming communities supported by consumers that are educated and concerned about their choices. A belief in the B Corporation movement as a means to improve the way we conduct business – toward others and the environment, and educational institutions teaching a new way of doing business along these ideals.”

The list of 2019 Top Impact Companies celebrates businesses who continuously work to make measurable, positive impact improvement. “We can only affect positive change through connection and collaboration with our suppliers, customers, employees, and within our communities,” says Madison Daum, a student intern at Amavida. “We are so grateful for our local communities and our partnerships with organizations like Cooperative Coffees and On the Ground Global, who make working towards our mission and our ability to support sustainable communities possible. It is also with great dedication from the people on our team at Amavida Coffee Roasters and our coffee producers who are in the grind every day, working to be a force for good.”

Three of Amavida’s coffees earned bronze medals and one silver in the Golden Bean Awards, the world’s largest coffee roasters competition and conference. The silver medal recognizes Amavida’s espresso mandarina as the 14th best in the country.

After 11 years serving coffee on the beach side of town, Amavida has a new location at 25 Central Square, along with a new look and some new menu items. “It’s a big change from that 30-year-old temporary building that had a lot of charm, it was part of the Seaside experience,” Dan Bailey says. “But this also allows us to do more. Having seating is important for having space to gather. Hopefully our customers are going to receive it well, it appears so.”

Wall art from Anne Hunter Galleries, located next door, is featured in the coffee shop. Adding to its menu, Amavida offers beer on tap from local producers, a wine menu and some healthy foods. And while the coffee brand has a new appearance, the vision remains the same. “Since our beginnings in 2004 we’ve aimed to create global impact, improving the lives of coffee producers through our work at Amavida,” says Jennifer Pawlik, project manager. “The artwork that’s resulted from this rebrand is intended to more clearly express who we are, and who we are growing to become as an organization. We hope that the new logo and other elements (e.g. colors, font) will capture the character of our company, vibrancy of our culture, and quality of our offerings; while inspiring pursuit of our vision and mission — to be recognized as the leader in our industry by our customers, our employees, our community, and our suppliers and to be the best sustainable coffee and tea provider in our communities.”

Pawlik explains that the emblem is as a radiant symbol, signifying elements that bind people, as well as Amavida’s passion for coffee and love of life. “In a more general sense, triangles are symbols of creativity and change. Also represented is the sun, its rising and setting is a shared experience across the globe and is something our local beach communities are famous for. A mountain may also be seen and is intended to honor producer communities and the coffees origins, which are often found in mountainous regions at higher elevations. Another element of this design is the indigenous Aztec style of the artwork, which like our Latin name is inspired by some of our first-formed relationships at origin in Central America. Finally, you may see a pathway within the radiant symbol, which recognizes the journey we are on together and the roads we walk in solidarity.”

Find Amavida Coffee Roasters on the web at or amavida coffee on facebook.

How to launch a B-Corp that generates results

By Commerce, Community

Brian Hartz
Tampa Bay Editor

As the buying power of millennials and Generation Z increases, buzzwords like “conscious capitalism” and “triple bottom line” — people, planet, profits — have begun to shape business strategy for many companies.

Mindful of younger consumers’ desire to support brands that go the extra mile to do good deeds for society and not just make money, some companies have sought certification as B Corporations. The B Corp movement aims to create a global business community made of firms that equate profit with purpose. B Corporation certification is a private certification issued to for-profit companies by B Lab, a global nonprofit organization.

“The marketplace has shifted … the younger generations have a demand for this type of business.” Jared Meyers, founder of Salt Palm Development and Legacy Vacation Resorts

Nearly 2,700 companies — including household names such as Ben & Jerry’s and outdoor clothing maker Patagonia Inc. — spanning 150 industries and 60 countries have tweaked their business practices to conform to B Corp standards, which promote causes like carbon neutrality and a living wage for all workers.

Locally, Salt Palm Development and Legacy Vacation Club, both owned and operated by Jared Meyers, are joining the ranks of B Corporations. About four years ago, when he got into real estate development, “I started thinking about how I could use my business to make a positive impact on society,” Meyers says.

As he became more educated about the B Corp movement, Meyers realized it made sense from a purely business perspective. “It isn’t just a feel-good thing,” he says. “It causes your business to thrive, because the marketplace has shifted … the younger generations have a demand for this type of business.”

So how did he convert his companies to B Corporations and continue to succeed with them?

That sounds like a big self-inflicted wound, but Meyers sees it differently — and plans to exploit it as a marketing strategy.

“I very much believe that we will see revenue growth; we will see a new class of traveler that we don’t currently get at our properties — the traveler who cares about social responsibility and environmental responsibility. Others that we trust within the B Corp and conscious capitalism community have said this works.”

Salt Palm Development, which created the high-tech Sabal Smart Homes townhouse development in downtown St. Petersburg, is proof that B Corp status can pay off. At nearly $4 million in gross revenue, 2018 was the company’s best year to date, and Meyers says he already has sales on the books for 2019 that amount to 60% of last year’s total. B Corp status, he says, “comes up in sales conversations, and people say, ‘I love it; it’s great.’”

B Corp certification also requires payment of annual dues that can range from $500 to more than $50,000, depending on gross annual revenue and company structure. There’s also a recertification audit process that occurs every three years, and B Corporations are required to submit an annual report that’s available to the public.

“The more you are willing to divulge, the more it will help your score,” Meyers says. “And you’ll do better as a business because we’re in a world today where people really want and expect more transparency. The Internet’s done a great job of that.”

Conscious Capitalism aims to expand in Tampa Bay

By Business, Commerce, Community

A national organization that promotes the idea that business must have a purpose beyond profit hopes to get a stronger foothold in the Tampa-St. Pete area.


“I think there’s a lot of momentum in Florida and in Tampa particularly right now,” Alexander McCobin, CEO of Conscious Capitalism Inc., told St. Pete Catalyst in an exclusive interview at Startup Week Tampa Bay on Wednesday. “That’s one of the reasons the Florida chapter is part of Startup Week — because we want to introduce this to more businesses, both those that are already having an influence and those that are going to have an influence in the future.”

McCobin was accompanied by Jared Meyers, chairman and owner of St. Petersburg-based Salt Palm Development, a real estate firm that has become a certified B Corp. That means the company has been certified by the nonprofit B Lab as voluntarily meeting higher standards of transparency, accountability and performance.

Salt Palm also is a member of the Florida chapter of Conscious Capitalism.

The national organization works with businesses to help them run on four tenets:

Higher purpose.  That means more than just maximizing profits and trying to achieve a greater ideal.

Taking care of all stakeholders. “Instead of thinking that if they are going to benefit one group, they need to take away from another – for instance, if they are going to help employees they must be harming customers or shareholders – getting them to a win-win-win mindset where you can benefit customers by benefitting your employees and shareholders and finding those interconnected opportunities,” McCobin said.

Conscious leadership, or leaders who focus on “we” rather than “me” and bring out the best in all around them.

Conscious culture, which involves creating environments where people are able to bring their full selves to work.

National retailers, including Whole Foods Market and The Container Store, are among the partners of Conscious Capitalism. So is Echo Park Automotive, a Dallas-based used car dealership.

“What is incredible about them is this is the used car field, where you typically don’t think about conscious business whatsoever,” McCobin said. “What they did is identified their purpose was to infuse happiness in all of their employees’ lives, and they focused on building out that culture, and in doing so, created a thriving business, growing from $40 million revenue in the mid 2000s to hundreds of millions of revenue in the last couple of years, which led to them merging with a larger company to share this with other used car dealerships around the country.”

A study of 28 public companies identified as the most socially conscious showed that 18 of them outperformed the S&P 500 index by a factor of 10.5 between 1996-2011, according to a 2013 report in the Harvard Business Review.

For Salt Palm — which became a certified B Corp in March 2018 — it’s a little early to measure return on investment, Meyers said. But it’s had a personal impact on him, making him more excited about doing business.

“It’s made us a better community partner and brought more visibility to what we do,” Meyers said.

Salt Palm just completed the first phase of The Sabal, a development at 532 4th Ave. S., with four townhomes. A second phase with four more townhomes is under construction, with two of those already sold.

The company bought carbon offset credits, designed to reduce the environmental impact of the development, from for the first phase of the project and plans to do so for the second as well, Meyers said.

Salt Palm also has a standing commitment to put at least 50 percent of its profits back into the community. Last year, the company put 100 percent of its profits back, although Meyers added that doesn’t mean the company will do that every year, and he doesn’t expect other businesses to meet that benchmark.

“When buyers come in to look at our project and they hear our story, it has a feel-good element,” Meyers said. “Buyers know that the profits we generate go back to the community, and we are encouraging other businesses to adopt these business models.”

Mobile Greens Wellness is Launching in Central Florida

By Business, Commerce, Community, Environmental

Mobile Greens Wellness, a health food growing and delivery service, will soon be hitting the streets of Central Florida, bringing nutrient-packed microgreens to farmers markets, restaurants, schools and even neighborhoods all around Orlando. The eco-friendly trailer will also offer healthy smoothies and cold brew coffee.

Microgreens are one of the newest crazes in health, green living and fine dining. Seedlings from plants such as peas, kale, broccoli, amaranth, radishes and sunflowers are grown in trays and harvested when they are less than 14 days old. The entire plant can be eaten, and they can be added to smoothies, put in salads, or added to dishes for delicate texture and incredible flavor.

Experts say they are a superfood packed with essential vitamins and nutrients, even offering up to 40 times the nutrition of an adult plant.

With Mobile Greens Wellness, people can purchase their trays and pick them up at regular stops throughout the week around Central Florida.

“Mobile Greens Wellness turns people’s pantries into a living pantry,” said Sherri Eisenhuth, the company’s COO. “We not only want to help people get healthier, we’re on a mission to inspire and empower by promoting local food, water and energy production through our methods, products and education.”

The Mobile Greens “Superfood Wellness Wagon™” is powered by solar technology and equipped with atmospheric water generation and a water filtration system that will allow operators to use the purest water possible in all of its offerings.

“Sustainability doesn’t have to be hard. Delicious and nutritious food should be growing everywhere,” Eisenhuth said. “Our CEO, after planting over 4,000 fruit trees and edible landscapes in his time in Costa Rica, has realized how important and easy local food production can be. We have learned a lot.”

Customers can also purchase the equipment used on the truck for their own homes. Microgreen trays will be ordered in advance and will be available in half and full trays.

Mobile Greens Wellness’ “Superfood Wellness Wagon™” is a proof of concept, self-contained demonstration and education platform providing sustainable food, water and energy solutions.

Our “Superfood Wellness Wagon™” is made up of five essential ingredients that allow the production of the five quintessential specials that can be served at farmers markets, schools, businesses and anywhere the Superfood Wellness Wagon™ can park.

Utilizing its on-board state of the art technology including solar array panels, atmospheric water generation, and water filtrations systems, you can enjoy some of the freshest and healthiest fare available, reconsidering the way you eat and think about food. MGW’s initial offerings will include microgreen trays, smoothies, cold-brew coffee and salads.

Mobile Greens Wellness is as focused on nourishing the body as it is about educating the mind on the possibilities, opportunities and solutions that are readily available to change the current state of how we all see food, water and energy today. For more information, please visit

Brewing Love, Life & Latte – the Amavida Story

By Business, Commerce, Community, Environmental

The once small, independent coffee company roasting out of owners Dan & Sally Bailey’s home nearly 15 years ago, Amavida Coffee Roasters has not only grown beyond those humble beginnings and captured the attention and accolade from a national magazine, but the brand continues to grow and evolve.

Winners of Roast Magazine’s 2018 Roaster of the Year, Amavida is not new to the roasting game. The little local coffee company that could and would began in 2004 in Freeport, and the first Amavida cafe opened in Grayton Beach shortly after. Now, they are the proud operators of four local cafe locations.

Their specialty, organic and fair trade coffee and tea is offered in Whole Foods Market stores throughout the Florida region. There is even a 30A branded coffee sold online and in 30A stores.

Growth is something Amavida has adapted to well, moving their home office, roasting and distribution all to a new 10,000 square foot location in South Walton Commerce Park in 2018. Specialty coffee enthusiasts and the curious are invited to tour the facility and its gorgeous, made in the USA and energy efficient 35K Loring roaster.

The newly-designed logo and emblem combines indigenous aztec-style elements and marries their mindful and transparent business practices and mission, and even draws inspiration from our own beach community.

The dynamic radiant symbol illustrated, “signifies elements which bind us all, as well as our passion for coffee and love of life,” Amavida Coffee Roasters program manager, Jennifer Pawlik said. Customers will soon see the new vibrant colors and symbols on merchandise in the cafe spaces and on the website.

The updated branding highlights the essence of Amavida Coffee Roasters: community, sustainability, vibrancy, and integrity.

This is not the first rebrand for the company, so careful consideration was placed on exploring their identity while keeping true to the mission that has not wavered since their inception, to “maintain long-lasting relationships with better trading conditions that promote the sustainability of our customers, farmers, suppliers, employees and environment,” their website explains.

“Coffee, to me, means community. And the new branding is a conversation starter, we hope that it draws intrigue and inspires a deeper connection to the community and our high quality coffee,” Pawlik said.

To learn more about Amavida Coffee, visit their website or follow them on Facebook.

CAROLINE STEPHENSON is a contributing writer to 30A.

Shocker: Investors get purpose. They now want B Corps

By Business, Commerce

When I ask entrepreneurs about investors, they often go politely silent. Some go stone-faced. When pressed, they confess to a strained or love/hate relationship with the investment world.

Here’s what they say: “In theory we’re supposed to want the same thing—a strong company that grows in value over time. But in my experience all investors ever do is either insist on dividends now or ask for a really low valuation that takes advantage of us. And they balk whenever I invest in employees or R&D.”

This tension between theory and real life experience leads many businesspeople to forego trying to attract investors. This can deprive their companies of capital they can need for success and growth.

The tension is more acute for some entrepreneurs than others. For those who unapologetically define success as more than money—who, for example, take pride in creating livelihoods for people and don’t treat employees as “cost centres” to be contained—the narrow short-termism of many investors is to be repelled, not pursued.

Wall Street discovers B Corps

Get this: Long-term company success takes not just financial success, but “a contribution to society.” This is from the mouth of Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO of Blackrock, the world’s largest investment firm.

You read that right. A titan of Wall Street—a place hotly, obsessively interested in money, not society—is arguing that the purpose of a companyshould include things like inclusive, local prosperity, robust communities and a clean environment. What on earth is going on?

It appears investors have discovered B Corps. In a recent report titled Just Good Business: An Investor’s Guide to B Corps, the Yale Centre for Business and the Environment, in collaboration with usual sustainability suspect Patagonia and wealth advisory firm Caprock, explains the distinct financial value created by certified B Corps and Benefit Corporations.

Here’s a sample of what they say:

Through greater appreciation of the real motives that drive and excite people, B Corps provide significant opportunity for investors. I think they could make more profits than any other types of companies…

A simple formula

Does this mean that Wall St. and mainstream business schools have also adopted the purpose that fuels the B Corp entrepreneurs we know? No. Some, certainly. But even if they don’t give a toss about broader value, they’ve learned that the B Corp certification is a rigorous, comprehensive lens through which to evaluate a company.

Not in the Yale report but too good to overlook is a recent €2 billion loan that a syndicate of mainstream bankers gave to Danone, a century-old company and freshly-minted B Corp. What’s striking about the loan is its condition: a lower interest rate predicated on Danone maintaining its B Corp status.

In other words, large banks and other mainstream investors are slowly figuring a simple formula we BDCers have known for years.

B Corp = better managed = lower risk = safer investment

B Corp: the most interesting, necessary movement of entrepreneurial people in the world. Also a novel, robust lens with which to evaluate a company.

Disney promises to ban plastic straws, stirrers, cups and more

By Business, Commerce, Environmental

And what Disney does, little kids want to emulate! This could be big.

The latest corporation to jump on the plastic reduction bandwagon is none other than the Walt Disney Company. In a press release, the company has announced its intention to reduce the amount of plastic generated by its stores, parks, and cruise ships.

By mid-2019, all Disney-branded locations around the world will phase out plastic straws and stirrers, a move that is estimated to save 175 million straws and 13 million stirrers from being tossed every year.

On Disney cruise ships, “refillable in-room amenities” will be added to the guest rooms; the press release does not specify what exactly these are, but we’re imagining refillable shampoo, conditioner, and soap containers, perhaps reusable cups instead of water bottles, and cloth hand towels. Whatever these may be, the company says it will lead to an impressive 80 percent decrease in the amount of plastic waste in guest rooms.

Improving matters even further, Disney says it will “complete [its] work to eliminate polystyrene cups across our global owned and operated business.” That means disposable plastic cups, gone! And we’re big fans of that.

In the words of Dr. M. Sanjayan, CEO of Conservation International,

“Disney has always been inspired by nature – and it is a uniquely powerful brand that inspires, educates, and entertains, all at the same time. Today’s announcement is more than about reducing single-use plastic waste, it’s also about showing millions of kids and adults from around the world the many ways we can change our daily habits to care for the oceans and protect nature that sustains us all.”

I think this point is crucial. Disney does have a powerful influence on the youngest generation of humans, and is well-positioned to inspire and effect change in ways that perhaps other, more adult-oriented efforts cannot. Particularly if it pairs these plastic-reduction efforts with clear messaging that educates kids, it has great potential to spread awareness further afield.

Way to go, Disney!

Don’t Boycott Bad Companies, Spend More With Good Ones

By Activism, Business, Commerce

Just as in political elections, people would rather take action to make a statement.

Especially this past year, the idea of “voting with your wallet” has taken on a certain cache as consumers have looked to connect their spending habits with their larger ethical stance. The #GrabYourWallet movement, for instance, took President Trump’s lewd comments as a springboard to encourage consumers not to buy from more than 50 Trump-affiliated brands. And new financial tools, like the impact measurement score from the company Aspiration, help consumers to track the environmental and ethical implications of where they shop.

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