Students Help Keweenaw Mountain Lodge Become B Corp Certified

Keweenaw Mountain Lodge photo

Northern Michigan University students assisted the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge in achieving Certified B Corp status, which is based on using business as a powerful force for good and building credibility and trust with consumers.

The effort started in a 2021 NMU sustainable business class, when Keweenaw Mountain Lodge was a client of students Braden Golisek and Anna Watson. It continued with student Delaney Quinn as part of her 2022 Good for Michigan internship focused on U.P. projects. The lodge was notified in March that it earned the designation.  

“B Corp certification is a verified sustainability label,” said Jes Thompson, the course professor and assistant vice president of sustainability at NMU. “This certification means that the business publicly reports on environment, social and governance (ESG) factors and has made a commitment to ‘doing business for good'—prioritizing social progress alongside or sometimes above economic gains.”

In the course, students assist local business owners with the B Corp application process, which includes completing a 250-question B Impact assessment of the business' performance in five main areas: governance, workers, environment, community and customers.

“Anna Watson and I spent countless hours outside of class studying the business and what it offers, researching and determining potential implementation plans of various ways they could become B Corp certified, and working directly with the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge and the B Corp representative assigned to the case via Zoom on multiple occasions,” said Golisek, who now works in NMU's Sports Information Office.

Businesses must earn 80 points to be eligible for B Corp Certification and demonstrate a commitment with their stakeholder framework and risk disclosures. It can take businesses years to reach 80 points.

“Once certified, there is a three-year review that requires the business demonstrate progress beyond their original score, so there's not ‘coasting'”, said Thompson. “It is a continual commitment to improvement and sustainable growth.”

“It's special to see the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge achieve their goal, especially as I was one of the first few to start them on their journey,” said Golisek. “They say it takes a village, and in this case, it really did. It would've been easy after the class was done to just leave the project and move on to the next item, but the Good for Michigan Intern Delaney Quinn picked it up after we were done and continued the process.”

The NMU Foundation received funding from an anonymous donor to support Quinn's Good for Michigan internship focused on U.P. projects. Local business partners participating in the program can continue their sustainability journey with a sustainable business intern. They conduct sustainability-related research and assist the business owners/leadership with developing a societal impact or sustainability plan. 

Quinn worked with Keweenaw Mountain Lodge during the winter 2022 semester, assisting with its businesses plan to become a part of the Carbon Neutral Club and achieve a Dark Sky Park designation.

After several additional steps, Keweenaw Mountain Lodge received notification of its B Corp certification. For more information on the process, visit Keweenaw Mountain Lodge.

Prepared By

Bridgette Bowser
Student Writer

Categories: Around NMU, Strategic Plan