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Consumers trumping shareholders: MaineWorks part of global trend

More and more companies, big and small, are choosing to prioritize a mission instead of profit margins.

PORTLAND, Maine — Big companies like Patagonia, the outdoor clothing retailer, Seventh Generation, known for its cleaning products, and TOMS footwear all have one thing in common. They are what's called B Corps Certified.

That means they are for-profit businesses using their force for good. It's part of a new movement of corporations, big and small, that are choosing to focus on society and consumers over shareholders.

There are several Maine companies among the 3,000 B Corps corporations worldwide. And for the 4th year in a row, MaineWorks is getting top honors for redefining what success means for businesses.

"I thought there would be no end."

Struggling with heroin addiction, Peter King, thought death was his only option.

"I just thought I was going to end up dying," he said.

"I lost a lot, I haven't lost everything completely but it's taken a toll definitely," said Jonathan Arellano.

Arellano is recovering from alcoholism. 

"There was no money, 'here's your last paycheck and a ride to Portland.' Somehow I figured it out from there," said Cecil Solaguren.

Like King and Arellano, Solaguren figured out how to get his life back on track. They all found that life-saving help, at MaineWorks.

"These people don't have time," said MaineWorks founder, Margo Walsh.

Walsh said she created the company from her kitchen table more than eight years ago. She wanted to help people out of jail, in recovery, or down on their luck get their life back.

"They cannot afford to not be in a money-making outcome immediately," she said.

MaineWorks connects its employees with local construction jobs. Jobs with a steady paycheck to break the cycle of homelessness and addiction.

MaineWorks' mission, earning it B Corps Certification by the non-profit B Lab which ensures a business has narrowed its focus on purpose over profit. And for the 4th year in a row, MaineWorks has been recognized as "Best for the World."

"The first B Corps was Patagonia and I really respect their ethos of putting the planet first," said Walsh.

From saving the planet to saving everyday people.

"I couldn't even see tomorrow back then," said Solaguren. "That's what's so great about this."

MaineWorks is joining a global movement in balancing missions and margins.

"It's helped me out a lot," said King. "It's nice going to work every day and not have to think about everything."

Fill out this form to start Monday: https://forms.gle/AhjiPJFp6xodnHhS8

Other Maine companies that are B Corps Certified are Coffee By Design and Revision Energy. Many businesses have noticed that social responsibility is good for the bottom line, the more emphasis they put on their communities, the better.


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