Azavea (formerly Avencia) Becomes a Certified B Corporation

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Philadelphia-based GIS software development and geospatial analysis firm announces that they have been certified as a B Corporation, reaffirming their commitment to promoting the emergence of more dynamic, vibrant, and sustainable communities while benefiting its partners and employees.

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status emphasizes the triple bottom line of social responsibility, sustainability and profitability (people, planet, profit). At Azavea, many of our business decisions stem from these three principles

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Azavea (formerly Avencia) and B Lab announced today that Azavea was certified as a B Corporation , joining over 280 other leading companies who are setting a new corporate standard for social and environmental performance. B Corporations are a new type of for-profit companies that use the power of businesses operating in a market-based economy to solve social and ecosystem problems, while committing to creating benefit for all stakeholders, not just shareholders. To become certified, B Corporations must meet comprehensive and transparent social and environmental performance standards, and amend their corporate by-laws to incorporate the interests of employees, community, and the environment. They also agree to undergo an audit of their business practices once every 5 years.

"We feel honored to have qualified as a certified B Corporation. While terms such as 'Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)', 'conscious capitalism' and ’sustainable development' are increasingly being used for marketing purposes, it all boils down to the choices we make as businesses and the values we not only claim to believe in, but that we actually apply in our day-to-day operations. The "B Corporation" status emphasizes the triple bottom line of social responsibility, sustainability and profitability (people, planet, profit). At Azavea, many of our business decisions stem from these three principles," says Robert Cheetham, President and CEO of Azavea.

Azavea was founded (as Avencia) in 2000 by Robert Cheetham to build innovative location-based web and mobile solutions and perform spatial analyses for clients committed to making positive and enduring impacts in the communities they serve. Azavea has worked with numerous non-profit, academic and government clients to answer complex geospatial questions in a wide variety of domains including natural resource planning, neighborhood revitalization, economic development, crime analysis, real estate property analysis, redistricting, political advocacy, and cultural resources.

Its 10% personal research and pro bono programs have enabled staff members to spend some time working on projects that are not focused on the immediate needs of a particular client, while at the same time enabling the company to expand its skill sets and broaden its business opportunities in areas and domains not explored before. These programs have been at the source of projects such as Walkshed (to calculate and map walkability), BusMinder (a real-time bus notification application), a white paper on Gerrymandering, geographic service maps for MANNA (which provides freshly cooked, home-delivered meals for people living with HIV/AIDS), and the Haitian Earthquake Registry, to name a few.

The same service-oriented attitude extends to Azavea’s commitment to redistributing 2% of its annual profits to charitable organizations selected by staff through the company’s “Time to Give Back” program.

Since its inception, the company has garnered recognition from peers and in the press. It received such awards as the ESRI Business Partner of the Year and ESRI Foundation Partner of the Year awards in 2006 and 2007 respectively as well as a Special Achievement in GIS (geographic information systems) award. In 2009, the firm was ranked in the Inc. 500|5000 and the Inner City 100 lists of the fastest-growing companies nationwide, as well as in the Philadelphia 100 list of the fastest-growing companies in the Philadelphia region. Azavea is also a proud member of the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia.

About B Lab
B Lab is a nonprofit organization dedicated to using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. B Lab drives systemic change through three interrelated initiatives: 1) building a community of Certified B Corporations to make it easier for all of us to tell the difference between “good companies” and just good marketing; 2) accelerating the growth of the impact investing asset class through use of B Lab’s GIIRS impact rating system by institutional investors; and 3) promoting supportive public policies, including creation of a new corporate form and tax, procurement, and investment incentives for sustainable business. Certified B Corporations 1) meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance; 2) legally expand their corporate responsibilities to include consideration of stakeholder interests; and 3) build collective voice through the power of the unifying B Corporation brand. As of February 2010, there are over 280 certified B Corporations from over 50 industries, representing a diverse multi-billion marketplace. For more information please visit: http://www.bcorporation.net.

About Azavea (formerly Avencia)
Azavea is an award-winning geospatial analysis (GIS) software development firm specializing in the creation of location-based web and mobile solutions, as well as geospatial analysis services to enhance decision-making processes. Azavea is committed to working on projects with a strong social value component in order to promote the emergence of more dynamic, vibrant, and sustainable communities. Each of Azavea’s projects, products and pro bono engagements showcases this commitment. Azavea is a certified B Corporation. For more information, visit http://www.azavea.com

If you would like more information about Azavea or to schedule an interview with Robert Cheetham, Azavea CEO and President, please contact Abby Fretz at (215) 701-7503 or e-mail afretz(at)azavea(dot)com

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