For many years, surveys have proven that consumers are willing to pay more for products and services from companies that are socially and environmentally responsible. While “sustainability” has been something of a buzzword, it is not strong enough to represent doing something good for people and the planet. Truly implementing sustainability initiatives can differentiate one resort or business in a sea of sameness and create a measurable positive impact on social and environmental impact causes.
Founded in 2011, Orlando, Florida-based Legacy Vacation Resorts (LVR) operates eight vacation ownership properties in Florida, Colorado, New Jersey, and Nevada. As Chairman of Legacy Vacation Resorts and 20-year timeshare veteran, Jared Meyers desired a way to utilize the power of business as a force for good while simultaneously providing great vacations for his guests. He began researching opportunities in which he could utilize his resources and abilities to accomplish this ambitious goal.
During this process, he learned that the most credible businesses directing the prosperity of their businesses towards the greater good were Certified B Corporations® or Certified B Corps. Certified B Corporations are a special type of business that balances purpose and profit, using business as a force for good. Inspired by his findings, he immediately set out on a journey to transform his company into a B Corp, implementing a variety of changes to the LVR business model to secure certification while creating a movement to help other hospitality and travel businesses to do the same.
Shared Meyers, “Certified B Corps impressed me because of their holistic view of their businesses, the rigorous verification of business practices, and how their values aligned with mine.”
Administered by the non-profit, B Lab®, Certified B Corporations are businesses that voluntarily meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose through third-party review.
They go far beyond simple eco-friendly initiatives and analyze all aspects of their business, from workers to supply chain and community, while benefiting the planet.
Currently, there are only about 65 tourism related B Corps – a small number of more than 3,600 worldwide. LVR is the only such certified resort hospitality company in Florida and the sole multi-state hospitality company and vacation ownership company in the country that offsets the carbon footprint of guests, offers to donate 5% of guest’s reservation to a charity of their choice, and donates 1% of total revenue to environmental charities as part of its 1% For the Planet commitment.
The B Corp certification means they are legally committed to a material positive impact across different stakeholder groups. To secure the designation, Certified B Corps must achieve a minimum verified score on the B Impact Assessment, a rigorous appraisal of a company’s impact on its workers, customers, community, and environment.
The certification was the result of a year-long process to align every aspect of the company with B Lab’s requirements. In that time, they introduced multiple efforts towards a more sustainable business model, including carbon footprint offsetting, waste reduction and enhanced recycling efforts, sustainable lifestyle awareness campaigns, green-focused renovation projects, and a living wage initiative for employees in its eight locations.
“I believe that society’s most challenging problems cannot be solved by government and nonprofits alone,” added Meyers. “As part of the B Corp community, my business can help work toward reduced inequality, lower levels of poverty, a healthier environment, stronger communities, and the creation of more high-quality jobs with dignity and purpose.”
Today, LVR offers multiple efforts towards a more sustainable model for timeshare owners and renters, including:
- Optional environmentally fee upon check-in – 100% pass-through for carbon offsets
- Social and Environmental education for guests and team members
- Free reusable water bottle at check-in for renters & a significant owner discount to purchase- designed to eliminate all single-use plastic
- Filtered water stations across all properties
- Waste reduction and enhanced recycling efforts
- Complimentary electric vehicle chargers
- Soap & Shampoo Dispensers instead of single-use bottles
- Bamboo and/or Recycled Paper Room Keys
- Green cleaning products
- Carbon Labeling of Resort Stays
The company also provides paid time off for volunteerism activities, scholarship opportunities, and an incredible Income Advance and Savings program to help with financial emergencies and help build credit and personal savings.
Hoping to inspire other organizations to follow a similar path, Meyers co-founded Florida for Good movement, which funds free resources to facilitate the spread of business for good and Certified B Corps. Since its inception, LVR has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the group’s charitable endeavors, with Meyers also dedicating a significant amount of his personal time and income to its growth. Meyers and his company are also looking towards the future with the recent creation of B Tourism, a global network of B Corp certified and conscious travel organizations that take collective action for environmental and social justice. The network will make it easier than ever for consumers seeking conscious travel options as they plan vacations that align with their values.
Ever seeking to evolve, LVR launched an exciting rebrand of the company in December 2020 to call attention to all of their work behind the scenes. The refreshed visual appearance of the brand brings their passion for crafting a mindful travel experience center stage.
Marge Lennon has been writing about the timeshare industry since forever. She welcomes ideas for future Resort Trades stories. Contact her at Marge@LennnonCommunications.com