Contemporary business practices and organizations are increasingly adopting a new style of conducting business, where focus is being directed on other areas other than profit making (Faisal & Akhtar, 2011, p. 31). The traditional practice for most businesses has been to put full concentration and emphasis on profit as a measure of success.
This new trend is referred to as The Triple Bottom Line (Savitz & Weber, 2006, p. 12). This paper seeks to discuss Rivanna Natural Design, Inc in details. Rivanna is a benefit company that is based in Charlottesville, Virginia. The company designs and manufactures specialty and fancy products, including plaques, awards, gifts, and recycled products.
Triple Bottom Line Analysis
Rivanna Natural Designs, Inc. is a design company that offers plaques, awards, as well as gifts that are manufactured using recycled glass, FSC-certified hardwood, and a variety of other recycled materials (Rivanna, 2013, para 1).
The company’s mission statement determines the fact that despite Rivanna products’ goal of expressing gratitude, celebrating excellence, and rewarding performance, the core objective is to ensure that neither the planet nor the consumers of the products are harmed.
Rivanna is a for-profit business entity that mainly designs its products and sells them to interested buyers. Its current annual revenue figure stands at $2,484,000 (U.S.A. Business Directory Library, n.d., para 1). In the gifts category, Rivanna’s FSC-certified gifts are sold at a price of $124, while recycled glass gifts go for $24 (Rivanna, 2013, para 1).
In comparison, Rivanna’s competitor Silverflake also deals in different gift products. Among these include the personalized lasting memories keepsake box that is valued at $54.03, and a personalized Manhattan flask that is priced at $55.81. A personalized modern times desk clock is sold at $91.82 (Silverflake, 2013, para 1)
Rivinna’s main objective since inception has been the creation of fair-wage job opportunities for refugees who arrive in the locality. There are between 3 and 7 employees who currently work at the firm (Manta, n.d., para 1). Apart from the recent refugees, the company also offers employment opportunities to other community members who need jobs.
The company works in partnership with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) of Charlottseville in providing valuable insights concerning how best the company can meet both the employment, as well as the training needs of the refugees who arrive in the locality (Rivanna, 2013, para 1). According to Sturm (2009, p. 3), 5 out of 10 employees at the company are former refugees in the locality.
Rivanna also extends its commitment on social welfare to the African continent where the company has partnered with the Canadian Physicians for Aids and Relief (CPAR) in a bid to promote healthy lifestyles and overcome poverty. The Rivanna/CPAR program in Tanzania has constructed two ferro-cement water tanks, each with a capacity of 30,000 liters.
The program has also completed a unit of Ventilated Improved Pit latrine (VIP) that is to be used by girls. The unit contains 8 latrines. Four hand-washing and drinking stations have also been placed at 9 different schools to boost hygiene and improve learning conditions (Rivanna, 2013, para 2). The collaboration also aids a group of 30 women known as UMATU who are living with HIV and AIDS (Rivanna, 2013, para 2).
The customers are provided with quality care services that involve a toll-free telephone contact that they can use to reach the company and request for any assistance. Customers who wish their products to be delivered to their physical locations can request the company to do so. Rivanna also allows its customers to return products or exchange them if they are not impressed with the goods within the first 30 days of purchase.
Rivanna manufactures its products from natural raw materials, including grass and leaves. The firm’s operations have been certified by the U.S. Protection Agency (EPA), meaning that its practices have been approved as meeting the environmental guidelines.
The recommended recovered materials substance approved by EPA for awards and plaques is between 75 and 100% for post-consumer glass and 100% for wood and glass products that are totally recovered (Rivanna, 2013, para 3).
Evaluation of the 3BL Policies and Practices
Rivanna’s 3BL and practices are largely effective. The company has been able to tie its commitments in all the three important areas of profit, people, and planet. According to the B Impact Report of July 2011, Rivanna Natural Designs, Inc. registered an accountability score of 7 against the average score of 9.
In terms of employees, the company had a score of 34 against the average score of 25, while it scored 15 against 24 as the average in terms of consumers.
Other areas that were evaluated included community and environment where the company scored 38 and 36 respectively against the average scores of 31 and 9 respectively. In total, Rivanna returned a score of 130 against the average score of 84 (Certified B Corporation, 2013, para 1).
Rivanna’s range of products also indicates the company’s main target segments for its business. These segments include plaques, awards, gifts, FSC-certified products, recycled products, as well as GSA products and custom products. The company’s customers include the Federal Government, American University, Academy of Management, Arizona State University, and Rio Salado College among others (Rivanna, 2013, para 2).
The Federal Government is one of the prime customers for Rivanna, through the Environmental Protection Agency. Rivanna has had numerous business contracts with the agency, totaling $ 96,938.73 in purchases since March 2005 to March 2012.
The agency mainly buys plaques and awards designed by Rivanna. The agency often uses these products for purposes of recognizing great performances both by its customers and internally for its workers (Find The Company, 2013, para 5).
There are several other gifts and occasions companies that are Rivanna’s direct competitors in the industry. They include Stallion Enterprises, Originality Inc, Special Times Gifts, Silverflake Co., ShamrockBlue Corporate Products, and Private Labels Executive Gifts.
Silverflake Co. is a company that deals in the manufacture, design, and sale of gifts and occasions products. These products include rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings among other jewelry (Silverflake, 2013, para 1).
Silverflake Co’s reputation is ranked 56 in terms of its website link up. The company is ranked at position 7,201,155 globally in terms of traffic on its website (Alexa, n.d., para1). Silverflake Co. is also renowned for its low cost when it comes to the prices of jewelry. According to iSpionage (2013, para), online query terms on Google about cheap jewelry list Silverflake Co. as the first company. This shows how popular the company is worldwide.
Silverflake has one of the least popular online search queries about particular products it deals in. Its silver chains for women, for instance, score a paltry 0.54 in terms of impact factor and a low index 7 on query popularity. A query on marcasite jewelry, on the other hand, registers an impact factor of 3.33 and a low query index of 5 (Alexa, n.d., para 1).
The major internal stakeholders at Rivanna Natural Designs include its employees and the founders of the company, including the company’s President Crystal Mario (Manta, n.d., para 1).
Company employees: potential influence on Rivanna’s marketing
Rivanna’s employees have a great influence that could potentially affect the company’s marketing. Individuals are the direct contact between the company and its employees in various ways. All the product design and manufacturing by Rivanna is supervised and undertaken by the employees at the firm.
Thus, the employees’ level of expertise is capable of either attracting more customers because of the high quality of the finished products or driving away customers because of poor quality.
There are also numerous customer services that are conducted by Rivanna, which involve communicating with customers directly. Most of these services are offered by the firm’s employees and have a huge bearing on customer satisfaction in the long run. Workers who have poor communication skills are likely to be rude to customers and fail to collect the right details about orders and specifications.
This will eventually make workers dissatisfied with the company and its operations and services, thus causing Rivanna to lose market (Davies & Chun, 2012, p. 663). Avoiding this is eventually going to increase customer satisfaction and approval, leading to Rivanna attracting more customers and increasing its revenues.
The company has three main significant external stakeholders in its operations and business. These include the International Rescue Committee (IRC), The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and the Canadian Physicians for Aids and Relief (CPAR). These organizations have collaborated with Rivanna in order to enable it fulfill its 3BL commitments, particularly in the area of improving the community’s welfare and employment.
Canadian Physicians for Aids and Relief: How it may influence Rivanna’s marketing
CPAR’s partnership with Rivanna has seen the NGO act on behalf of Rivanna in reaching out to poor communities in Africa, particularly in Tanzania. The project entails providing clean drinking water for schools, as well as assisting women who are living with HIV. Rivanna also collaborates with CPAR in sustaining its environmental sustainability programs by sponsoring planting of trees (CPAR, n.d. para 1).
These programs have the potential of enhancing Rivanna’s marketing owing to the humanitarian support that the company is offering. Most existing and potential consumers are likely to pay more in order to acquire a Rivanna product, knowing well that part of the proceeds from such products is being channeled towards funding a humanitarian program that assists the community.
People have increasingly become aware of environmental degradation and its impacts, thus people are more likely to associate themselves with a company that is fully committed to addressing the hazard. Consumers purchasing any of Rivanna’s design products are likely to be persuaded by the realization that part of the amount they pay for the products goes into buying seedlings and planting trees (Sumesh & Nelson, 2011, p. 667).
Rivanna presents itself as an emotional brand. Its official logo portrays a bird that stands on water with fish swimming underneath. A plantation stands besides the bird. This potrays the strong connection that exists between the firm and environmental conservation.
The logo also contains the following words, ‘Rivanna Conservation Society.’ The name ‘Rivanna’ refers to the 42-mile Rivanna River that has its source at the Blue Ridge Mountains and flows all the way to Chesapeake Bay.
Source: Rivanna Conservation Society, n.d., para 1.
Rivanna sounds friendly. The company’s main writing style dwells on how its products are friendly to the environment. It constantly uses words like ‘better awards, better planet’ to highlight the fact that it pays more attention to the environment than it does to other concerns such as profits. Rivanna’s mission statement reads, in part, that:
“We believe products that express gratitude, reward performance, and celebrate excellence should harm neither the planet nor the people who create, purchase, or receive them.”
This statement strongly underline the extent to which Rivanna is going to ensure its activities and products focus on environmental friendliness and openness (Rivanna, 2013, para 1).
Rivanna is considered to be a cheap brand that has managed to beat all odds to survive harsh economic times. According to Hopkins (2004, para 1), Rivanna is among a group of brands that have sought to beat economic challenges by using cheaper and easily available materials.
Rivanna Natural Designs, Inc. is a benefit company that is committed to fulfill the Triple Bottom Line of all benefit companies. The company designs and manufactures gifts and occasions products that include plaques, awards, and other promotional products that are manufactured from recycled materials.
The company’s performance in achieving people and planet objectives is excellent as it has partnered with other organizations to ensure it achieves the goals fully. The International Rescue Committee works in collaboration with the firm to ensure it recruits refugees for its operations. Its commitment to community welfare is enhanced by the corporate partnership with Canadian Physicians for Aids and Relief.
List of References
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Certified B Corporation 2013, Rivanna Natural Designs, Inc., <https://www.bcorporation.net/community/rivanna-natural-designs-inc>
CPAR n.d., The Donor Center, <http://www.cpar.ca/The Donor-Centre/Partners-Sponsors.aspx>
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Find The Company 2013, Rivanna Natural Designs, Inc in Charlottesville, Virginia, <http://companies.findthecompany.com/l/5683343/Rivanna-Natural-Designs-Inc-in-Charlottesville-VA>
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Silverflake 2013, Our favorite products, <http://silverflake.com/>
Sumesh, R &Nelson, ON 2011, ‘Stakeholder influences on environmental marketing’, Journal of Management Research, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 67-76
Sturm, D 2009, Fostering a green employer connection, Refugee Works, Published Jan 2009, Available at <http://www.slideshare.net/sturmstories/greenjobsforrefugees> >
U.S.A. Business Directory Library, n.d., Rivanna Natural Designs, http://usa.bizdirlib.com/m/wholesalers/Rivanna_Natural_Designs