Seventh Generation is a privately held corporation, governed by a board of elected directors, all of whom share a strong commitment to the health and well-being of our planet and the people on it. The board supports our aspiration to be a profitable, independent, and well-managed business that stays true to its founding mission. Our directors bring a broad range of experience in entrepreneurship, sustainability, finance, building businesses, consumer packaged goods, and leadership of innovative growth companies. Board members serve as representatives of our entire shareholder base and are elected annually based on a few core values:
- Deeply held belief in the company’s mission, vision and values;
- Demonstrated commitment to the development of the company and the people within it;
- Broad and complementary experience relevant to our business; and
- A willingness to accept fiduciary, sustainability, and strategic responsibilities.
Our board ensures that Seventh Generation is managed professionally and operates in a manner that not only meets but exceeds the expectations and aspirations of its owners. The board’s responsibilities include:
- Hiring the CEO and top management;
- Providing adequate equity capital for growth
- Exercising control over the company’s assets and ensuring that they are used effectively in a manner consistent with the company’s values;
- Providing general strategic advice and long-term vision;
- Representing the larger shareholder base; and
- Meeting quarterly with the executive leadership team (board members had perfect attendance in 2010).
The board invites management from all levels of the organization to participate and meet with them and tries to stay visible and engaged with the Seventh Generation community. We have two standing committees:
- Compensation Committee
- Audit and Finance Committee
During the process of obtaining feedback on a draft of this report, a group of external stakeholders from the business and environmental communities focused particularly on Seventh Generation’s governance and suggested that the company prioritize the integration of sustainability into governance structures as part of the strategic planning process. They recommended establishing a board committee with oversight of governance and sustainability issues and noted this is becoming standard practice for leading sustainability businesses. They also suggested that oversight responsibilities for sustainability be clarified. These ideas will be brought to the board and we will report on any progress in 2011.
At the close of 2010, our board of directors included seven elected directors, one female and six male, including our then CEO Chuck Maniscalco. Of the seven directors, four are independent. We will be bringing two new directors on board in 2011, which provides us with an opportunity to bring more diversity to our board as well as to obtain more industry-specific experience. A priority for 2011 will be introducing these new members to our internal community and the unique culture we value so highly.
Seventh Generation has been a proud founding B Corporation member since 2007. B Corporations are a new generation of over 400 responsible businesses that meet comprehensive and transparent social and environmental performance standards and have institutionalized diverse stakeholder interests. As a B Corporation member, our governing documents require consideration of a broad set of stakeholder interests including those of our employees, our community and the environment. In the spring of 2010, Vermont became the second state to allow companies to consider incorporating as a benefit, or "B" corporation. Learn more. In 2011, the Seventh Generation Board of Directors will consider taking this step.