2023 Impact Report

We did it! Net Zero in 2023!

We are pleased to announce that we achieved our Net Zero climate goal in 2023, one year ahead of schedule. Our in-kind charitable giving program, Awards for All, also gained momentum, and we made meaningful contributions to some great community organizations. We're happy with our progress, and look forward to doing more for people and our planet in the years to come.

Our mission is to design and build beautiful products that celebrate excellence, in an inclusive, supportive workplace that values diversity, fosters resilience, respects our planet, and brings value to all our stakeholders.

Rivanna Natural Designs, Inc. offers elegant, planet-friendly alternatives to traditional trophies and plaques.
We started in 2001 with a simple objective: to create green jobs for refugees and others in our community who needed safe, meaningful, and rewarding employment. Today, we are an award-winning B Corp, an award-winning leader in responsible forestry, and one of the most respected award companies in America.

Our Values

  • Integrity
  • Accountability
  • Humanity

Our Social Impact

As a Certified B Corp and a Virginia Benefit Corporation, we hold ourselves to a higher standard. We are driven by our commitments to our employees, customers, community, and planet. Transparency and accountability are key components of these commitments.

#1: No Poverty #7: Affordable and Clean Energy #8: Decent Work and Economic Growth #11: Sustainable Cities and Communities #12: Responsible Consumption and Production #13: Climate Action #16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

To our valued stakeholders,

2023 was another good year at Rivanna Natural Designs.  We continued to regain strength, post-pandemic, and did our best to stay focused on our commitments to planet and community. Our amazing team achieved record revenue while maintaining the highest possible quality standards and maintaining our “Excellent!” Trust Pilot rating (4/9 out of 5).  We contributed more than 1% of our annual revenue to charity and retained our 1% for the Planet certification in 2023. We also achieved climate neutrality, a year ahead of our commitment.

We’re proud of our accomplishments over this reporting period, and of course are still looking to make progress in some key areas.  The 2020 pandemic had a devasting effect on the awards and events industries. While our company has bounced back, we still have pandemic-related debt to repay. To ensure our own financial stability, we have improved our efficiencies (managing more orders with the same number of staff), but the increased workload has left us with fewer hours available for volunteering in the community or initiating projects to minimize our climate impacts.  This is and will always be a balancing act in a growing company, and we are committed to making improvements in 2024 and beyond. The good is that we are growing, and we are deeply grateful to our customers, vendors, and community partners for enabling us to continue our work and stay focused on our mission.

 

Crystal A. Mario
100%
Renewable Energy through Dominion Energy's Green Power partnership
5.8
Metric tonnes of CO2 mitigated through carbon neutral shipping
1% +
Charitable Giving, certified by 1% for the Planet
Net Zero
For GHG Scopes 1-3

Impact on Community

Supporting transformational experiences for local youth through outdoor education

Blue Sky Fund is a development non-profit that provides transformational experiences for Richmond area youth through outdoor education. We are proud to support this team of outdoor enthusiasts, environmental educators, and nonprofit professionals dedicated to connecting Richmond youth to the outdoors. Through resilience building, leadership development, and outdoor science education, Blue Sky Fund aims to advance equity in the outdoors by developing diverse groups of environmental stewards and leaders in our community.

Challenging the Narrative on Disability

L’Arche (pronounced “Larsh”) is an international organization connecting people with and without intellectual disabilities through intentional community. There are more than 150 L’Arche communities in 35 countries around the world working together to challenge the narrative on disability and create a home where we all belong.  In 2023, Rivanna was proud to support L’Arche Metro Richmond.  Hats off to our own Reid Hall, whose stellar contributions helped to make the Golden Chicken Show a resounding success.  The theme of the show:  BE KIND.

Celebrating the Completion of another Habitat project

Possibly the only thing more fun that actually volunteering on a Habitat for Humanity home is celebrating with the family at the completion of the project and walking through the finished, beautiful new home that you and your team actually helped to build.  We love volunteering for Habitat projects because homebuilding enables our team to put our many practical skills to work.

Impact on Environment

Achieving Net Zero for 2023

As a member of the SME Climate Hub, we use Normative’s Business Carbon Calculator to get clear, actionable insights on our emissions. In 2023, our estimated total emissions were 255 tonnes of CO2, compared to 253 tonnes in 2022.  The year-over-year increase in our carbon footprint can be explained by our increased production requirements (our company is growing), but we have flagged this for next year and are taking steps to bring this number down despite continued growth.

With assistance from the Gold Foundation, we offset 100% of our annual emissions by purchasing carbon credits equivalent to 255 tonnes of CO2. The project we chose to support involves the distribution of improved cookstoves across Guatemala. In addition to reducing deforestation through less wood use, the project is also expected to have additional benefits for local communities, such as reduced incidences of illnesses related to indoor air pollution and smoke inhalation and less time and money spent on firewood collection.

Helping to Honor Climate Champions

We design and build awards, and one of the best aspects of our work is that we are able to help our customers recognize and celebrate notable achievements in climate justice and climate activism.  From many worthy examples, we are choosing to highlight award program of our customer Covering Climate Now. In just four years, the CCNow Journalism Awards program has become an industry standard for excellence. In 2023, the program received nearly 1,100 entries, from 29 countries on six continents. Winners and finalists came from outlets big and small, and together their work represented the leading edge of climate storytelling.

We are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with the CCNow team on the design of their custom award, and we are honored to make awards to celebrate the vital work of climate journalists worldwide.

Supporting Responsible Forestry for More than Two Decades

We design and build our own products. In keeping with our environmental commitment, we know how, when, and from where our wood is harvested. That’s because since before we shipped our first product in 2002, we’ve been a Forest Stewardship Council®-certified chain-of-custody provider (FSC-C019049).

We completed our annual Chain of Custody surveillance audit on October 16, 2023.

Forest certification is the most reliable and effective means of protecting forest ecosystems, wildlife, water quality, and surrounding communities. As World Wildlife Fund notes, forest certification is widely seen as the most important initiative of the last decade to promote better forest management.

Credible forest certification covers much more than just logging practices – it also accounts for the social and economic well-being of workers and local communities, transparency and inclusiveness in decision making. (World Wildlife Fund 2021)

Impact on People

Continuing our Commitment to Hire Refugees.

We are grateful to our community partner, the International Rescue Committee of Richmond, for providing valuable insights regarding how best to meet the employment and training needs of recently arrived refugees. At work in 42 countries, the IRC is committed to helping people uprooted by war, civil conflict, and oppression. In America, the IRC helps thousands of refugees resettle legally and rebuild their lives. We have worked with the IRC in Charlottesville and Richmond since 2001 and strongly recommend their employer services.

Thanks to IRC Richmond, we added another great new hire in 2023!

Celebrating Gretchen's 20+ Years at Rivanna

We had the opportunity in April 2023 to celebrate Gretchen’s Wirth’s 20-year anniversary with Rivanna.  Gretchen joined us on May 15, 2002 and has been instrumental in not only building the company but establishing and maintaining the highest possible level of customer service.  While our entire team gets credit for our Excellent (4.9/5.0) TrustPilot rating, it is Gretchen who is on the front line talking to customers every day, and who is continually looking for ways to improve the experience for our customers.  A team player with a huge heart and an infectious sense of humor, Gretchen keeps us smiling and inspires all of us to do our best work.

Gretchen is an avid walker, so we celebrated her work anniversary with a group walking tour of Richmond.  It was a great way to pay tribute to a wonderful leader, colleague, and friend.  Thank you Gretchen!

Our Partnerships

Partnering with Gold Standard to Offset Carbon and Help Rural Communities in Guatemala

To offset 255 metric tonnes of CO2 that our business generated in 2023, we partnered with Gold Standard to allow more rural communities in access to clean cooking. The project we chose to support is focused in Guatemala and replaces open wood fires for cooking. The improved cook stoves are made locally and greatly reduce wood consumption. The carbon finance is used to subside the sale of the stoves and provides the communities with a three year warranty on their stove.

We chose a project in Guatemala because this is one of the countries from which the mahogany we use in our award products is responsibly sourced and harvested.

Contracting with UPS to Make Carbon Neutral Shipping Easy

In 2023, we continued our contract with UPS to make all of our award shipments (freight or package shipments) carbon neutral.  When possible, we also use the UPS program to make our incoming shipments carbon neutral.

UPS carbon neutral shipping is verified to worldwide standards by Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS), the world’s leading inspection, testing and verification company.

In 2023, UPS mitigated 5.871 metric tonnes of CO2 on Rivanna’s behalf.

Choosing Green Power

In 2023, we continued our participation in Dominion Energy 100% Renewable Energy℠ program. This voluntary program enables us to match 100 percent of our energy needs with solar, hydropower and biomass renewable energy. Dominion’s  program provides us with the ability to support the continued development of renewable energy sources and ensure a diverse fuel mix.

Dominion Energy Green Power is Green-e Energy certified, and meets the environmental and consumer-protection standards set forth by the nonprofit Center for Resource Solutions.

Goals

Looking Ahead - Beyond Net Zero

We hit our Net Zero for Scopes 1-3 a year early! We feel great about this, but of course we have more work to do.

By joining the SME Climate Hub, we’ve made the process of measuring and evaluating our impacts much easier than it has been in years past.  The company’s growth and our plans to bring new products to market require that we think carefully about the ways we can minimize our footprint. Our priority is to stay squarely focused on our climate objectives over the next year, while continuing to grow our business, uphold our commitments to our community and customers, and maintain our welcoming and thriving workplace.

Public Benefits and Disclosures

Virginia law requires that VA Benefit Corporations provide an annual narrative description of the ways in which they pursued the generable public benefit during the previous fiscal year, the extent to which the general public benefit was created, and any circumstances that hindered the creation of the general public or any specific public benefit. This report is intended as our public disclosure for our fiscal year ending December 31, 2023. Information about our FSC® certified products is available upon request (FSC C019049).