Chad Mielke, CEO of Peace Power, on the benefits of B Corps
There’s a new certification in town, and it might be worth a look for your business
by Michael Ganley
Photograph Ryan Girard
Chad Mielke launched Peace Power in 2012 to sell electricity and natural gas, including green energy, to the public. Peace Power buys the energy through fixed-term contracts with generators or on the spot market. The company has grown slowly and now has 1,500 clients across the province. In an effort to do good in addition to doing well, Mielke has applied for and received B Corp certification for Peace Power. B Corp is a global standard for organizations that strive for both financial and social success. Mielke is also spreading the gospel of B Corps to Albertans by organizing an event at Startup Edmonton on November 17.
– Chad Mielke
Alberta Venture: How did you come to launch this business?
Chad Mielke: I saw an opportunity when I was living in Grande Prairie. There were only a couple of big-name energy retailers there. I’d noticed some smaller companies starting in southern Alberta and saw that they were competitive with a boutique approach. I approached Utilitynet, which pioneered this style in Alberta, and asked if they were interested in a partnership where I would be the front end and they would be the back end of the business. They were all for it.
AV: How do you differentiate Peace Power from the big guys?
CM: It’s about information and education. A lot of Albertans still don’t really know how to read their bill, and we make sure they’re comfortable switching to us by understanding how the choices they’re making are affecting their rates. It’s building that peace of mind with the customer and it’s something the large incumbents have never taken the time to do.
AV: Why did you apply for B Corp certification?
CM: The idea was introduced to me by the Business Development Bank of Canada about a year ago, and we got the certification last January. I’m a BDC customer and they thought it was something I should consider. From a glance, I was already operating in line with a lot of what B Corps hold valuable. So I researched it and thought it was fantastic. I knew it wouldn’t be a stretch for us to reach compliance, even if we didn’t the first time. We went through the assessment and passed on our first attempt.
AV: But why bother?
CM: It’s important for companies to do what they can to operate with all stakeholders in mind, not just shareholders. It’s important not only to stand out and gain acceptance as a new business, but also to lead by example. It’s a shift from the way business has been done for the last century. It’s having more of a conscious mind toward all stakeholders, so community, the environment, your suppliers and your employees. First and foremost you have to be profitable as a business to survive, but it’s doing everything else you can around the edges to do what’s right.
AV: How has it affected your business?
CM: It hasn’t had a significant impact on us yet, which is one of the reasons why we’re trying to grow the awareness of B Corps in Edmonton. [Other companies involved include Localize, Flatter:Me Belts and CHANDOS Construction.] But I’m proud to put it on our marketing, and at trade shows it often sparks a conversation because people don’t know what it is, so it’s a nice way to start a conversation.