Mar 10, 2012

"B" For Benefit Corporations

As someone who worked 112 hours a week for a several years trying to develop the Whole Foods / Wal-mart of consumer goods* and who has spent much of his adult life wondering about ways to change the economy for the benefit of us all -- I was really happy to stumble upon the "for benefit" corporate model this week. 

From green media maven Sara Gutterman's article,

"For-Benefit corporations are a rapidly growing class of organizations that have redefined fiduciary responsibility, governance, ownership, and stakeholder relationships so that they simultaneously and equally value social, environmental, and financial considerations. Through innovative legal and accounting practices, For-Benefit corporations are successfully able to achieve a triple-bottom line... Fortunately, For Benefit corporations aren’t just relegated to academic case studies and theoretical cocktail conversation anymore."
Look for this on your ice cream.

According to the University of Southern California, Annenberg there are over 500 B-corps today., a website financed by lawyers trying to sign up B corporations, says these "for social and environmental benefit" corporations cover more than 60 industrial sectors and currently do about $2.9B in revenue. Talk about changing the economy. It's a good start. Yes, the Oil & Gas Industry (covered elsewhere in this blog) does well over $1T in annual revenue, but B-corporations were merely a nice idea 10 years ago.

Stars of the B-corporation category include Ben & Jerry's, Patagonia, New Leaf Paper (voted best for the environment), EcoBags, WorldCentric BioCompostables, SocialK Retirement Plans, and FreeRange Media. All of whom I'm sure say, "B The Change." Bcorporation's 2011 annual report says this category grew 75% between 2009 and 2010 and that the number of total businesses using the B Rating System grew 63%, from 1,913 to 3,114. Bcorporation's 2012 annual report -- which features catchy graphics, shows the trend is continuing. Such growth in optimistic economics is a nice compliment to our nation's upsurge in political tea-partying, wall street occupying, and etc. (all of which make great points).


*My store

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